In sports, there is a long-held belief in the idea of a statement win. Of course, that kind of victory doesn't mean much if you don't follow it up with another the next game.
For the Alabama Crimson Tide, even though they still have 22 regular season games left, there was no better way to tell the rest of the country that they are the No. 1 team to beat as the 2012 college football season begins.
Playing against a really good, though still rebuilding, Michigan team, Nick Saban's squad ran all over the Wolverines in an incredible display of athleticism. It also helps that the Crimson Tide were so vastly superior in talent.
As soon as Alabama went up 7-0 thanks to a touchdown pass from A.J. McCarron to Michael Williams, the rout was on. The 41-14 final score is not indicative of how one-sided this game was.
The Wolverines didn't even belong on the same field with Alabama. This looked like a battle between a BCS Championship contender and a practice squad team.
There might be some die-hard Michigan fans who will try to convince you that the team would have performed much better if star running back Fitz Toussaint hadn't been suspended, though it would be hard to get through that statement without laughing.
This was the perfect showcase game for Saban and an Alabama squad that it would have been easy to write off after losing 17 players from last year's National Championship team, including first-round picks Trent Richardson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont'a Hightower.
But when you have a coach who is so great at not only recruiting elite talent but getting depth, the Crimson Tide were never going to suffer that much.
It showed in this electrifying performance against a Michigan team that was the highest-ranked Big Ten school coming into the year, though most fans would argue that everyone in the conference gets overrated.
Winning games is not enough in college football—you have to do it in style. So when Alabama racks up 431 yards of total offense, while the defense holds Denard Robinson to 11-for-26 with 200 yards passing, two interceptions and 27 yards rushing, it says a lot about where they are.
If you want to talk about USC, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida State and Oregon as title contenders, that is certainly your prerogative. But the conversation for the best team in the country has to start with Alabama.