It was dubbed essentially the most anticipated school soccer recreation of the season. The narrative of a School Soccer Playoff-ready Texas A&M invading Tuscaloosa to actually see how robust its armor was towards the impenetrable fortress of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama held up its finish of the cut price. The Crimson Tide are undefeated, ranked No. 1 within the nation and outdoors of a stumble towards Texas, has appeared dominant this season with final week’s 23-point highway win towards Arkansas sending the Razorbacks out of the nationwide rankings.
Texas A&M’s half of the main-event prize battle by no means confirmed up. The Aggies have carried out the naked minimal to look spectacular or misplaced within the 4 weeks since a season-opening victory over FCS-level Sam Houston State. They’re not ranked. They’re out of the dialogue for the New 12 months’s Six. A loss offers them a .500 file for the second time this season. And now A&M limps in to face Alabama with nobody considering it may possibly win for good cause.
As energy shifts within the Southeastern Convention have surrounded Alabama relinquishing management and shortly getting it again — take a look at Joe Burrow-led LSU successful a title, adopted up by a dominant Crimson Tide workforce successful a championship — Jimbo Fisher’s squad was thought to have a shot at knocking Alabama off its crown. Sure, Georgia is the defending nationwide champion. But, the Bulldogs did go 1-1 throughout the season towards Alabama. I wouldn’t name beating the nationwide champions a month earlier than Georgia lifted the crown abdicating an influence place.
Particularly after final weekend, when Georgia was fortunate to not be defeated by Missouri regardless of being a more-than-four-touchdown favourite, the mountaintop of the most effective convention in America belongs to Alabama. It’s predictable, boring, and loathsome to see Nick Saban preserve successful and at all times have one hand on an SEC Championship. I’d like to see somebody take the Crimson Tide down so as to add extra parity to school soccer. There are additionally a number of explanation why Alabama has turn into so dominant, most boiling right down to its higher at virtually every little thing than virtually everybody virtually daily. Saban’s decide of the litter from recruiting and the switch portal ensures the method has the most effective likelihood to proceed.
As A&M’s likelihood fades, little paths to CFP resistance exist for the Crimson Tide exterior of Georgia. Ole Miss received’t get it carried out, and nobody else within the SEC West is price mentioning. The SEC East’s crew of nice, not wonderful, groups to problem Georgia has been some of the underrated tales in school soccer over the previous few years. Because the Bulldogs dominated Michigan within the nationwide semifinals, the one workforce to maintain a recreation towards Georgia shut — exterior of Alabama — was Kentucky, and the Wildcats did it between the hedges. In 2018, a Kentucky win would’ve despatched it to the SEC Championship recreation and never the Bulldogs.
The largest challenger within the SEC East this season is Tennessee. I perceive the hesitation in giving that distinction to these in Knoxville, however denying it disregards the information. Below coach Josh Heupel, who’s confirmed himself as an offensive guru all through his profession, has proved to unleash the most effective of Tennessee’s offense. It destroyed Ball State and Akron, because it ought to, after which the Volunteers did sufficient defensively to carry off Pittsburgh and Florida. The Vols started their assassin’s row of six opponents two weeks in the past with that five-point win over the Gators. Right this moment is a highway recreation towards LSU, which will probably be an amazing preview of how legit Tennessee’s menace degree is. And who do the Vols play subsequent week? Alabama. It’s laborious to select Tennessee to win that matchup even when it seems to be robust towards LSU this weekend.
It’s been a gripe amongst Tennessee followers for years with how the SEC schedules video games. The Vols are the one SEC East workforce underneath the present mannequin that should play Alabama yearly. UT hasn’t overwhelmed Saban’s Alabama, having final taken down the Crimson Tide in 2006 (underneath Mike Shula). That’s 15 wins in a row for Alabama over the Vols. And now that gripe could flip into the most important recreation Tennessee has performed in Knoxville for the reason that flip of the century. Think about the chance the Volunteers must welcome the Crimson Tide into their 100,000-plus-seat stadium. It’s a silver-platter likelihood for Alabama’s maintain on the SEC to splinter. Or it could possibly be one other reminder of how mighty Alabama is.