It’s been a long time since my last entry here at The Other Side Sports. I took a bit of a hiatus from writing to adjust some things in my life around but I’m back again.
Instead of many articles throughout the week I am going to start a reoccurring article that encompasses many issues and subjects. This article is called Long TOSS.
A lot has happened over the past month so allow me to reintroduce myself.
Alabama IS BEATABLE
It might be hard to fathom but looking at Alabama it doesn’t seem like they are going to be beaten by anyone. Practically everyone claims the Crimson Tide is unbeatable. To set the record straight, they are an Elite team, in fact they are THE elite team of 2018. Tua might win a Heisman, his offensive line is THE best in college, and Nick Saban’s defense is strong as usual.
The going thought is that they haven’t played anybody but my counter to that is always, how did they look against the “Nobody’s”? The answer is dominant. Unlike UCF who is squeaking by Memphis and Temple, Alabama is throttling everyone they come across.
Alabama’s system is built to be dominant in the NCAA, it’s partly the reason Nick Saban couldn’t succeed in the NFL. Nick Saban makes his living off of 18-23 year old’s weaknesses and deficiencies and exploiting them. He has the biggest and strongest players on his team and he basically bullies teams and players with his coaching style.
Part of his strategy is to take away the run game completely. Alabama is currently the #11th ranked Rushing Defense allowing 102.1 yards per game (most of these come in the 2nd half when they are already up significantly). They’ve only allowed 3 rushing TDs this season which is the fewest of any team in College.
Alabama has such athletic defensive linemen that a 4 man rush against offensive linemen who aren’t headed to the NFL puts any offense at a disadvantage. Their favorite thing to do is blitz at the weakest part of your Oline. So QB’s have to be good. You can’t be a half decent QB and beat Bama, you have to be good.
Once again, Alabama is Elite. It is going to take an Elite team to beat them, but the strategy for their defeat is simple (although most unlikely).
- You have to have a good Offensive line. Joe Burrow never stood a chance. LSU’s linemen couldn’t hold off the 5 man blitz long enough to give Burrow time. Most of the offensive lines they’ve faced this year haven’t been able to size up with the athletic guys on defense and it’s partly the reason no team has really been able to get anything going against them.
- You have to have a mobile QB. The QB doesn’t have to be able to run for 100 yards or run a 4.4 but he has to be athletic enough to escape pressure, especially the initial pass rushers. Screens are a must and they don’t always work against them so being able to get out of the pocket is a necessity if you want to beat alabama.
- You have to have a good Defensive Line. Too many times the Alabama running backs get the ball and they go 5-6 yards before being touched. You have to have big enough guys to stand their ground to keep the running backs in tight lanes and small windows.
- You have to be a complete team. Bama hasn’t played anyone who is solid on defense, the offensive line, and also has a good QB. In fact, there really aren’t many of those to go around in college this year. It’s the main reason they look invincible against the weak teams they are playing.
This week might be the first real chance a team has to beat them this year and it’s simply because Nick Fitzgerald can move and Mississippi State plays pretty good defense. There aren’t many teams that can beat Alabama this year. They aren’t Overrated or undeserving of #1. They are the most complete team with the most talent and the most depth. They better be running away from the scrubs on their schedule. Only playoff caliber teams stand a chance.
The Playoff Committee Needs to Adjust Their Criteria
Too many times over the past 4 years we’ve heard the same propaganda/opinionated/subjective argument we’ve ever heard in college football and it needs to go away.
“We are looking for the 4 BEST Teams”
Stop it. End this negative loop of thinking and judging. There is NO basis and it is completely biased to the eye of the beholder. I’m sick of it.
If we wanted the 4 best teams, why don’t we just put in the 4 best recruiting classes from the past 4 years in the playoff every year? What does BEST mean? Most talented?!? Then why play the season? The playoff committee has ruined the regular season because of this way of perceiving teams. Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State get passes for losses and get the benefit of the doubt because they are very talented teams so when posed with the argument of if they are better than another team, the answer is almost always yes.
But what is the regular season even being played for? Does it not matter how you play? Ohio State was BLOWN OUT by Purdue. It wasn’t even close. Does that not matter if they beat Michigan (who would be a 2 loss team) and win the Big 10? Every other team without the perceived “Strength” doesn’t get the same leeway. UCF has to run the table and look great doing it. UGA lost by 20 to a 2 loss LSU team who struggled mightily against Bama and Florida. How are they the #5 team in the country and LSU is #7?
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter until the end of the year after everything has been decided but the mindset of finding the “Best” teams should be expanded to say:
“We are looking for the 4 MOST DESERVING teams”
That’s how you make the regular season mean something. Teams should be able to lose and still have a chance at the playoffs but missing/or losing the conference championship game and still getting into the playoff because a group of people think one team is better than the other one needs to go away.
Zion is for Real
I don’t like to overreact (even though sometimes I can’t help myself) and I can be the most skeptical person about many things. I admit, I was skeptical about Zion Williamson. There were all these highlight videos and the media hype train was touting him as the next LeBron so naturally I wanted to wait and see. After watching him against Kentucky I’ve realized a few things.
- Zion can shoot. I still want to see him shoot it consistently over the season when teams adjust defensively to him but his actual shooting mechanics look nice. I don’t think his shots were luck. It looks like he has been working on his shot and it’s noticeable. I’ll be looking at the averages to see how consistent he’ll be in the pros.
- He’s not LeBron. His talent level and skills at his age put him in the LeBron category but just like how LeBron has been compared to everyone under the sun, at the end of the day LeBron is his own being in the NBA world and Zion is his own guy. He’s like a Draymond Green/LeBron/Julius Randle hybrid because of his size and abilities but one thing is for certain…
- He’s going to be fun to watch. I don’t see how they’ll ever lose this year and if they don’t take the #1 spot from Kansas next week the polls will be wrong. With Zion, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish this team can win so many different ways that I’ll be shocked if they lose 3 games this year and Zion’s physicality will be hard for any team to keep in check.
The 2018 Duke Basketball team looks like the 2018 Alabama Crimson Tide Football team. They look unbeatable and they have more talent than everyone else. They are both the most hated team in their sport and they look like the most dominant. However, at the end of the day, every team is beatable and if someone catches them on the right day, a dominant season can come to an end.
Atlanta United Looks to Cap Off the Season On Top
I’ll be honest and say that losing the Supporter’s Shield was disheartening. It didn’t feel like a complete failure on the season but it didn’t feel good. The entire 2018 MLS season has been about Atlanta United. Just being real.
We’ve set Attendance records, scoring records, we have the MVP of the league, and we held the top position in the standings longer than any other team in the MLS. Atlanta hosted the all-star game and we’ve been showing everyone that Soccer can be successful not only in Atlanta, but in the United States and MLS.
Which is why winning 1-0 at NYCFC was an extremely important decision. Enough of the one and done. We lost in penalty kicks last year against the Columbus Crew in the Wild Card game and personally, I want another crack at them this year. After a long season of being the top dog at the very end we came up short.
The rumblings of the “typical Atlanta teams” started to come around but Atlanta went on the road on the worst field in the MLS and came away winners with 1 away goal. Columbus Crew came away victors against the New York Red Bulls and I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t want Columbus to come away winners again on Sunday. Not just because I’d rather play them over the Red Bulls but because I want our revenge on “My Rival”. I would love for us to win redemption over the Crew on our way to hosting the MLS Cup here in Atlanta.
Just like Villanova last year in college basketball and the Red Sox this year in baseball. This is OUR season, we’ve been on top and considered the best team in MLS. The only way this season should end is with an Atlanta United victory but we have to take care of business first on Sunday. Unite and Conquer and let’s keep this train rolling!