"Clutter." As reported by ESPN's Chris Low, former Alabama standout Javier Arenas knows all about it. The Crimson Tide are once again the top-rated team in the nation and it would appear that they are well on their way to another BCS bowl game if not the BCS championship itself. The one thing that could derail the Tide of their ultimate goal may be, well, clutter.
Sure, an unforeseen injury to quarterback A.J. McCarron would also put Alabama's hopes for a second consecutive national title in jeopardy, but let's not think about that one. Such a tragedy would be just too disturbing to even consider at this point.
Head coach Nick Saban has worked endlessly to keep his young team focused on the day-to-day operations rather than BCS title dreams. Looking ahead is simply not permitted within the realm of the Alabama football program. Having said that, these are still kids we are talking about. They read headlines. Most of them are active on social media sites and they all have well-wishing friends and contacts on campus that are constantly in their ear about things that Saban would prefer they not concern themselves with.
LSU, the Georgia Dome (for the SEC title game), the Iron Bowl and, most importantly, the BCS title should be the last things on the players' minds this early in the season. All of these things, you see, equal clutter. These are the things that the fans can worry about. Let Bobby from Homewood game-plan for the Auburn game while the players keep their focus on today.
Taking Arkansas lightly after its appalling defeat at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe would be clutter.
Not believing that the Ole Miss offense is actually pretty darn good this year would be clutter.
Declining to give proper respect to the Missouri Tigers because they "are really still a Big 12 team" would be clutter.
Expecting to blow out Tennessee once again and not appreciating the fantastic arm of Tyler Bray would be clutter.
Assuming that Mississippi State is once again a Western division lightweight and looking ahead to a trip to Baton Rouge the following week would be clutter.
As it stands right now, the Tide will be favored in every game they play prior to their November trip to meet what could also be an undefeated LSU for, well, pretty much everything. In most games they will be favored by two or more touchdowns.
The truth of the matter is, however, that every one of these teams on the Alabama slate have the Tide circled on their calendars. Alabama is the team to beat, the king of the mountain, the measuring stick and the reigning champ. And all of these teams have current losing streaks to Alabama. They will be doing everything in their power to give Saban and the Tide their just desserts.
Fortunately, it appears that this team that was as recently as two weeks ago considered to be too young to run the table again is totally focused on the tasks at hand. The Tide took it to Michigan in a manner that practically no one honestly expected. They did exactly what they needed to do against a hard-playing but out-manned Western Kentucky squad. Any clutter that is in the Tide locker room has yet to be uncovered if it even exists.
Alabama now turns its attention to the SEC opener at Arkansas. It would be easy to say that this one is in the bag for the Tide, especially after last week's devastating loss and the uncertain status of all-world quarterback Tyler Wilson. But it's not. Arkansas will be out to prove a point and any suggestion that Wilson will be anything less than 100 percent come kickoff should be ignored.
If the Crimson Tide can manage to keep themselves in the proper mindset for this one, and for each of their next six games, a visit to Baton Rouge as the undefeated and No. 1 ranked team in the country would appear to be inevitable.
Alabama is arguably the most talented, the deepest, the most prepared and the best coached team in the nation. Just watch out for that cancerous little distraction Saban calls "clutter."
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