Jim McElwain just couldn't hang on, and the Gators finally moved on from him to Dan Mullen; Most were expecting an improvement in Kirby Smart's second season; not so many were expecting Georgia to be a blown coverage away from a national championship; If ever an upcoming season felt like a season of change, Kentucky's 2018 year is beginning to take on that characteristic.
One of the most illogical developments in the Southeastern Conference in recent years has been the ascension of Phil Fulmer to Tennessee athletic director, roughly a decade after he was forced to vacate the position of Tennessee head coach.
If Louisville gets hot offensively, it's not completely impossible that this game would turn into a shootout. But if Alabama can slow the Cardinal offense at all, a defense that was already bad and then lost nine starters to graduation would seem to have little chance of stopping what figures to be the most explosive Alabama offense perhaps in all of school history.
This week, it's Rivalry Week, featuring much-harder calls up and down the list. Alabama-Auburn is obviously the biggest, but LSU-Texas A&M has some potential and even Georgia-Georgia Tech isn't an automatic.
Week 1 offers an interesting slate of games for the most part, and Alabama might not have the most interesting matchup of all. That honor goes to Auburn, whose game against Washington could end one school's championship hopes before they even get off the ground.
The 2018 team needs to completely rebuild the back seven of the defense, but it's a testament to Saban's recruiting that despite having just two starters returning among the linebackers and defensive backs, every unit rates as “Very Good” with the potential to be much more than that. Offensively, Alabama must decide who it is and who it wants to be, as not only is there a full-blown quarterback controversy afoot, but also a significant change in offensive coordinator leadership.
We're going to analyze this game as we always do, but we're not going to spend a terribly large amount of time on doing so, because it's almost superfluous. The Ragin' Cajuns are 1-2, with a win over Grambling in its opener, and then two disappointing losses. Mississippi State poleaxed Louisiana in Week 2, and then Coastal Carolina eeked out a 2-point win last week. A bowl bid looks unlikely. Louisiana will not win this game.
Auburn has a solid quarterback, but not one that would threaten to take over a game against a secondary many believe to be elite. The game isn't in Auburn, where weirdness is born, fertilized and cultivated into something so bizarre it begins to appear as if it should have been scripted by William S. Burroughs. And Alabama, most certainly, doesn't have an explosiveness problem. The Tide has been as combustible as a sack of nitroglycerin in 2018.
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Among the questions that arose immediately following Alabama's win over Georgia in the College Football Playoff was one of longevity – both in regards to Alabama's already-extended position at the top of the sport, and also in regards to Nick Saban's remaining career. If early returns on the 2018-2019 recruiting trail are any indication, both paths have a lot of miles remaining on them.