Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

September 30, 2009 4:58 PM

Alabama is nation's best ... after 1 month

The calendar is about to flip to October, so what better time to assess what we have learned after the first month of the college football season and a few things we still don’t know.

What we have learned …

  • Alabama is the best team in the nation, not Florida or Texas.

  • Auburn is a very good home team.

  • Nick Saban is worth all the millions the Crimson Tide has invested in him.

  • Gene Chizik is a better head coach than anyone gave him credit for.

  • Terry Bowden could become a hot name in coaching circles again after his 5-0 start at North Alabama.

  • Gus Malzahn is truly an offensive genius.

  • The motor of Auburn assistant head coach Trooper Taylor never stops running.

  • Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy should be part of the Heisman Trophy conversation.

  • Chris Todd definitely was the right choice to be Auburn’s quarterback, even before throwing nine touchdown passes in the past two games.

  • Jacksonville State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux would be among the top five quarterbacks for the 2010 NFL draft if not for off-the-field issues.

  • Alabama’s stable of running backs – Mark Ingram, Roy Upchurch, Trent Richardson and Terry Grant – is the best in the nation.

  • Auburn’s dynamic duo of senior Ben Tate and freshman Onterio McCalebb is just a notch below the Tide’s foursome.

  • Tide sophomore receiver Julio Jones is a man among boys.

  • Auburn’s receiving corps with wide outs Darvin Adams, Mario Fannin and Terrell Zachery and tight ends Tommy Trott and Philip Lutzenkirchen is a pleasant surprise.

  • Alabama’s defense is the best in the nation, just ask Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

  • The loss of linebacker Dont’a Hightower to a season-ending knee injury is a major blow for the Tide.

  • Auburn’s defense still needs plenty of work, despite forcing 12 turnovers in four games.

  • Troy is again the class of the Sun Belt Conference.

  • UAB continues to fade into oblivion.

  • The non-FBS schools in the state are pretty good – Jacksonville State (2-2 with losses to Georgia Tech and Florida State), Samford (2-2), North Alabama (5-0), Alabama A&M (3-1), Alabama State (3-1), North Alabama (5-0), Tuskegee (4-1), Miles (3-2), West Alabama (3-2), Birmingham-Southern (2-1), Huntingdon (3-1) and South Alabama (2-0).

Five things we still don't know ...

  • Will anybody left on the schedule (including Ole Miss, LSU and Auburn) challenge Alabama?

  • Will Auburn prove a capable road team, beginning Saturday night at Tennessee?

  • Can anyone slow down Auburn’s offense?

  • Can anyone penetrate Alabama’s defense (even without Hightower)?

  • Will Bowden lead UNA to a Division II national championship?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

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