Have you ever been on a beach and watched the Tide roll in? The change in water level is caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth. The water is calm. Then suddenly the tide moves in. It’s a gradual, even unassuming, event. The next thing you know, you look up and there is a violent wave of water crashing down on the sandy beach, imposing its will on the shoreline. It’s unforgiving and relentless.
Last Saturday night in Death Valley, Baton Rouge, the sun and moon and the gravitational forces began to shift with just over a minute to go on the game clock. The Tide had been calm and steady and unassuming for most of the game. Then suddenly, without notice, the Tide came crashing down on the turf of Tiger Stadium. AJ McCarron led the Tide down the field with no timeouts. A game winning touchdown silenced the crowd at Death Valley. The Tigers gave way to High Tide. They had to. They’re unforgiving and relentless.
So now this week, the Texas A&M Aggies get to try their hand at pushing back the Tide. Good luck.
The Aggies are coming off of a pounding of Western Division foe, Mississippi State. They have an explosive offense and a young quarterback in Johnny Manziel who is as exciting to watch as anyone in the country.
It’s a popular story line to say that Alabama will have a letdown after an emotional win last week. So emotional that AJ McCarron was sobbing on the sidelines after the game. Sobbing. But make no mistake, the Tide are led by one of the greatest coaches in college football history. Nick Saban is never satisfied. Immediately after the game, he showed his hand as to just how he’d motivate his team leading up to the game. He expressed frustration with his offenses inconsistencies and the poor pass defense during the LSU game. So you can believe the Alabama players weren’t going to have much more than 24 hours to enjoy the victory before moving on to the Aggies.
Historically, teams with a competent running quarterback who can also throw have given the Tide the most problems. (See Tim Tebow and Cam Newton). Manziel is not yet in that category but he is on his way. Even though he has a terrible nickname, Johnny Football (Every time I hear someone refer to him as “Johnny Football” I can’t help but think of the horrible 1988 film “Johnny Be Good” starring Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Downy Junior. Can remember it? There’s a reason.) the fact remains, he is an exciting player. But if you look back at the Florida and LSU games, the Aggies struggled to move the ball consistently. And the Tide offense is hands down better than both of those teams.
This game will be close and has a chance to be an instant classic. But the Tide is relentless and unforgiving and it may not look that way at first, but before you know it, High Tide rolls in and takes over. And there’s no pushing it back.
Thanks to the gravitational forces of the college football universe, the Tide imposes it will and pulls away late.