Alabama Dominates Florida Again as Saban Exhibits Superiority
There may be a rematch of this game at the SEC championship in December, but the result isn't going to change. Alabama is simply better than Florida. And the gap between the two teams is substantial and widening. So amazing is Nick Saban's revival of Alabama that it's hard to believe it has been less than four years since Mike Shula led the Alabama Crimson Tide off the field with a home loss to Auburn in 2006. At that point in time Alabama was irrelevant, coming up on a decade of national obscurity. In less than four years, Saban has taken a moribund program and resurrected it to a level of greatness not seen in Tuscaloosa since the 1970s.
Yes, Florida is young, and yes, Florida will get better. But right now to call the Gators a title contending team is a joke. Hell, even calling the Gators a top-10 team might be a joke. From the moment in the first quarter when Urban Meyer brought in Trey Burton to attempt a jump pass on fourth down it was clear the Gators were trying to reclaim past glory. Only, in a perfect metaphor for the game, Burton underthrew his receiver and Alabama picked off the pass in the end zone. Trey Burton, you're no Tim Tebow, but Nick Saban: you may well be Bear Bryant.
From the moment of that interception, Florida never seriously challenged Allabama. The game was such an outright dominating performance that I was left wondering how in the world "The Situation" from Jersey Shore can make $5 million a year and Nick Saban can make only $4 million. Put it this way: Saban is the most underpaid star in America today.
In fact, if T. Boone Pickens gives Oklahoma State athletics hundreds of millions of dollars, why doesn't he cut to the chase and offer Nick Saban $10 million a year? Saban's worth it. Sure, Alabama might match the offer, but is there a better way for a college football program to spend $10 million? And if you were a rival SEC program with an awful coach like LSU, couldn't you at least force Alabama to pay more for its prized possession. At $4 million a year, Nick Saban is a bargain, the equivalent of finding a Jackson Pollock painting at a flea market.
Urban Meyer's a great coach, too, and it might be too soon to discount his future dominance of the SEC, but combining this smackdown with the SEC championship game beating, the Gators have been outscored by Saban and Alabama 63-19 in the past eight quarters. That ain't close, folks. And this game was even more of a beating than the SEC championship game. The gap between these two teams isn't lessening, it's widening. You can even use this game as an illustration, two programs passing on a perfect fall night.
If last season's SEC championship game loss left Meyer hospitalized, what's Saturday night's game going to do to him? At least Florida fans can be thankful for one thing, can you imagine what a Steve Addazio-helmed Gators club would look like this year? Florida would probably be 1-3 on the season.
In the meantime, how brutal was the drubbing put on the Gators by Alabama? I switched over to channelsurfing.net to watch Georgia lose at Colorado and Stanford at Oregon from the Alabama press box. Midway through the second quarter I was thinking about heading out of the stadium and grabbing a few beers at Gallette's. I wouldn't have missed much. Just Alabama dominating in every facet of the game. It was such an awe-inspiring performance by the Crimson Tide, the best by a top-10 team this season, that the home crowd seemed a bit disappointed. All day long fans from both teams had been drinking heavily in preparation for a night kickoff. By midway through the second quarter, with Alabama up three touchdowns, this game felt a bit like a heavyweight fight that had ended in a first round knockout.
As the alcohol buzz wore up, Bama fans everywhere looked around and thought, "We got all dressed up for this?" Gator fans were more sanguine. They just needed whiskey. And lots of it. The same fans that clamored for the John Brantley era to begin now must worry whether they shortchanged the Tim Tebow era. It was the first regular season loss for the Gators in two years, but it felt like a couple more were coming this season.
Meanwhile, Alabama is now 5-0 and there are at least seven regular-season games left, but it's safe to say that the Crimson Tide, even if they slip up and lose a game, are going to Glendale as one of the two teams playing for the national championship. And judging from the trajectory of this program, Alabama will win that game and it won't be close.
As both teams filed off the field and Alabama fans draped the losing Florida team in the Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer cheer, an announcer belted out.
"This is Alabama football!"
That's only partially true. The announcer should also say, "This is Nick Saban football!"
Because right now it's Nick Saban's world and the rest of us, including Urban Meyer, are just watching football in it.
Follow Clay Travis on Twitter here. With All That and a Bag of Mail returning for the football season, you can e-mail him questions at Clay.Travis@gmail.com