Saban Saw 'Bama Comeuppance Coming

   on November 13 2012 4:50 PM

He comes across as the crusty curmudgeon to many, if not all who reside outside the confines of Crimson Tide bliss. But, for those of who are don’t bow down to the right-here, right-now bottom-line philosophy of “a win is a win is a win … no matter how crappy you perform,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban spoke the truth about his squad’s showing the past two weeks.

Point being – the previously top-ranked Tide didn’t play well the Saturday of either week. Initially, they got away with that, sneaking out of a Baton Rouge, La., with a last-minute victory they really didn’t earn. Stuck in the same, “resting on their laurels” rut, they gave a similar effort next time … and paid for it.

In short, he could see trouble brewing when ’Bama faced off against Louisiana State, if not earlier. The warning signs were there. Frankly, the Tigers dominated the Tide two weeks ago. They outgained their visitors all evening, and if not for that 72-yard TD drive down the stretch, LSU would have doubled up ‘Bama in that all-telling stat.

In another all-telling stat, the Tide lost the turnover battle, too. They coughed it up twice; LSU not once.

That cost ’em against Texas A&M, as their ratio for the two weeks declined to 0-to-5, and a two-loss team sauntered into Tuscaloosa, jumped out to a 20-0, first-quarter lead and a freshman quarterback (Johnny Manziel) jumpstarted his Heisman campaign among the nation’s voters formerly oblivious to his wondrous talents.

Saban saw it coming. (Florida’s Will Muschamp … um, you missed it; Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly … uh, better beware.)

“The last two games, I'd put both those in the same category," Saban told media on Monday. “We didn't play as well as a team. You all (reporters) don't think so because we won one and we lost the other one. If we'd have won this one, you wouldn't have been concerned now either. I was concerned then …

“You play bad, you win the game. Then the next week you get your (butt) kicked because nobody responded to playing bad because you won …”

Thing is, in time, usually, performance matters. Winning despite being beaten is not a formula for ultimate success, or, for that matter, entertainment quality (hello, fan base and potential recruits).

More coaches should pay attention to that since it could affect their record down the road, what bowls they get to play in and if they even qualify to play in one.

More fans should pay attention to that since it could affect their sanity … and ability to comprehend reality.

EXTRA HITS

– The Big East announced Tuesday its two-division breakdown set for next fall when the conference expands to 12 teams. The setup seems logistically natural – except for one program, Temple. The Philly school was placed in the West, along with newcomers Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Memphis and Southern Methodist. Hey, Owls, welcome back to the Big East; now enjoy that flight to Idaho.

The conference plans to redo things again before the start of the 2015 when Navy comes on board. Just seems kinda comical to have Temple taking on SMU in Texas when an East division foe – Rutgers – resides 65 miles away from its North Philly campus.

– Oregon may reach the BSC title game, but it seems its top two performers will cancel out each other’s Heisman chances. A week after RB Kenjon Barner went off for 321 yards and 5 TDs on the ground against Southern Cal, QB Marcus Mariota posted 377 yards and 6 TDs through the air vs. California. The latter’s hopes were not aided by Manziel’s brilliant, all-around effort at Alabama, either, occurring the same day as his lights-out showing.