(AL.com) – How do you sense when a dynasty may be in decline? How do you distinguish between one or two or three bad days and the first, inevitable steps in descent from the summit of the highest mountain?
How do you see the forest for the trees in the middle of a college football season when you’ve just watched a goal post walk down the street in Oxford, Mississippi?
If the dynasty is Alabama football under Nick Saban, the following true facts and mini-trends would have to qualify as clues if not outright cracks.
Ole Miss 23, Alabama 17 was the Crimson Tide’s earliest loss on the calendar and on the schedule since Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa in 2007. Stephen Garcia had his Bo Wallace moment and South Carolina beat Julio Jones, Mark Ingram and company five days and one game later in 2010.