Alabama’s crimson ride is still, technically, on cruise control.

The nation’s best team, by far, is leading every respectable index except the Dow Jones Industrial.

Time to start checking hotels in Tampa Bay, site of this year’s national title game.

Room rates anyone? And someone please check YELP for some good restaurants.

Is Bern’s steakhouse still burning T-bones?

A month ago, Nick Saban’s team was tracking to become, maybe, his most dominant when measured against the weakest line of resistance. The SEC West was thin and the East was no more a threat than the MAC champion.

On Sept. 24, Auburn defeated LSU in a game that was almost comically inept.

The losing coach’s job was on the line and it came right down to the final play.

LSU thought it won on the last snap but couldn’t beat the play clock down to zero.

Had Auburn lost, Gus Malzahn might have lost his job the next day.

Instead, it was LSU and Les Miles.

Alabama fans slept well that night. Auburn and LSU both had two losses and were out of the playoff chase.

A glance down the schedule indicated Alabama was a home win over Texas A&M, on Oct. 22, from pretty much clinching the pennant.

The Tide easily did that, 33-14.

But things have changed—radically. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.