One of the most telling testaments to Alabama’s greatness is how routine and unremarkable it has become. The Crimson Tide are simply expected to do the things that earn other programs gushing praise and plaudits. Consider last Saturday, when Nick Saban’s behemoth went into Nashville and ran wild over previously unbeaten Vanderbilt like a rambunctious bachelor party on Broadway. The 59-0 road drubbing barely registered on the college football seismometer.
Why? Because it was Alabama laying waste to an otherwise competent conference opponent. There’s nothing new there. But what if we lived in a world where the rolling Tide hadn’t already beat down the bushes showing the well-trod path to the national championship game? How would their deadly efficacy be viewed?
Let’s take the eye test out of the equation. On film, Alabama looks different. It’s inspiring to the casual viewer and devastating to future opponents huddled in film study sessions. What’s been impressive to me through four games this season, is how impressive their empirical data looks on paper.
Even without the visual element, they appear to be a juggernaut. Here are just a few numbers to consider.
Alabama is fourth in scoring defense (10 pts/game) and 18th in scoring offense (41.25 pts/game). They allow just 248 yards/game and rack up 482.5 themselves — buoyed by outgaining the Commodores 677-78. Tide rushers average 6.2 yards/carry while the defensive allows opponents 2.68. They are winning the ground game by an average of 228 yards/game. Alabama has scored 20 offensive touchdowns while yielding only five.
The Jalen Hurts-led offensive is 16th nationally in explosiveness. Most impressive, perhaps, is the unit’s care with the football. Over four games, they haven’t yet turned it over. Meanwhile, an always opportunistic Tide defense has forced eight.
On paper, they are a perfectly rounded, fine-tuned machine showing no weakness. And that’s before the athleticism hits the eye on tape.
What if a team not from Tuscaloosa was posting these numbers? How would we see this team, especially if it was relatively new on the winner’s podium?
Likely a bit differently than the way Alabama’s being treated. Then again, that’s nothing new.