Since last season, we’ve heard about how Alabama must avoid the mistakes of 2010, the year the Crimson Tide blew its chance for back-to-back national championships. It all started to unravel at this point in the season, in a road game.
No sign of that Saturday, as the top-ranked Tide rolled to a 42-10 victory at Missouri.
In Auburn’s case, 2010 looms as a reminder of just how recently the Tigers and Cam Newton rose atop the college football world for a national title and Heisman Trophy.
Saturday, echoes of 2010 turned against the one-win, free-falling Tigers in almost mocking fashion as they suffered another indignity, 41-20 at Ole Miss.
For Jacksonville State, 2010 became all about the blown chance for an Ohio Valley Conference title, blown like the 24-7, fourth-quarter lead JSU had in the final regular-season game at Tennessee Tech.
Saturday, JSU blew a good chance to win an OVC road game, losing 31-28 at Eastern Illinois. This comes just as it looked like the Gamecocks were righting things after suffering an early rout at Eastern Kentucky.
Oh, 2010, you were quite a memorable season, memorable for reasons some Big 3 fans want to forget and others see as a sad reminder of how quickly things have gone bad.
Accept thy place in history and haunt us no longer.
Alabama: Tide gets it
Enough, already, about the lessons of 2010.
Never mind the two-quarter lull after the weather delay at Missouri, and never mind any other momentary lapses in Nick Sabanesque focus. Alabama is 6-0, and the scores tell the story … 41-14, 35-0, 52-0, 40-7, 33-14 and 42-10.
And that 35-0 victory over Western Kentucky, the game most highlighted as Alabama’s greatest drop in focus this season? WKU is getting votes in the USA Today poll and has won 12 of its last 14 games, the only losses coming at Alabama and LSU.
Western beat an SEC team a Kentucky, such that it is.
As expected, Alabama was the clear No. 1 team in Sunday’s release of this season’s first Bowl Championship Series standings. That, alone, is a departure from the 2010 scenario.
The 2010 Tide, which spent that season’s first six weeks atop both major polls, wound up No. 8 in the first BCS standings, which came out a week after Alabama lost at South Carolina.
Exactly two years later, Alabama has already won three games away from Bryant-Denny Stadium and won them going away. It seems the Tide has gotten it about the whole 2010 thing.
Auburn: Painful to watch
OK, so the football gods are just being cruel to Auburn fans now.
It’s hard enough for them to know where their program stands compared to just two years ago, but it seems they’re being mocked by watching opponents make plays against the Tigers that Auburn players made in 2010.
Saturday saw Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott get tackled, but Auburn linebacker Ashton Richardson fell under him, preventing his knees from touching the ground. Much like Auburn’s Michael Dyer in the BCS title game, Scott popped up and kept running to complete a 55-yard, catch-and-run touchdown play.
While Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace will never be confused for Newton, he did manage to throw a touchdown pass and catch another one Saturday, just like Newton did at Ole Miss in 2010. Wallace also ran for two scores.
Ole Miss was on its way to a 16-game SEC losing streak in 2010, a string of conference futility that ended against Auburn on Saturday. Auburn has lost its last six SEC games, including an 0-4 start this season.
A loss at Vanderbilt this week would mean Auburn lost to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vandy in the same season.
My, how times have changed, and how far must the Tigers, a la Richardson, fall to hit bottom?
JSU: Picking up pieces
In 2010, JSU trudged out of its bitter disappointment at Tennessee Tech at least looking at the likelihood of an at-large playoff berth.
Two years later, JSU appears likely to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year after two OVC losses in the first four league games, including one JSU should have won at Eastern Illinois.
One doesn’t expect four turnovers from a senior quarterback, but Marques Ivory fumbled and threw three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.
He also made a poor decision with a chance to throw the ball away on the game’s final play, and the Gamecocks ran out of time before setting up for a potential tying field goal.
A field-goal try was no guarantee. Griffin Thomas, hero of the Chattanooga game, missed two and had one blocked.
It was one thing to come back and win two games after suffering a 51-21 loss to Eastern Kentucky. It’s another to pick up the pieces after losing a conference game the Gamecocks could have won, especially now that it appears another JSU season will end in mid-November.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.