Alabama Football: How the Tide Compared to Other SEC West Powers in Week 1

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIISeptember 2, 2012

Alabama Football: How the Tide Compared to Other SEC West Powers in Week 1

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    Alabama destroyed the Michigan Wolverines on Sept. 1, 2012 in Cowboys Stadium 41-14. The Tide experienced some hiccups against Michigan, but that was to be expected in a season opener.

    With Arkansas coming up in Week 3 and LSU looming on the distant horizon in early October, it's never too early to evaluate where the Tide stands in comparison to the other SEC West contenders.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    *Statistics from ESPN.com

Arkansas vs. Jacksonville State

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    Arkansas defeated Jacksonville State at home 49-24. The Razorbacks gave up 21 points to the Gamecocks in the first half, then locked down to allow only three points in the second half.

    While Arkansas proved they can defensively clamp down on a successful offense, they also showed vulnerability.

    Arkansas gained 400 yards en route to a 564 total-yard performance against the Gamecocks. Tyler Wilson looked almost unbeatable with a 367-yard performance that held zero interceptions.

    However, Tyler Wilson did commit a fumble on a sack in the first quarter. Ronnie Wingo (the senior tailback for Arkansas) fumbled in the fourth quarter.

    Arkansas is an elite team, and could go toe-to-toe with any team in the nation.

    Major concern for Alabama: Arkansas is fielding a team that will command much more discipline to contain than Michigan did. The Tide will face the Razorbacks in two weeks. The Tide needs focus and discipline on the practice field to overcome Arkansas in Week 3.

LSU vs. North Texas

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    The LSU Tigers took down the North Texas Mean Green to the tune of 41-14. That's the same score that the Tide used to take down Top-10 Michigan.

    Zach Mettenberger needs to get broken in quickly if the Tigers plan to make a run for the national championship in 2012.

    Mettenberger went 19/26 for 192 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The Tigers are extremely hopeful that Mettenberger can develop quickly enough to take down the Crimson Tide in November. An interception against North Texas would give most teams pause, but Mettenberger is a new-hire for the Tigers. (At least in terms of experience.)

    While the Tigers gouged the Mean Green for 500-plus yards, it must be remembered that it was North Texas. How does that compare to the Tide's performance against Michigan?

    Major concern for Alabama: LSU has just as much time to develop as the Tide. Plus, the TIgers have a bye right before playing Alabama in Death Valley. Alabama needs to win the development battle each and every week.

Crimson Tide Analysis

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    The Crimson Tide gouged No. 8 Michigan for 431 yards. (199 through the air and 232 on the ground.)

    While this total is almost 100 yards fewer than Arkansas or LSU gained against their opponents, Alabama faced a potential conference champion from a major BCS conference as opposed to a team that needed money.

    In Week 1, Alabama showed that it is capable of repeating as national champion. Even with the miscues on both sides of the ball (evident in silly penalties like 12 men on the field) that sometimes resulted in explosive plays from the Wolverines, Alabama looked far less rusty than fans expected.

    You can't simply take the stats and say that Alabama is going to dominate every game of the season. However, the eyeball test is the one that Alabama passed with flying colors.

    If Alabama plays at the Week 1 level for the rest of the season, there will be two or three losses by the end of the season.

    However, if Alabama develops as usual under Saban for the rest of the season, national championship No. 15 is coming to Tuscaloosa in January. (Also, T.J. Yeldon may bring home a second Heisman.)

    Roll Tide!