Alabama Football: Are Paul Finebaum and others doing the Tide a favor?

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban talks with SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban talks with SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

A run, on picking Tennessee to upset Alabama Football Saturday afternoon – is in full swoon. The college football pundit world is filled with giddy soothsayers claiming the Vols will take down the Crimson Tide in Knoxville.

The frenzy is understandable – sort of. With Alabama Football at the top of so many ‘most hated’ lists, the aggregate of fans rooting for the Tide’s demise must be huge. Huge, as in a large portion of Power Five teams’ fanbases in and outside the SEC.

The ‘loudest’ voices come from sports media pundits, ever ready to fan flames. There has been so much nonsense talk this week, I am skipping the attribution, but for one. The one is Paul Finebaum, who long before anyone else, learned to master the art of sports media titillation.

Some of the unnamed others (to avoid giving them more notice) have said mind-boggling things. More than one has predicted Alabama has no chance, even if Bryce Young is 100% healthy. Another pontificated on the Tennessee Vols as a likely CFB Playoff team.

Pumping the brakes for a moment, it is plausible Tennessee will upset Alabama on Saturday. The Vols are a good team, playing at home. Few SEC road wins are guaranteed, not even for the SEC’s greatest-ever football program, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Much has been said about the Tide’s current 15-game winning streak over the Vols not going on forever. More than 5,800 days since the last Tennessee win is a long time. Maybe it will not become 6,000-plus, with a 16th Tide win on Saturday.

There is another story, and for Alabama football fans and it touches on why ‘plausible’ does not mean probable. Can Nick Saban’s favorite admonition about ‘rat poison’ actually be helping Alabama against Tennessee?

On Thursday in an appearance on The Opening Kickoff radio show, Finebaum said,

"It does seem like this program (Alabama) has slipped. Slipped from where is the question. They’re not as dominating. They make a lot of mistakes. That is evident by the 49 penalties. They don’t create turnovers like the great Alabama teams of Nick Saban have done.The offensive production, which is still high, doesn’t seem as fluid.The quarterback is just as good as anyone who’s been there – maybe better – but he doesn’t have the compliments around him. Therefore, Alabama hasn’t been effective."

Finebaum makes some good points. But what is missing is that at offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and cornerback, Alabama is better than last season. So any slippage at the other positions does not mean the Crimson Tide has slid down the mountain or fallen off a cliff.

Every season, Nick Saban describes his team as a work in progress. In some areas the progress, this season has been slower. That does not mean, that with or without, a healthy Bryce Young against Tennessee, Alabama will lose. Alabama will face a challenge. So will the Vols.

Numbers don't lie, do they?. dark. Next

Nick Saban tries to shield his players from the external factor of outside noise. That noise is usually about how the next opponent has no chance. Ironically, this week the noise is about Alabama losing. Suddenly ‘rat poison’ might be giving the Crimson Tide an advantage.