Potentially poisonous high CFP ranking? Not Tide’s worry tonight


The rat poison cannister, nearly overflowing a couple of months ago, is down to a few stray pellets right now. And that’s probably the way Alabama Football coach Nick Saban likes it.

In the early days of September, there were whispers that this Alabama team might be the best Alabama team the seven-time national title-winning coach had ever fielded. Sure the Crimson Tide — per usual — had lost some valuable pieces to the NFL off last year’s national runner-up, but talent and experience were everywhere in Tuscaloosa. For the first time in its history, Alabama returned its Heisman winner. It also returned both its offensive and defensive coordinators — a rarity during the Saban era. And after falling a tad short in its quest for national title No. 19 last season, hunger and drive certainly were not in question.

Those little, bite-sized, lime-green caplets were scattered all over the Heart of Dixie. Fast-forward two months to today, the day the first 2022 College Football Playoff Rankings are unveiled, and only crinkled, fallen leaves dot the grounds of this pigskin-crazed town.

Where will Alabama Football be ranked?

Which team will open at No. 1 — a familiar Alabama holding spot and a spot the majority of college football followers would have predicted for the Tide back in August? Well, it won’t be Alabama. Surely one of Saban’s biggest favorites to win it all will crack the CFP rankings at No. 2 then, right? No. Bama won’t be there either. No. 3? Nope, try again. What?! No. 4? Negatory. Alabama might not even be No. 5 or No. 6.

It’s a full-blown, early October green pellet famine.

Alabama simply isn’t the talk of college football right now. A loss at Tennessee, a pair of skin-of-their-teeth escapes and mostly undisciplined, uneven, up-and-down play through eight games has a way of doing that. Even the once-revved-up Heisman dialogue has cooled considerably. Could Bryce Young be the first back-to-back winner in half a century? Could Will Anderson be the first linebacker to win the award? No one is asking those questions anymore.

Tennessee, with its meteoric rise to national title contender status behind its high-flying, points-a-plenty offense triggered by Heisman-favorite quarterback Hendon Hooker, is all the buzz right now. Throw in Georgia too. The Bulldogs are the defending national champs and are still undefeated and will occupy the epicenter of the sport this Saturday when College GameDay visits Athens for its colossal matchup with the Vols.

Usual suspects Ohio State and Clemson are still unblemished, too, and the Buckeyes, especially, are generating plenty of nationwide chatter and adulation with its star quarterback C.J. Stroud and its NFL-ready receivers. Undefeated Michigan is clearly on everyone’s radar now, too, as it closes in on a second-straight CFP appearance. There’s even a new darling this season for the country’s underdog lovers. Yeah, TCU is the new Cincinnati — a non-marquee undefeated poised to crash December’s CFP party.

Even one-loss West Coast outfits USC, Oregon and UCLA — though not likely to be ranked ahead of Alabama tonight — are armed with glitzy QBs and are garnering spotlight beams of their own.

The Crimson Tide? Maybe the rest of the college football is right. Maybe this team isn’t deserving of its usual platefuls of rat poison. Maybe this team just isn’t as good as everyone thought back on September 1. Maybe another loss — or two — looms. Maybe ultimately it will go down in history as one of Saban’s most overrated teams.

Then again, maybe this team is right where it needs to be.

Eight games into the season, hours away from the first 2022 CFP rankings reveal, Alabama will not have the high ranking people expected it would have back on September 1. It already doesn’t have the unblemished record people expected. It also doesn’t have the Heisman frontrunner people expected. And, for the most part, it hasn’t even played to the standard people expected.

So what does it have? It has control of its destiny. Win Saturday in Baton Rouge and keep winning after that and Alabama can once again ascend to the pinnacle of the sport, blowing right past Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, TCU and everyone else national pundits are fawning over these days.

No, Alabama hasn’t dominated the competition or dominated the national headlines through two months of football, but at 7-1, it’s done enough to at least put itself in position for another run to glory. Really, what more can anyone donning the crimson script ‘A’ ask at this juncture of the season?

Next. Crimson Tide defense and LSU run game. dark

Those now rare little, lime-green pellets Saban can’t stand? No one inside the UA football complex misses them. In fact, the recent shortage might just make that aforementioned run a little bit easier.