5 Reasons Alabama Is Still the Most Talented Team in the Country
The Alabama Crimson Tide could not overcome three turnovers and a 20-point first-quarter deficit in a 29-24 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide fell to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches poll, which means their hopes of playing for a second consecutive BCS title are now in the hands of anyone lining up against the Kansas State Wildcats, Oregon Ducks and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Although the Crimson Tide are seemingly out of the national championship picture for the time being, Alabama still has plenty of talent on its roster, and in the minds of many, are still the most talented team in college football.
Click ahead to find out five reasons why the Crimson Tide still have more talent than anyone in the country despite their loss to Texas A&M.
Texas A&M Played a Near-Perfect Game...
Even Texas A&M Aggies fans knew it would take a near-perfect game from freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and Co. to unseat the Alabama Crimson Tide from their throne atop the college football world, and Kevin Sumlin's team appeared relatively flawless on Saturday.
Despite being outgained by the Crimson Tide in the total yardage department, the Aggies did not turn the ball over once, converted 11-of-18 third downs and only had four penalties for 26 yards.
All of that, in addition to 345 yards from Johnny Football, led to the undoing of the Crimson Tide on Saturday.
This is not an attempt to take away from anything the Aggies were able to do in Tuscaloosa against the former No. 1 team in the country, but it is not as if there is no longer an argument to label the Crimson Tide as the most talented team in college football considering that Alabama had a chance to come away with a win given how well Texas A&M played.
Alabama Did Not
While the Texas A&M Aggies executed their game plan exactly as they drew it up, the Alabama Crimson Tide made several mistakes for a second consecutive game and were unable to win in spite of their unforced errors, like they did against the LSU Tigers in Week 10.
Alabama uncharacteristically turned the ball over three times and committed several costly penalties, including the game-ending offsides penalty on 4th-and-1 that allowed Texas A&M to take a knee and run out the clock as opposed to giving the ball back to AJ McCarron for one last hurrah.
Speaking of McCarron, the Heisman Trophy contender could not have picked a worse time to throw his first two interceptions of the year.
Texas A&M deserves a lot of credit for how it played against the Crimson Tide, but mistakes and not lesser talent dismantled Alabama on Saturday.
Dual-Threat Quarterbacks Have Had Success Against Nick Saban's Teams
What do Cam Newton, Tim Tebow and Texas A&M Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel have in common?
All three of them are dual-threat quarterbacks and were able to beat Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide teams with precise passing in addition to having the ability to keep plays alive with their legs.
In the Auburn Tigers' 2010 victory over Alabama, Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran in another while amassing over 250 total yards.
Tebow had similar statistics in the Florida Gators' 31-20 win over the Crimson Tide in the 2008 SEC Championship Game. The Heisman Trophy winner accounted for 273 yards of offense and three touchdowns.
Manziel followed the blueprint laid out by Tebow and Newton on Saturday. The Kerrville, Tex. native completed 24-of-31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 92 rushing yards on 18 carries.
This is by no means attempting to absolve the Alabama defense of any blame for the loss, but this is not the first time—and probably not the last time—Saban's teams have been beaten by a talented dual-threat quarterback.
The Crimson Tide Were Not Mentally Ready for Texas A&M
When Nick Saban stepped to the podium for his post-game press conference, the Alabama Crimson Tide's head coach quickly gave plenty of credit to Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies, but also revealed how mentally ill-prepared the defending champs were to face a nationally-ranked opponent for a third week in a row.
"I think the players refocused and really tried and it seemed like early in the week we were pretty good, but later in the week, emotionally, I'm not talking about physically, we just couldn't seem to get the kind of mental energy and intensity that we needed to play against this kind of team," Saban said according to John Taylor of NBCSports.
The Crimson Tide appear to be the superior team in terms of professional talent, but Texas A&M's game plan and flawless execution proved to be too much for a team that could not get mentally ready to face the Aggies, who were playing with a chip on their shoulder and wanted to prove they deserve a seat at the big-boy table in the SEC.
Like Saban said, none of that is an excuse. Just don't undermine the level of talent that is still on Alabama's roster even though it failed to execute in what turned out to be the biggest game of its 2012 campaign.
Alabama's Roster Is Still Loaded with NFL Talent
Whether or not the Alabama Crimson Tide wind up being the best team is irrelevant when discussing how much NFL-ready talent is still on Nick Saban's 2012 roster.
Offensive linemen Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack are all going to get plenty of looks from professional teams looking to rebuild their front five on offense, Eddie Lacy has the speed, strength and build to be selected in the early rounds, and Michael Williams will be one of the first tight ends taken in the 2013 NFL draft.
On defense, defensive tackle Jesse Williams is projected to be a first-round pick, while linebackers Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley will also find their way onto an NFL roster, along with defensive end Damion Square and cornerback DeMarcus Milliner.
Not to mention the Crimson Tide boast two of the nation's top freshmen in running back T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Crimson Tide may not be able to win the national title this season, but Alabama will still produce several professional players come April 2013.