Regal Alabama falls, and the SEC’s status as king of the hill takes a hit

The thrill of victory. (Bill Haber/AP photo)

The thrill of victory. (Bill Haber/AP photo)

The thrill of victory. (Bill Haber/AP photo)

The thrill of victory. (Bill Haber/AP photo)

New Orleans — These short takes are presented as a companion to the Sugar Bowl game column, which can be found on myajc. Ohio State upset No. 1 Alabama 42-35.

1. The SEC’s status as king of the football hill has taken a serious beating. First LSU lost to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl. Then Ole Miss was a no-show in the Peach against TCU. Then Georgia Tech overwhelmed Mississippi State, which spent five weeks ranked No. 1, in the Orange. Then Auburn lost in overtime to Wisconsin in the Outback. Now this: Alabama loses to an Ohio State team playing with its No. 3 quarterback making his second collegiate start, and it was no fluke. Kirby Smart’s vaunted defense was shredded for 507 yards by Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott but most of all by Urban Meyer, who coached the greatest postseason game since …

2. Well, since his Florida Gators upset No. 1 Ohio State in the BCS title game in January 2007. It’s no accident that Meyer majored in psychology at Cincinnati. He handles a big game like no other coach. He calls it “working the game,” meaning getting his players to believe even when they shouldn’t. “This is a breakthrough win,” Meyer said. “Ohio State was … what, 0-10 against the SEC in bowl games? This was a breakthrough.” (Meyer did get away with one Mike Smith-like gaffe: The deep incompletion on first-and-10 with 1:59 remaining and Bama down to two timeouts.)

3. Nick Saban’s legacy is secure, but this wasn’t his finest hour. Lane Kiffin, Alabama’s offensive coordinator, had Blake Sims throw too much too soon at the expense of handing the ball to Derrick Henry, who mustered 95 yards on only 13 carries. It took Smart three quarters to get a handle on Ohio State’s offense, and by then the Tide trailed 34-21. But mostly the difference was that the Buckeyes were primed for the moment, and Alabama, for once, was not.

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697 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Ouch!! I took one on the chin with the Alabama loss. It only proves that the best team doesn't win games.....the team that plays the best wins games.


You can't make the mistakes that Alabama made and expect to beat a good team. It will be interesting to see if the Tide can repair a secondary that was shredded this year by any team that could pass. Sims had his worst game since the first half of the Auburn game. Graduation and players opting for the NFL are going to be hard to replace next year.


Thanks, Blake Sims for getting the Tide to the playoffs this year. You did a great job.


My wishes for next year remain the same....Georgia and Alabama meeting in the SEC CG....both undefeated.


Some say the SEC has gotten weaker.....not true....the other teams have gotten better. The SEC will continue to dominate next year...East and West divisions will be stronger. One thing is for sure.....you can't have coaching mistakes lose games and expect to play for a championship.

CTBigDawg
CTBigDawg

What this bowl season showed was the SEC has dropped a little overall in talent as schools from the other conferences have done a better job of recruiting speed, strength, size and improved their coaching staffs. It also showed that the SEC East carried the SEC banner in this years bowls going 4-0 while the SEC West was 2-5.  UGA under Coach Richt was a failure in that they had all the pieces in place to play for a SEC Championship and possible National Championship but once again Coach Richt cost his team 3 games.

WDE
WDE

Anyone on the planet really think that if OSU played in the SEC in either division that they go undefeated this year..anyone ? 

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@WDE That 3rd string QB could go undefeated all by himself!

PJ25
PJ25

@WDE 

I could see that happening in the SEC East and I'm no fan of Urban Cryer. 

Zapp
Zapp

All I can make of what happened this year was there are more good teams outside the SEC than ever before.  Few people notice that Paul Johnson has varied his offense to be more like Meyer's when he coached Florida.  He learned that he has to have a valid passing offense to go with his running attack.  Alabama was actually rebuilding this year, and probably shouldn't have rated #1.  LSU was shut out by Arkansas (enough said), and Mississippi State is slow on defense.  This may work well in the SEC, but the remainder of the conferences are using attack offenses with wholesale speed.  Oregon didn't beat FSU because they have superior players, they beat them because they have faster players across the board, and Winston is probably singing his swan song for FSU, and I see him as a mid rounder at best.  He's slow afoot and not very accurate on short and mid throws.  Did anyone notice how big and strong the Ohio State QB is?  Does that remind you of another Meyer QB, but this one can throw with the best of them.  Saban understands he can't win championships using the style of offense he used five years ago.  Why do you think he brought the new Offensive Coordinator in?  He just didn't have the speed or talent to run the new speed offense, but I suggest he will in the future.  Stop saying the SEC is dead and say the other conferences are catching up fast, and the SEC will have to adapt for post-season.  The last injustice was Mississippi playing in the Peach Bowl instead of UGA.  They have the speed and talent on defense to handle a TCU, but I'll say again, they didn't get a better bowl because Tech won this year in a close game, and the SEC hates Tech with a passion.  No I'm not an SEC fan, but I also have the smarts to know this is a transition period and the future will look different.  I do wish the SEC would take FSU and get the cheaters out of our conference.

@eidsonb
@eidsonb

@Zapp Actually thats not quite right.  Last year with Vad he varied it to be less option.  This year with JT you saw more of the pure spread option.  Twas a sigh to behold.  AND we have him for two more years. 

50Concept
50Concept

sec overrated all year--nick with all those 5 star players can't even beat ohio state---they lost to lowly va tech!  he makes 7 million and choked again!

JackBull
JackBull

Takes a hit?!? WTF?? Only to folks like you, Mark.


Was the west overrated? Oh yes. But from top to bottom, SEC is by far the best football conference.


As for Ohio State, they're basically an SEC team. Having only two or three players from their home state on their roster, and all. I mean, they can't even afford to play High School football up there anymore. Urban knows where to go to get the talent...

JackBull
JackBull

@OH_IO @JackBull  name calling, huh? Yep, you just proved who you really are.


Out of the 35 players that actually see the field, about four are from their home state. Like I said, they can't even afford to play high school football there.

OH_IO
OH_IO

@JackBull @OH_IO



Half of the starters are Ohioans, bull, you ignorant fool. 


Go watch the Belk reply. Ya, that Belk. 

JackBull
JackBull

@OH_IO @JackBull reply??? And you're calling me the fool... which you wouldn't do to my face. Something tells me you're a little geeky dude who has never played a down of football in his life.


And you're wrong on that claim, by the way. No where near half.


How's it feel to be irrelevant down here?


No more replays, uh, reply's to you. Non-deserving.

OH_IO
OH_IO

@JackBull


Rant on Bull Fool


Go puff that chest and chant SEC! SEC! 

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

Refreshing to see that we've moved on to fantasizing about a NC in '15 and have put the Money Grab game to bed. Thank You

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

now you see why bama and auburn backed out on series with gt.

TimeRacer
TimeRacer

Really LOL at the premise of the SEC's status taking a hit.  Only in the minds of stupid media and the sheep that lap up every word they say as gospel.


Long before the BCS, playoffs or the SEC's recent run smart football people knew that 9 years out of 10 the true best team in the country came from the SEC.  They didn't always get the shot at the title due to stupid media's bias towards their beloved midwestern media darlings.  Hyping them up as some kind of greatness, then matching them up against another over hyped media darling and the sheep lapped it up.  All the while better teams in the SEC got the shaft.  Which smart football people would see proven on Sundays years afterwards with the SEC players going on to be top players in the league while overhyped midwestern media darling players failed in comparison.


9 years out of 10.  Welcome to the 10th year.  Doesn't change the fact that next year, most likely, the real best team in the country will again come from the SEC.  It's just reality....something that doesn't sit well with stupid media types and the sheep that follow them.

ibid002
ibid002

@TimeRacer "midwestern media darlings" 


What planet have you been living on for the past few years? All the sports media talks about is the SEC and its unquestionable greatness. 


This is the first time in a long time that the media has questioned the SEC, and rightfully so. 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TimeRacer 

"9 years out of 10.  Welcome to the 10th year"

Who knew that FSU was a member of the SEC in 2013?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TimeRacer 

"Which smart football people would see proven on Sundays years afterwards with the SEC players going on to be top players in the league while overhyped midwestern media darling players failed in comparison"


Absolutely right.  You have to be loaded with SEC players to succeed in the NFL.

Just look at the Patriots - they only have 7 SEC players while having 17 from the B1G + ND (including the starting QB, for God's sake!)  What the heck have they done in the last 15 years?

1980-was-so-long-ago
1980-was-so-long-ago

@TimeRacer  Now that we have the playoff, we can get over the bias of having the SEC get their automatic 1 or 2 seed and let them earn their way to the Big Game - guess whar - they had to play the big boys and got bounced.

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

Just so we can put this thread to rest…finally…..I'll recap the GA college football season so we can move to our unreasonable expectations for the upcoming season:


1) UGA disappointed again with its familiar 'losing the game it shouldn't' by falling to GT;

2) GT disappointed, overall, and narrowly survived its contest with Georgia Southern; otherwise, GT would have played in the first bowl game of the season;

3) Georgia Southern went 8-2 and won the Sunbelt in its first season in FBS play and was 2 late fumbles away from beating 2 'mighty' ACC teams…..accomplished with fewer scholarships and a much, much lower ranked recruiting class. 


The bowl games will soon conclude and the games without NC implications are a blur now with most of us having difficulty recalling any details of the 'They're simply money grabs' bowl games…..because, well, they are meaningless and do little, if anything, for the programs. A handful of fans will be disillusioned enough to believe GT will be in the NC discussion next season and, yes, there are a few remaining UGA fans who will believe that this will be the year Mark Richt pulls it out of the hat. A few smart folks will have their excuses in the hip pockets---GT's higher academic standards and the impact to recruiting and UGAs rookie QB situation that Richt uses to his advantage and self-preservation.


So, here's what we know about '15---UGA will win 7-9 regular season games and will be out of the discussion by Oct 15 & GT will win 7-9 regular season games and will flirt with a ranking above 15 early on but will not be in any serious discussions due to a weak schedule. Georgia Southern will be coached up and, with less, will do more and represent its university proudly.


Be assured, most college football fans cannot even recall the UGA and GT bowl games. Frankly, I have a hard time at this point even recalling scores…….the money grab, guys, the money grab. There were only 3 real games all along with 1 left to play.


Now, let's move on. 


Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

@Maggot_Man  Hey Bubba, your cow called and misses you. Talk about irrelevance, that's Ga Southern

UpWithTheWhiteAndGold
UpWithTheWhiteAndGold

@Maggot_Man You might want to recheck the GT schedule next year. Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia.  


I like GSU and cheer for them as in-state football representatives. They got screwed this year by NCAA regulations and red tape. I would have much rather watch GSU in a bowl game than all the 6-6 teams. 


But seriously, if you have a chip on your shoulder about Tech and UGA then you may want to ask yourself why.

Peachs
Peachs

Money is the root of all championships in the future, and that will level the playing field for the rest of the country which is generally richer than the SEC. Oregon and Ohio State are the DNA of the future, look at the money they pay their coaches, Mich has started as has Penn State, even the ACC has more money if they decide to spend it. The SEC has been dominating by default. Other conferences have decided in the past to spend their money on academics, but now the football thing makes so much money on investment things are changing.

Bogan
Bogan

Just think, now the SEC can sit around and watch their schools get whomped by UK.  Gonna be a long winter.  Psst psst psst....you can get under the covers with your laptop and stream ACC basketball where there's Duke, UNC, and UVa.)

OH_IO
OH_IO

dogs next to last in returning starters for 2015 in the SEC! SEC! 

Peachs
Peachs

@OH_IO I think they are better without Gurley or Bobo. The problem with Georgia they can't handle success. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Peachs @OH_IO

You mean like the way you predicted they'd play against L'ville? Duh!

______________________

Peachs December 17, 2014

Louisville in a route . . .

This is Georgia’s classic no show bowl game, and Louisville has a lot to prove . . . .

Armydawg
Armydawg

SEC East 4-0.  SEC West 2-5.  Enough said.

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@OH_IO @Armydawg I have a Mizzou lineman playing Xbox One in my basement with my son while I write this………and I'm from MO………so I'm OK with Mizzou's success in the SEC.