Alabama vs. Texas A&M: Nick Saban, Tide Leave No Doubt as to Nation's No. 1 Team

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 14, 2013

Do you have any doubt?

After what Alabama did to Texas A&M in a 49-42 win at Kyle Field in College Station on Saturday afternoon, you shouldn't.

Alabama is the best team in the country, and there isn't a close second.

For a team that exited its first and only game of the season with a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech in Week 1, the Crimson Tide sure had problems.

The offensive line looked like a sieve, the running game couldn't get going and quarterback AJ McCarron wasn't comfortable in the pocket.

All of that changed on Saturday, and it should have the rest of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) shakin' in its boots.

The offensive line communicated well, T.J. Yeldon rushed for 149 yards and one touchdown, and McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns in an impressive win over the No. 6 Aggies. All of this after the Alabama defense allowed quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies to build a quick 14-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Alabama got punched in the mouth twice before punching itself out of the corner, scoring a knockdown with a 73-yard Vinnie Sunseri interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter and then landing the knockout blow with a punishing nine-play, 65-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to put the Tide up two scores with 2:28 to play.

This is Alabama football. This is head coach Nick Saban in revenge games.

The seventh-year head coach of the Tide is now 8-1 in revenge games with the Crimson Tide, and you saw why on Saturday afternoon. Even when their backs were pressed to the wall, the offense didn't panic, executed the game plan and bulldozed its way to an easy victory.

Unlike normal years, though, Alabama passed to set up the run.

McCarron threw the ball on 15 of the first 19 offensive plays to take a 21-14 lead and then leaned on that offensive line to put the game to sleep. The big uglies up front obliged. Yeldon had holes the size of the Grand Canyon to run through, which is a 180-degree change from the opener.

This is what great teams do.

The old coaching axiom that a team improves most between Games 1 and 2 held true, and after we've seen the new and improved Crimson Tide, there's no doubt that—despite heavy roster turnover in some key areas—Alabama is still the best team in the country.


Because this team looks exactly like all the other elite teams of the Saban era.


According to CBS' broadcast of the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game, Oregon fans were chanting "we want Bama" in the middle of Saturday's 59-14 rout of Tennessee—arguably the 10th-best team in the SEC.

That would be an awesome game, no doubt. But after what Alabama did to Texas A&M, Oregon should tread lightly.

Saban won't be happy about the 42 points and 628 yards allowed. But sometimes shootouts happen, especially when a guy like Johnny Manziel—who's so good a making things happen on the fly when Xs and Ox get thrown out the window—is taking snaps for the other team.

Alabama earned the benefit of the doubt in the preseason by building a dynasty. Now it's clear that it's fully capable of sustaining that dynasty this season.

Until a team steps up and proves otherwise, the rest of the college football world will continue to look up to Alabama high atop its perch as the nation's premier football program.