So, Alabama schedule haters, what now?
Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada.
That’s what the Alabama schedule haters have after Saturday night’s bloodbath at LSU. The people who argued that the Tide hadn’t really proven anything because they didn’t have an elite win yet surely took note of the events that unfolded in the Bayou.
You couldn’t have drawn up a more hostile atmosphere to test the Tide. You couldn’t have pieced together a better secondary to test Tua Tagovailoa, either.
And what did Alabama do to the No. 3 team in the country on its home field? It strolled in and acted like it owned the place. After seeing what the Tide did to a battle-tested LSU squad, you could have convinced me that in some sort of imperial way, Tiger Stadium now belongs to the team in Crimson. It was that kind of performance.
It was the type of performance that should have made any in the “Alabama’s got a cupcake schedule” crowd say, “wow, I’ve officially run out of arguments to hate on Alabama.”
Thoughts and prayers to you, person who thought that just trucking every team heading into Week 10 was something that everyone does. Saturday night was rough for you. You got dunked on, and Alabama coaches weren’t afraid to let you know about it.
There’s no more impressive victory in college football this year than the one that Alabama picked up Saturday night. Period. LSU will drop from that loss, and for some, preseason confirmation bias will set in.
But let’s not forget what LSU did a few weeks ago when it dominated Georgia at that same place. And let’s also not forget that the Tigers came into Saturday night riding consecutive victories by double digits against ranked foes. They earned that No. 3 spot with 1 loss ahead of unbeaten Notre Dame because of how strong that résumé was.
Let’s be honest. By definition of the quality of opponents, it’s true that Alabama hadn’t been as battle-tested as LSU. Tua Tagovailoa hadn’t played in a fourth quarter all season because when you beat teams as badly as the Tide does, even just having him on the field to hand the ball off would be running up the score.
By the way, Tagovailoa did indeed play in the fourth quarter Saturday night. He even attempted a pass! But he only completed a 24-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy, so we’ll have to wait for Tagovailoa’s first fourth quarter incompletion.
Is it safe to say that Tagovailoa will hoist a Heisman Trophy before he throws a fourth quarter incompletion or is that too much rat poison? That’s an actual question.
Tagovailoa, Jeudy and Damien Harris dominated, but let’s not dismiss the defensive effort that Alabama put together. We probably should have known that Alabama was due for a shutout when nobody was talking about the defense leading up to Saturday. Instead, it was all about how LSU was going to pressure Tagovailoa and oh man, just wait until Devin White comes back!
Quinnen Williams led an Alabama defense that looked like it was tired of playing second fiddle to the offense. That group played like it was annoyed that the defense was considered “the question mark with Alabama.” My only question on Saturday night was “Holy cow, did you see that Mack Wilson interception?!?”
— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) November 4, 2018
I mean, come on. Alabama couldn’t let LSU have 1 little touchdown?
The Tide ended up being the rudest guest possible. Handing LSU its sixth shutout of the past 22 years was one thing (5 were by Alabama). But to do so in a game when the Tigers clawed just to put themselves in position to be a top-3 team was just plain mean. Everybody and their mother had that game circled on their calendar all year.
And to be fair, it’s not like Alabama played perfect game by any stretch. That’s almost what makes it worse. Alabama didn’t have an opening drive touchdown for the first time all year and Tagovailoa threw his first interception this season (it was basically a punt and he threw a perfect touchdown pass on the next drive so it was all for naught obviously). There were points in the night when he looked — dare I say — human?
But did that matter? Of course not. This Alabama team looks unfair. Delivering that kind of thumping in that kind of atmosphere suggested that much.
Still, we’ll continue to debate if anyone has a legitimate chance to take down what’s looking more and more like Nick Saban’s best team ever. We can already fire up the conversation about the Georgia rematch after it punched its own ticket to Atlanta on Saturday by taking care of Kentucky on the road.
The funny thing is that in the postgame interview on CBS, Saban didn’t even realize that he clinched a division title. That was news to him. He was under the impression that he still had another win to get to lock that up. In his defense, it’s hard to care about that too much when you can lose your division and still win a national title like he did last year.
Saban said another thing in the postgame interview that I thought was telling.
“We wanted to make a little bit of a statement too in terms of the kind of team we had with people talking about our schedule and whatnot,” Saban said.
Yeah, those people hear you loud and clear now.