Streak Stopped, But SEC Run Still Alive: I thought I'd better write this one while it's still intact. Yes, Alabama's 10-game win streak came to a halt at Oklahoma in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, but the SEC streak is still active.
The win was the Sooners fourth over a Top 10 team this season, a feat that hasn't been matched since 1974. They also did it without their top scorer due to COVID-19.
The win streak for the Crimson Tide was the longest since 1996. The talk of a No. 1 seed may simmer down some now. It's still not out of reach, but realize that although Bama is 9-0 in the SEC they still have nine league games left to play.
Nate Oats said his team has not played well the last three games. That's true. It caught up with them Saturday.
I doubt many fans expect Alabama to emulate their national football championship on the basketball court, but it's still not impossible. How Bama reacts to a loss after its best run in 25 years will tell a lot.
I must admit that the streak on the hoops court has been extremely impressive. It even compares some to what the Crimson team on the gridiron did in the fall.
The Tide's 9-0 SEC run is similar to the football squad's perfect run in 2020 of 10-0 and the SEC title win if you look towards Las Vegas.
The basketball team is 7-0-1 in its nine SEC games vs. the Vegas spread. In two of those games they were underdogs. The point differential in those nine games has been 145, an average win margin of 16.
The football team was 8-3 against the spread vs. the SEC. The point differential was 323, an average win margin of 29.
Nick Saban's football team has not been an underdog in a game since 2015 at Georgia which ended a streak of being a favorite in 72 straight games dating back to the SEC Championship game vs. Florida in 2009. The streak today is up to 79 games.
It has been tougher for the football team to cover. They are thought of in a higher regard than the basketball team - with good reason.
Alabama in the all-SEC 2020 averaged being a 23-point favorite per football contest. The basketball bunch has been favored by an average of 1.5 per game in league games so far.
Cautious optimism still abounds in the Bama basketball camp. What is a realistic goal for this team?
They will make the NCAA Tourney, but a first or second round exit would be a disappointment. If they are a No. 4 seed or better, the Sweet 16 should be expected. The program has never reached a Final Four.
The Auburn Final Fuor team from a few years ago comes to mind. Bruce Pearl had already started to turn the corner. He was in his fifth season. The team from the year before had won 26 games.
This is just Oats second year in Tuscaloosa. He does have some veteran leadership, like that Auburn squad.
Forbidding a collapse, this UA team appears to be on its way to the regular season SEC championship still. What follows? At least Tide fans are excited to find out.
Ansley to LA: And it's not Lower Alabama. With the shakeup in Knoxville with Jeremy Pruitt's ouster and the hiring of Josh Heupel, Derrick Ansley is headed back to the NFL.
The Tallassee native was defensive coordinator with the Volunteers. He left the NFL and John Gruden's Raiders to return to the SEC in 2019. Now, Ansley is joining the Chargers staff as defensive backs coach.
Ansley has proved his merit and is connected in coaching circles on all fronts. It's evident with the quick turnaround.
Baynes Back to Super Bowl: With all of the hoopla over Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes on Super Bowl Sunday, Tallassee folks might notice someone else.
Rusty Baynes is back in the big game as an official for the second time. Baynes was a line judge in Super Bowl 50 or "L" in 2016. He will have the same duty for this weekend's game in Tampa.
Ronnie Baynes, Rusty's father, was on the field for Super Sundays himself in 1995 and 1999.
Sunday's game could be history-making. Tom Brady already has more rings than any other player. If he wins another, he will have more rings than any other team.