How Much Parity In College Football?

By now we all know that Nick Saban uses his bully pulpit, through the media, to address his team. Earlier this year it was reporters not giving Western Kentucky enough respect that set him off in a press briefing. Even he had a hard time keeping a straight face about that.

Last week Alabama didn't play. A lot of teams did, and half of them lost. Some of those who lost were unbeaten at the time, such as LSU and Georgia. But they lost to unbeaten teams, Florida and South Carolina, on the road. Those would hardly be considered monumental upsets. Many college football followers expected those results.

Texas lost to undefeated West Virginia. Miami lost to undefeated Notre Dame. Ole Miss lost its umpteenth consecutive SEC game, falling to Texas A&M. Florida State lost to North Carolina State, but that's ACC ball.

Auburn lost to Arkansas. Okay, that one was unexpected, but nothing for Nick Saban to rant about.

Oh, and Vanderbilt defeated Missouri. This week Bama goes to Columbia to face Missouri. Perhaps that was what brought this statement from Saban on Monday:

"There is a lot of parity in college football. The teams that most of you in this room make head and shoulders above other teams obviously showed you how badly you can be mistaken. I know I can be mistaken and get criticized, but you all are badly mistaken when you make teams that are like so much better than everybody else. This weekend kind of proved that your predictability is not very good. I think what it proved is that the only thing predictable about college football is that it's unpredictable."

I don't think we deserve any more criticism than, say, the coaches. Saban votes in the Coaches Poll. Do you suppose he considered Michigan a middle of the road team before Alabama beat the Wolverines, 41-14, to start the season? Did he think Arkansas was going to be a dud?

In the weeks before Alabama played those teams, he made them sound formidable, even though the Razorbacks had lost to Louisiana Monroe the week before.

Now Saban says, "We are playing a new opponent that, in my mind, is a very challenging opponent for a lot of reasons. They are a very good defensive team. They are ranked nationally in most categories. Defensively, they are physical, tough and aggressive. They create a lot of negative plays for the offense. Offensively, this is probably one of the most challenging offenses philosophically in terms of being no huddle, a lot of different formations, a lot of motions and adjustments for the defense to make. They are very well coached. They've had some problems and issues this year with some very good players being injured. Regardless of those circumstances and situations, I think they have some very good players who are filling in and are very capable. Our team needs to be ready to play their best against what I would say is a very good football team. It's a really big challenge for us this weekend."

Missouri is 0-3 in the SEC and coming off that loss to Vandy. Bama is number one in the nation. They will meet at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday in Columbia with CBS televising the game.

There is a fable regarding a boy who cried wolf.

You can say there is parity. I say after what we have seen in the first six weeks of the season that Alabama is head and shoulders above Missouri.

One reason I expect Alabama to rout the Tigers in Columbia is that Nick Saban doesn't overlook anything, including the opportunity to tell his team that it can happen to anyone on any given Saturday.

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