No, Alabama football is not on the same level as even the worst NFL team. Even the Cleveland Browns would be a 28-point favorite over the Crimson Tide.
But through three weeks of the season, it’s also obvious Alabama is not playing on the same level as the rest of college football.
The most incredible statistic for Alabama this season is this: Through three games, the Tide defense has allowed one touchdown while scoring three of its own. That means that even without the highest-scoring offense in the country or the country’s best kickoff return team (which features a Josh Jacobs return for a touchdown) the Tide would still be outscoring its opponents by a 3-1 margin.
This weekend in Tuscaloosa, after Alabama scores more than 50 points against Texas A&M, it’s probably going to be time to start thinking about a new standard for measuring the dominance of this team.
Texas A&M came within one play of tying Clemson in the closing seconds of its game two weeks ago.
Is there anybody who think there’s any chance that’s how the Aggies are going to fare against the Crimson Tide? A betting line that is almost four touchdowns would certainly suggest otherwise. So would everything we’ve witnessed from the Tide so far.
Alabama is almost certainly going to treat Texas A&M the way it treated Louisville, Arkansas State and Ole Miss.
In case you haven’t taken time to examine the astounding numbers from Alabama’s most recent blowout, here are some of the more impressive ones.
No SEC team has ever scored more than 50 points in its first three games before this Alabama team. The Tide has done it while playing superstar quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in less than half of each game. When he has been a big part of the attack, Alabama is outscoring its first three opponents by a combined score of 117-0. That’s 61-7 in the first quarter and 56-0 in the second. The third and fourth quarters would be just as dominant if Nick Saban wasn’t making a concerted effort to keep from embarrassing the opposition any worse.
Ole Miss came into its game against Alabama last week with a reputation for having a terrible defense and great offense. Despite a 62-7 drubbing, I still believe both are true.
Nobody is going to dispute the part about the defense. It’s shocking how bad the Rebels are at even slowing down any attack.
But quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and the best group of wide receivers in the country are going to make a lot of defenses look bad the rest of the season. Against Alabama, after completing a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, Ta’amu completed only 6 of 21 passes for 58 yards. He was sacked four times and threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
Xavier McKinney and Deionte Thompson had more than 58 yards on their two interception returns, with McKinney reaching the end zone on a 30-yard return, and Thompson bringing back his interception 40 yards.
No matter what was happening when Alabama’s offense was on the field, we were supposed to see an entertaining battle when Alabama’s rebuilt secondary was trying to keep up with all those great receivers. It didn’t happen.
That revelation leads us to the question of who will challenge the Tide this season.
It’s possible Tagovailoa could be sidelined at some point in the season. He doesn’t run the ball like a player who knows that if he got hurt it would change the entire landscape of college football.
But with Tagovailoa on the field, some team is going to have to score at least 45 to beat this team.
If Ole Miss could score only 7, which teams have a chance to score 45?
Before Saturday I thought Auburn could be one of those teams. Not anymore.
LSU was impressive against Auburn, but quarterback Joe Burrow is still completing less than 50 percent of his passes.
Mississippi State is a good team, but doesn’t have a chance to slow down this juggernaut of an Alabama offense.
Maybe a team in the postseason can challenge the Tide. Georgia certainly doesn’t appear to have taken a step back from last year’s near miss in the national championship game. Clemson has a chance to continue to get better. And Ohio State is the one team that best matches up with Alabama from a talent and depth perspective.
But until we reach the postseason, it seems the only thing for Alabama fans to do is sit back and marvel at a team — particularly an offense — that is off to the best start of any during Saban’s decade-long dynasty.
Randy Kennedy writes a weekly column for Lagniappe and is co-host of “Sports Drive” every weekday from 3-6 p.m. on WNSP 105.5 FM, the country’s first all-sports FM station.
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