Bama Easily Passes Midterm: Grading the Crimson Tide

Step LewisContributor IOctober 7, 2008

It's the year you decide to do better in school. You said you'd take each class more seriously than last year. You decide not to party as much, hunker down, and prepare to dominate every test one at a time.

This thought process had to be similar to what Bama's team had to begin this season. Every game was a class, and each class presented a unique test—six classes to end the midterm.

Using this particular analogy, let's look at the Tide to this point exactly midway through the season.


First Class: TRIG—Clemson

Bama studied hard, told the coed to buzz off, and took on its supposed toughest class to begin the year. There's really no such thing as being too prepared for a test, but there is such a thing as passing with flying colors...okay, and maybe the test just wasn't as tough as the professor let on.

Clemson was the first team to feel the force of what would be a recurring theme of "domination in the trenches" by the Tide.

Star student: Terrence Cody and the Bama D-line consistently pushed the Tiger line three yards backward, holding the vaunted rushing attack of Spiller and Davis to 30 yards and zero total for the game.

Final score, 34-10 Bama.

Grade: A+


Second Class: PE—Tulane

Here's a great chance to chill a little, dress out, shoot a few hoops, or maybe even get a head start on your next class...right? Uh, no! The PE coach is a butt, and he wants the whole class to do an endurance test—without stretching!

Tulane got behind early, but they sure did come to play. Tulane hung around Birmingham all week and had to listen to how bad the Tide was gonna beat them. Tulane brought an unexpected physicality that the Tide obviously couldn't have expected, a Bob Toledo specialty.

Bama eked out a game it was never in danger of losing. Defense and special teams made it happen. Final 20-6 Bama.

Star Student: Javier Arenas, 147 punt return yards.

Grade: B-


Third Class: Greek Mythology—Western Kentucky

PE was tougher than it should have been...well, at least tougher than expected. This Greek Mythology thing is a snap though.

This time Bama didn't take an easy class lightly. Big runs and big pass plays along with a shutdown defense made this one a laugher by the third quarter. Plenty of reserves got to play. PERFECT. 41-7 Bama

Star Student: John Parker Wilson, 17 of 27-215-2-1.

Grade: A


Fourth Class: Botany—Arkansas

It's one of those classes that you think will be tough, but when you get the syllabus, you realize it's one you can easily pass.

What Alabama did to the piggies was not something you normally see live...these types of things are normally reserved for slaughterhouses. Bama's ground game chopped, hacked, and gutted the Hawgs on the ground, giving very little opportunity or need for a passing attack. The defense once again stymied the opposition.

Star Student: Glen Coffee, 162 yards and 2 TDs on only 10 carries.

Grade: A+


Fifth Class: Forensic Science—UGA

Hmmm...sure it's tough, but how much fun is it to break down the subject, study, and dissect it? Apparently Bama likes it a lot.

For a half Bama was the best team in the country BAR NONE! There was absolutely nothing UGA could do offensively or defensively, so much so that even a 30-point scoring surge in the second half was not nearly enough. Bama QB Wilson was as focused as we've seen him, and the running game was effective if not solid. Bama wins another trench war.

Star Student: John Parker Wilson. It wasn't the yards that stood out—it was the efficiency.

Grade: A+


Sixth Class: Literature—Kentucky

Does anyone know someone that really loves lit? Honestly, it's not that hard, but all that freakin' writing and reading is for the birds or cats, I guess.

The game was NEVER in doubt. If UK had gotten the onside kick, that would have been the first time fans would have been on the edge of their seats. The onside kick proved to be as effective as the Wildcats really were.

Glen Coffee goes pow early for a 78-yard TD. He would go on to bust the double century mark with 218. If not for a few fumbles and a couple of missed FGs, Bama may have had a better case for the No. 1 spot. The D shut out its seventh consecutive team in the first quarter (dating back to the last bowl game).

Star Student: Glen Coffee, 25 carries for 218 and one TD.

Grade: B


Midterm Review

What we thought

Bama had experience on the OL, but Bama fans were scared crap-less about the front seven on D, namely at a depleted LB position... Terrence Cody is big, but what does that mean? Can he play more than two snaps at a time?

Julio Jones' secret tapes were released, and we KNEW he was a stud... JPW was gonna play inconsistently, consistently... Javy Arenas had to make big plays... The No. 1 recruiting class was gonna have to contribute early and often.


What we know

Bama is DOMINATING the trenches on both sides of the ball. No one has been able to challenge the middle of the field against NG Terrence Cody, ILB Rolando McClain, ILB Donta' Hightower, and FS Rashad Johnson.

Running the ball at will behind Andre Smith, Mike Johnson, and Antoine Caldwell has been ridiculously effective. Add to that the excellent play of Marlon Davis and Drew Davis, and Alabama could have the best OL in the country.

Glen Coffee's powerback/breakaway threat has become more difficult to handle as he has found the home run skills he displayed in high school. Mark Ingram, the explosive freshman RB, could be an outside home run threat with his track champion speed. He'd just rather power through you with some of college football's biggest calf muscles.

The freshman class is full of studs who have played very well.


When we knew it

By the end of the Clemson game there were hints, by the end of the Arkansas game it was clear: Bama's got a nice squad...and if you still weren't sure, did you see UGA's mother %^$$&^&** funeral?


Offensive MVP

The OL and Glen Coffee


Defensive MVPs

Terrence Cody and Rolando McClain


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