Mike Shula is under pressure. We here at Weekend Watch List are surprised it took this long. Not because he deserves it, though.
There are the usual, insane reasons: A team rebuilding after a 10-2 season and projected to finish in the middle of the SEC West is currently rebuilding and in the middle of the SEC West.
|After Alabama went 10-2 in 2005, expectations are higher than what Mike Shula can deliver with this season's Tide. (Getty Images)|
Too conservative? Believe us 'Bama Nation, you do not want to return to the bad, old days of wild-eyed indiscretion. Remember when Mike DuBose was gettin' jiggy with the help?
Then again, DuBose did win 10 one year. Just like Shula.
But in the People's Republic of Tuscaloosa, patience is slightly shorter than a station I.D. at the top of the hour. It demands 10 wins (at least) every season. Unreasonable? Impossible. Word apparently hasn't reached 'Bama that the SEC champion could have two losses this year.
Actually, in most years.
Shula has been done in by graduation, a faulty kicker at No. 13 Arkansas, then No. 9 Florida and No. 8 Tennessee.
Should we have expected more? Not this year. Alabama (5-3) has a tap-in Saturday against Florida International, followed by Mississippi State, LSU and Auburn.
That has 7-5 written all over it. Win the bowl game and 8-5 doesn't look too shabby after last season.
Eventually the Tide will beat Auburn. It will up and win an SEC title every few years. The tradition is too deep and the demands are, well, Shula knows. But accept this year for what it has been since January -- one for Mike the Rebuilder.
Shula is without his best playmaker. Tyrone Prothro might never play again. John Parker Wilson is in his first year as a starting quarterback, but is averaging more yards per game than Chris Leak.
And don't blame Shula for picking up that pen to sign a six-year extension before the season for $1.8 million per. If he doesn't sign it, that's a time to question his judgment.