The nation learned that Nick Saban's Alabama squad is poised to make a run at becoming the first team to repeat as national champions since Nebraska in 1995.
After dispatching No. 8 Michigan by a score of 41-14 in its season opener, No. 2 Alabama served notice to the nation that the discussion for the country’s top team should include—and perhaps begin—with the Crimson Tide.
Alabama jumped out to a 31-0 lead in the first half and cruised to a rather easy victory in the only matchup of the young season’s opening weekend to pit two top 10 teams against one another.
Nick Saban’s club appeared dominant in all three phases and made a team that enters the 2012 season as the favorite to capture the Big Ten look average at best.
What else did Tide fans and observers around the country find out about the Tide?
Here are five things we learned from Alabama’s season-opening victory over Michigan.
Alabama's OL paved the way for Jalston Fowler and the rest of the Tide's RB's to pile up 232 yards rushing.
Heading into the 2012 season, most pundits and media scribes pointed to Alabama's wealth of talent and and experience in the trenches as the main reason they could challenge for another national title.
That line of thinking was more than validated as the Tide piled up 232 yards rushing against the Wolverines while surrendering just 69 yards on the ground to Denard Robinson and company.
While several story lines will emerge from the Tide’s romp over the Wolverines, the big picture is that if Alabama continues to be dominant in the trenches, that strength may be enough to carry them all the way to Miami in the second week of January.
DeAndrew White hauled in a 51-yard TD strike from McCarron in the second quarter.
With the loss of starting wideouts Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks from last season, another perceived weakness for the Tide was the wide receiver group.
Even though Alabama’s 199 yards through the air does not seem like an impressive total, Kevin Norwood and DeAndrew White led an explosive attack against one of the toughest secondary groups it may see all season.
The added threats on the edges—which hindered the Tide’s attack in 2011—should ease the pressure on McCarron and Alabama’s running backs.
Deion Belue and Vinnie Sunseri were beaten on a 70-yard bomb by Jeremy Gallon in the second quarter.
If there was one glaring issue that the Tide will have going forward, it will be the growing pains of a young and talented—but mostly inexperienced—secondary.
Granted, the game’s outcome had already been decided, but Denard Robinson—not exactly known for his passing skills—was able to hit on a pair of big passing plays of more than 40 yards due to breakdowns in the Tide’s secondary.
With road trips to pass-heavy opponents like Arkansas and Tennessee looming, Saban and his staff will have to work on preventing those breakdowns from occurring on a regular basis.
Yeldon is poised to have a huge year after Saturday's 111-yard debut performance.
Alabama fans are not foreign to the concept of witnessing brilliant freshman running backs, but even the most ardent Tide supporters had to pinch themselves after witnessing the historic debut of T.J. Yeldon.
Much to the chagrin of the rest of the nation that has seen elite backs like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy burst onto the scene as teenagers, Yeldon accomplished something his predecessors failed to do—rush for more than a 100 yards in his first college game.
The 6’2”, 216-pound former 5-star recruit showed a rare burst for a back with his size, plus the ability to cut at an instant and get up field in a hurry.
After a strong performance against a high-caliber opponent, Yeldon’s role only figures to increase as the season moves along.
McCarron and the Tide proved that they have everything they need to complete a repeat.
The fact that Alabama was able to put together such a strong showing against a quality opponent is a sign that this team has the pieces in place to make a run at becoming the school’s first team to repeat as national champions since 1979.
That said, the grind of a long season is sure to bring ups and downs, but the Tide’s first impression this season suggests that Saban and his staff have everything in place to become the first school to capture three crystal footballs in the BCS era.