REECER’S PIECE: True test up next for Hilltoppers

John Reecer is the sports editor of the College Heights Herald during the spring 2016 semester.

John Reecer

After months of waiting, fans of WKU football were given quite the pleasant surprise in Thursday night’s game.

That surprise came in the form of redshirt junior quarterback Mike White throwing for over 500 passing yards as he led his team to a dominant performance over Rice University.

The win was an important one for WKU as the Hilltoppers picked up a conference win while also displaying that Head Coach Jeff Brohm’s offense can make just about any quarterback look like a star.

However, despite the great performance, the Toppers are now faced with what is literally the ultimate challenge in college football: playing a Nick Saban-led University of Alabama team in Tuscaloosa.

To make matters a bit worse, the defending national champions also just beat the 20th ranked team in the country on Saturday night 52-6.

Yeah, good luck with that WKU.

In all seriousness, I actually think there is a decent chance that the Toppers can make their road trip to Tuscaloosa a very positive one.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like WKU’s chances to win against the Crimson Tide next Saturday afternoon, but I do think there is a good chance that this team coached by Brohm will impress people nationally.

If you need some help believing me, then just consider how Alabama has spent most of their preseason camp preparing for a USC team.

Also, the team they have to play after WKU is an Ole Miss program that has given the Crimson Tide absolute fits the past couple of years.

Saban is a master in getting his team ready to play, but remember these are just college kids. The chances that some of Alabama’s players are overlooking the Toppers in at least some fashion are actually pretty good in my opinion.

Also, look at how WKU performed last year against LSU which is a program that has very similar talent to that of Alabama. The Toppers were neck-and-neck with the Tigers deep into the third quarter until some unforced errors doomed WKU.

Also, Brohm’s offense is the type of system which has given the decorated Crimson Tide defense serious problems the past five years.

Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M team, Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss teams and Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program are all teams that featured offenses with a strong passing attack and unpredictable play calling.

I’m not sure about you, but to me the last part of that sentence perfectly describes WKU’s offense under Brohm.

Now you might ask how can I think WKU will do anything positive against a program that just beat USC by 46 points. Well, while that win is impressive, the one thing I’ve learned from college football the past few years is not to compare scores.

Every team plays differently on different nights. Again, we are talking about kids  between 18-22 years old. No one is ever perfectly consistent, especially teenagers.

Remember when Ole Miss defeated Alabama last year in Tuscaloosa, then dropped games against less-talented teams like Memphis and Arkansas?

At the end of the day, I do think that the Crimson Tide has more pure talent then WKU, and the fact that the team is playing at home gives it, the decisive advantage.

However, I don’t think it really matters if the Toppers win or lose. This game is a measuring stick for just how good WKU can be this year. A win may not be what’s needed to pass this test.

If the Toppers can cover the spread which currently stands at Alabama winning by 24 points, that’s passing the test in my eyes.

And who knows, as a team that will play with nothing to lose, the Toppers could pull off a miracle and ace this test.

Reporter John Reecer can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @Reece_12_Falcon.