Some are claiming that teams like No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 LSU have yet to face the kinds of harrowing tests No. 13 USC faced in its Week 3 matchup against Stanford.
In some ways, they're right. In others, they are just delusional.
To say that Alabama isn't deserving of its top ranking—or that it hasn't yet been tested—is certifiably insane. It's clear to see why the they-haven't-played-anybody complaint surfaces with regards to LSU or especially Oregon, but not for Alabama.
Are the toughest tests still to come for the Crimson Tide? Absolutely. But don't forget that this team was slapped with perhaps the toughest opening-week matchup of any team in the NCAA: then-No. 8 Michigan, in prime time. Alabama passed that test just fine, to the tune of a 41-14 victory.
Since then, it hasn't allowed a single point. In Week 3, it destroyed Arkansas—which was considered one of the better teams in the SEC not too long ago—52-0.
This team has already been tested. This defense, which was the Crimson Tide's biggest question mark of all entering the 2012 season, has more than passed. Every team is only as good or as bad as its most recent win or loss, and in that sense, Alabama is still the best team in the nation, hands down.
That doesn't mean that Alabama is going to stay perfect. It doesn't mean that the Crimson Tide won't have to turn it up several notches in order to get past the likes of LSU, or Mississippi State or any of the other proven winners on their schedule.
But teams like Michigan and Arkansas didn't enter their matchups against Alabama as bad teams, or as the worst teams. Alabama just made them look that way. Alabama has made any team in its path look like some of the worst of the worst.
Who knows what Michigan would be ranked right now if it hadn't faced Alabama in the season opener? Maybe the Wolverines would be 3-0. Maybe they'd be in the Top Five.
Maybe if Alabama had taken on LSU or Mississippi State in the first game of the season, those teams would be the ones fighting for their BCS lives rather than Michigan.
We don't know whether the Crimson Tide are going to look this good for the entirety of 2012. We don't know if any team is going to be able to challenge them. But purely judging from what we know this season—from the games we have seen—Alabama can make any team, any quarterback and any coach look silly.
This defense has allowed 14 points in three weeks and has two shutouts to its name. AJ McCarron has thrown for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. TJ Yeldon and Eddie Lacy, the heirs to Trent Richardson's throne, have combined for six TDs.
Along the way, no team has come remotely close to making Alabama look beatable.
The Crimson Tide have played some decent teams, and they've played some not-so-decent teams. When the final whistle blows, though, the end result is always the same.
We don't know whether it will stay that way. But at this point in time, we have every reason to believe it will.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!