Tide Will Continue Rolling Through Championship, With No End in Sight
South Carolina is next for Alabama on the road, and the Gamecocks are better, but the Crimson Tide is significantly better than that. They'll also have no serious issues the next week against Mississippi or even at still-evolving Tennessee or at mostly-fortunate LSU.
Mississippi State and Georgia State?
Oh, and to end the regular season, Alabama will find Auburn as a solid and motivated foe with that Iron Bowl rivalry and everything, but the game is at Alabama. Then again, the way things are going, it doesn't matter who, where or what the Tide play these days.
How Alabama destroyed Florida Saturday night inside Bryant-Denny Stadium wasn't a fluke.
It was an inevitability.
The best team in the nation by a bunch was just destined to do the wonderfully cruel things it did in a 31-6 victory to an overrated Florida bunch -- but still one with considerable talent, ranked seventh overall and only a 21 months removed from a national championship.
The Gators are like everybody else, though. Neither they nor anybody else can handle all of this speed and strength that keeps coming in heavy waves from the Tide. They've got a couple of blurs at running back in Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to complement Julio Jones, their blur at wide receiver. Quarterback Greg McElroy is better than you think, and the bruising defense did nothing against the Gators to make you think it won't remain at the top of the country in scoring.
Their coach also is pretty good.
Somebody named Nick Saban, who is inspiring something that once would have been considered sacrilegious in the Roll Tide Nation. He is making straw hats nearly as popular as houndstooth ones.
That's because Saban is never satisfied.
"You know, Florida is a great team. They're well-coached. They've got a lot of good players, and they've had a tremendous amount of success in their program," said Saban, before easing into the "but" portion of his postgame comments for his 5-0 team (2-0 in the SEC). "But we're focused on the standard that we want to play to. We've got a very challenging game coming up next week."
Not really, but that's Saban, who even chastised his team after the Florida blowout for not keeping a killer instinct until the end.
Which bring us to this: They have four statues outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium, and there also is a hint of another one. As for the latter, just a foundation sits where Saban is slated to become bronzed forever with Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Gene Stallings and the designated God of the Crimson Tide Nation and the entire state of Alabama -- you know, Paul "Bear" Bryant or Mr. Houndstooth Hat himself.
Guess they're waiting for Saban to prove a couple of things: 1. He won't do what he typically does after a few splendid moments with a college football team and bolt elsewhere for whatever reason; and 2. He actually becomes better than their designated God by spending his fourth season with the Tide winning a second consecutive national championship.
The Bear didn't capture his first around here until his fourth year and his second until his seventh year.
Anyway, the best way for Saban to continue as the 21st century version of that designated god -- and get at least the toes and the ankles going on his statue -- was to keep Alabama No. 1 after Florida left town.
So, from beginning to end, with the packed house of nearly 102,000 trying to set an SEC record for roaring, Alabama was suffocating on offense, defense and special teams. The Tide led 24-3 after the first half. Which meant the game was over then for so many reasons.
Saban's Alabama teams are now 33-1 when ahead by intermission. Still, he relayed the following halftime message to his players: "Offensively, we're keeping the ball, driving the ball, converting third downs. Defensively, we've made the plays when we needed to make them, and it's a big momentum changer to be able to stop them on the goal line. We've to play for 60 minutes, though. We learned that last week."
Saban's reference was to Arkansas, where the Tide trailed by 13 in the third quarter. That was the bad news for Alabama. The good news was that the Tide showed considerable grit by rallying against a good Arkansas team in a crazy environment.
Prior to Arkansas, the Tide remained a mystery since they had routs against mediocre San Jose State, Penn State playing a freshman quarterback and Duke operating without Coach K leading the way.
Then came Arkansas and then the Gators.
Let's put it this way: the rest of the legs and the hips are just around the corner of that Saban statue.
With much help from Saban, who showed his worth before Alabama at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU -- we won't mention that little stint with the Miami Dolphins -- the Tide are so impressive they should be ranked first, second and third in every college football pool.
In other words, here comes the neck and the head.