ARLINGTON, Texas — If we’re lucky, the drama and suspense of the 2016 season will make it past Labor Day.
Alabama owes us that much. At last check, the defending champions were blasting Southern California back to, well, Southern California here on Saturday night.
This begs what seems to be a completely logical question:
Is it possible to know how the season will end before it barely begins? At this point in The Process, that’s a fair ask. It doesn’t matter if Nick Saban is dusting off a new quarterback or an empty shelf for a new trophy.
It just appears so inevitable so early after a 52-6 dismantling of USC. Saban found his quarterback, freshman Jalen Hurts, who found his way down the field so often it made you wonder why he didn’t start in the first place.
That honor went to redshirt freshman Blake Barnett, who at the time was the youngest quarterback ever to start for Saban at Alabama. By the third series of the game, Barnett was the youngest starting quarterback to be benched by Saban.
In came Hurts, the dual-threat who — as word had it — had torn it up in camp. Barnett actually returned in the fourth quarter, making him the first starter to also gain mop up duty in the same game.
Saban will probably couch it as an ongoing quarterback battle. For the rest of us, the season seems to be another re-run.
Sure, there are 11 regular-season games left. But if Saturday proved anything, it’s that Alabama doesn’t rebuild, it reboots. This is version 5.0, considering the Tide’s four championships in the last seven years.
A quick reminder: Alabama won more games here since the beginning of last season (three) than AT&T Stadium’s main tenants, the Dallas Cowboys.
The annual Alabama Regatta has begun. It seems like the No. 1 Crimson Tide will boat race the field again.
Clay Helton waited two decades for this? That’s how long the USC coach had been an assistant before beginning his first full season as the head guy.
Helton was first hired by one Lane Kiffin in 2010 as USC’s receivers coach. Kiffin did his best (with his play-calling as Alabama’s offensive coordinator) to remind Helton who’s boss.
Alabama produced a 100-yard rusher (Damien Harris), a 100-yard receiver (ArDarius Stewart) and little doubt. A year after losing a Heisman Trophy winner (running back Derrick Henry) and one of the most successful graduate transfers ever (quarterback Jacob Coker), the Tide are remaking themselves before our eyes.
In Alabama’s first game without defensive coordinator Kirby Smart in nine years, the defense played like Georgia’s rookie coach had never left. Veteran coordinator Jeremy Pruitt took over, but at this point it’s worth asking whether the defense was breaking in its new coordinator or vice versa.
It didn’t matter that the front seven had only two starters back. Defensive end Jonathan Allen is considered a top 10 draft pick. Senior linebacker Tim Williams has never started a game in his career and still had to at least consider leaving early for the NFL last season.
It’s hard to believe these Trojans were picked by some to win the Pac-12 South Division — at least.
It’s even harder to believe anyone has a chance of beating Alabama.
Please, try to enjoy your Labor Day.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / In destroying USC, Alabama crushes the rest of college football’s hopes, too