Last night, I had the pleasure of watching the best game that has been played this year, Arkansas and Alabama. Nothing against App. State, but its upset just doesnt compare to two solid teams playing each other down to the wire. Michigan was overrated as we saw again against Oregon, while Arkansas and Alabama are both top 25 teams.
THE ROUT- In the beginning, the game seemed to carry as much excitement as Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame. Alabama jumped out to an early 21-0 lead and didnt appear to be slowing down. D.J Hall and John Parker Wilson looked unstoppable, connecting for two touchdowns of 9 and 35yds. Arkansas couldnt muster any ground game with the best duo of backs in the country. At this point, Tuscaloosa had already started partying and reminiscing the glory days of the bear. It was all Crimson with only 5:15 left in the 3rd and a 31-10 lead.
THE COMEBACK- Just when it appeared all hope was lost for the Razorbacks, the best player in the nation came to the rescue. Throughout the 1st half, rushing yards were few and far between for Arkansas. Felix Jones, one of the five best backs in the nation, looked like a deer in headlights facing the rabid crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Without his usual rushing support, McFadden carried a desparate team on his shoulders. Many questioned #5's ability to carry the load. I'd say Darren McFadden is quite capable. He only ran the rock 33 times for 195. Just when his team needed him the most, he ran for two TDs, giving Arkansas a 38-31 lead. The crowd was stunned. Nick Saban was stunned. The nation was stunned. Alabama had let a 21 point lead with 20 minutes left turn into a 7 point deficit.
THE RETURN OF A PROGRAM- For years, Alabama ruled the college football world. Led by one of the greatest coaches in Bear Bryant, the Crimson Tide were a true dynasty. Lately, however, Alabama has been, well, just average. Teams like Florida, LSU, and their arch rivals Auburn have ruled the SEC much like Alabama used to. Sick of mediocracy, Alabama fired the son of Don Shula in favor of Nick Saban. It is situations like the ones last night where great coaches are defined. Saban sat on the sidelines while a huge lead turned to a deficit. Instead of letting team collapse, he rallied the troops and added yet another game to this classic battle. With 4:20 left in the game, Nick Saban faced on of the toughest coaching decisions possible. It was 4th and 6 at Arkansas's 25yd. line. Should he go for the tie right away or kick the field goal? Could the Alabama D stop a rushing attack it had failed to stop all 2nd half? Would John Parker Wilson have the capability to lead the Tide on a last second touchdown drive. The announcers wanted a 4th conversion attempt. Saban called for a field goal. Alabama's defense stopped Arkansas with 2:13 left to play. John Parker Wilson completed a pass to Matt Caddell which happened to be in the endzone. Alabama won the game, and the difference was just a field goal. To all those announcers that 2nd guess a coach's decision, that is why you are in a booth and they are on the sidelines.
In the end, this game featured two amazing comebacks, the best player in the country, and a coach worth the money spent on him. Is it too early to say that Alabama is back. YES, but this sure is a great way to start.