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droll tide

Alabama v Texas A&M Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Alabama did things to Tennessee this past weekend that should be outlawed in all but the remotest of Smoky Mountain hollers. Vols fans will want to tie this game to a pile of cinder blocks and sink it in the river behind the stadium after dousing it with gallons of cheap Tennessee whiskey and setting it on fire. It’s now illegal to name a child “Lane” in the State of Tennessee. The smoldering remnants of this game sent Butch Jones’ team into a nine-spot free-fall in the AP Poll. If the pixie dust ran out last weekend at Kyle Field, Saturday they were scraping together stray grains of salt and pepper from a sticky Waffle House tabletop in the hopes that it would fuel their luck engine enough to pick up one or two positive rushing yards here and there. It didn’t work.

Alabama is a giant, ruthless football machine capable of destroying anything. They’re a season-long Halloween horrorshow of cruel and powerful efficiency that will steamroll the life out of your team and then muse absentmindedly about how they could have played better as you’re sifting through the shattered wreckage of your season’s hopes.

This is why the games are played, though. Because what else is there to do? This football team is going into Tuscaloosa believing that they can win, and unlike in recent seasons, there is reason to believe that they can. It may take a near-perfect performance and maybe a couple of uncharacteristic Tide blunders, but there’s no indication that we aren’t as capable of knocking them off as anyone else on their schedule. We’ve got a confident, senior quarterback, actual depth on the defensive front seven, and a slew of talented skill position guys. The offensive line has been holding up better than expected so far, and our safeties are among the best in the conference, if not the country.

Alabama v.2016 is hands-down best team we’ve faced in years. They’re like every other Bama team except with a playmaker at QB instead of a game manager. It’s like if they made a new “Expendables” sequel with a CGI Steve McQueen as the lead. It’s like Van Halen touring with Mick Jagger doing backup vocals. It’s like having Cormac McCarthy guest-write a season of Westworld. They’re A+ all down the list, but the odds are never 100% for a reason, and there are always vulnerabilities that we might not even see, but Sumlin and Chavis do, sitting in the darkened depths of the Bright Complex, watching hours of film and hundreds of snaps until they find that one tiny weakness, then they can build from there.

Yes, this is an unabashed Monday morning pep-talk. We’ve been saying, along with so many others, that this team just feels different than the past couple of seasons. Texas A&M is capable of winning this football game. If you’ve already written it off, maybe you should find a different hobby.

Beat the HELL outta alabama, y’all.