Thursday, October 4, 2012
Poll: Who can stop Alabama?
By Edward Aschoff
With two marquee matchups in the SEC this weekend, the question has to be asked: Can any of these teams stop mighty Alabama?
From the way the top-ranked Crimson Tide has looked through its first five games of the seasons, many think it'll be tough for any team not named Alabama to stop this squad. But no team is truly unbeatable and Alabama has its weakness, even if they are very small.
Still, someone from this weekend has to stand a chance, right?
With No. 4 LSU taking on 10-ranked Florida and No. 5 Georgia battling No. 6 South Carolina, the winners have to get a little more respect when it comes to taking on the Tide.
Will it be LSU? The Tigers haven't looked the part in their last two outings, but stopping the Gators in the swamp would go a long way to rejuvenate this team. If LSU can put together its most complete game of the season, the Tigers should top Florida and regain some of that lost luster. That means getting more production from quarterback Zach Mettenberger and his receivers. LSU then takes on South Carolina at home and Texas A&M on the road before hosting Alabama after a bye week.
Can the Gators take down the Tide? This team is probably getting the least amount of love in this group, but the Gators have shown some mettle this year with back-to-back SEC road wins in hostile environments. They were also trailing in the second half in both games. But Florida has been dominant in the second half and has yet to allow any points in the fourth quarter this season. A more balanced offensive attack and better quarterback play have gone a long way. The Gators get Georgia and South Carolina in the state of Florida, but still have to travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on Florida State at season's end.
Georgia could do it, right? The Bulldogs own the SEC's best, most balanced offense. But that defense looked shaky against Tennessee. Still, if this team can put everything together against a very talented South Carolina team, the Bulldogs might go on a run similar to last season. They don't play Alabama or LSU during the regular season and a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., to take on the Gators will be their toughest game after Saturday. The talent is championship-worthy, but that schedule makes things even smoother for the Dawgs.
And what about South Carolina? The Gamecocks might have the toughest running back in the league in Marcus Lattimore, and have been able to be quite balanced on offense with Connor Shaw playing some solid ball at quarterback. But Georgia's defense will bring a lot of heat Shaw's way and is on a mission to finally stop Lattimore, who has gutted this defense in the past. Plus, South Carolina's secondary better grow up in a hurry with Aaron Murray's passing attack headed to Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks play at LSU and Florida in back-to-back weeks after this weekend, so they have the toughest road to Alabama.
Or will no one challenge the Tide? Is this team just too good and to complete to be tested? Maybe ...