Alabama Football: Is Crimson Tide Overrated or Just Untested?
Alabama is the consensus No.1 team in college football as it stands today, but the question still remains whether this team is overrated or simply untested.
The Alabama Crimson Tide has been on top of the college football world for the past five seasons. A 10-2 run in 2008 was a precursor to two national titles and four consecutive seasons with 10 wins or more.
This season the Tide has ran the table in very convincing fashion with the closest win coming against Ole Miss by 19 points.
Despite the convincing wins, Alabama has yet to play a highly respected opponent on the national stage. They did defeat Mississippi State when the Bulldogs were No. 11 in the BCS, but that isn’t being lauded as a major victory for the Tide.
Let’s take a look at what this team has accomplished so far through 2012.
Is there anyone who doubts the Alabama defense is the best unit in the country? I don’t see how there could be.
The Tide’s defense is ranked No. 1 in scoring, passing, rushing, total yards and pass efficiency defense. Talk about a mouthful of excellence.
The highpoint for production against the defense has been 14 points by two different teams, and the highest yardage count came against Tennessee, with the Volunteers producing 282 yards of offense.
The Tide also held a prolific Missouri offense to a paltry 129 total yards.
Alabama is only giving up eight points per game through the 2012 season.
Alabama is not just great on defense, but the Tide are also very proficient offensively. The Tide ranks No. 11 in scoring offense and No. 41 in total offense. Alabama also fields the No. 22 rushing attack in the country.
The most impressive performance offensively has come from Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. On the year McCarron has tossed 18 touchdowns and no interceptions and leads the country in passing efficiency with a 182.40 mark.
McCarron has done all this with a group of young and unproven receivers, making his success even more impressive.
The Tide may not crank out the most yards in the country, but they put up points and are a very skilled and well-disciplined unit.
Line Play is Elite
The Alabama offensive and defensive lines are the best units of their kind in the country.
The Alabama offensive line has opened holes for freshman T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy so big that a Suburban could make it through the hole sideways.
The defensive line for the Tide has been equally impressive stuffing opposing offenses at the line, holding opponents to 57.25 rushing yards a game. Alabama also ranks as the No. 31 team in the country in sacks, registering 2.5 sacks a game.
Great football teams field great front lines. This team has built two amazingly talented units that are the backbone for the success that has come this year.
With all the success that Alabama has built this season, detractors quickly point to the weak schedule that the Tide opened with to start the year.
Alabama started the year against then-No. 8 Michigan in Dallas, winning the game 41-14. What looked like a huge win has turned out to be a less than impressive victory as Michigan has lost three through eight games.
The Crimson Tide followed that win up with a shutout of Western Kentucky. Next came a throttling of Arkansas and a number of other SEC foes. The most difficult win so far was a 33-14 victory over Ole Miss.
Last Saturday the Tide faced off against then-No. 11 Mississippi State, beating the Bulldogs convincingly 38-7.
Obviously the schedule has not been the strongest in the country, but this team will still face LSU and Texas A&M. Both games will be tough for the Crimson Tide and will give the strength of schedule a firm boost.
Overrated or Untested?
So is this team overrated or untested?
Nick Saban has built a short dynasty so far in Tuscaloosa with devastating defense and efficient offense. Nothing has changed this year about that plan.
For the second season in a row the Tide is leading in every major defensive category, and they may be fielding the most balanced offense since the arrival of Saban and Co. in 2007.
This is a dangerous team, one which appears to be in a league of its own right now in the college football world. There isn’t a doubt that Alabama is far from overrated, but it is untested.
The Tide won’t be untested much longer as Baton Rouge and LSU awaits this coming Saturday.