Sunday, October 16, 2011
When 101,000 fans enter Bryant-Denny Stadium for a game against Tennessee this weekend, moments before Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide march from the locker room to enter the field, the crowd will reach a fever pitch.
Highlights will be shown, Thunderstruck will be piping in over the PA system and the crowd will be going crazy. The last image on one of the 4 jumbotrons when this frenzy ends will be the word DOMINATE. Its obviously a message that Saban's players have taken to heart because Alabama has physically beats up its opponents week in and week out.
Its amazing to see when the other team "checks out" of the contest mentally and physically against the Tide. Its happened several times this year and has been an ongoing theme since 2008. It wasn't always this way as the Mike Shula era teams could not win a game in the 4th quarter. My how times have changed.
That breaking point for the other team comes at some point in the 3rd or 4th quarter. Yesterday for Ole Miss, it was early 3rd as Alabama rolled to 28 points in the qauter and could have scored 70. It was just a replay of the Vanderbilt, Florida, Arkansas and Penn State games. In each game, Alabama went to the half with a 10-14 point lead, where the play by play announcers were discussing how such and such team is just a play away from changing this game. But they never mention Alabama is just a moment away from putting things out of reach and forcing the other team to quit.
It happened in Happy Valley early in the 4th, where PSU trailed 20-3, a game changing turnover followed by Trent Richardson running through a defense that checked out at that point to make it 27-3. It happened vs Arkansas in the 3rd, as a 17-7 lead exploded to a insurmountable deficit and to date, the best coaching move of the year was Bobby Petrino taking Wilson Love out before he could get hurt. Vandy was physically manhandled in a 12 play, 11 run drive to make it a 21-0 'Bama lead in the early 3rd qtr. Florida lasted a tad longer, as the knockout blow came in the beginning of the 4th as the Tide went from 24-10 to 38-10.
This isn't the first time we've seen this. In 2008, Clemson, Arkansas, Tennessee, Miss. St and Auburn experienced this. In 2009 we saw Kentucky, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss. St and Florida succumb to the Tide. In 2010, it was Michigan State, Florida, and Penn State.
For the opposing team and its fans, when Alabama forces the "check out", its a cringing moment. Their is no way to make it stop. For Alabama fans, its as beautiful a thing that you can see on the gridiron, knowing that your opponent has been Dominated to the point of submission.
Finally, Top 5 Drives vs the Alabama Defense this year, keeping in mind the Tide D is only giving up 7 points a game.
5. Penn State's last minute, oh by the way score and subsequent 2 point conversion. It made the 27-11 final the closest score of the year for Alabama.
4. Ole Miss' first series that led to a 7-0 lead 2 minutes in.
3. Florida's first play score vs Alabama that led to a few moments of upset dreams.
2. Penn State's 16 play opening drive that burned 3 time outs in the process, that led to a 3-0 Lions lead.
1. Arkansas and their 13 play drive full of crossing routes and 3rd down conversions that tied the score at 7.