Everyone knew how good the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are this year, but after their 38-17 manhandling of the No. 13-ranked LSU Tigers, it became clear the rivalry isn't what it once was. The Tigers are far removed from the team that used to represent 'Bama's yearly measuring stick.
The 21-point loss proves LSU is a second-tier SEC team more comparable with South Carolina, Georgia and even Ole Miss, to whom the Tigers lost to two weeks ago. When the Rebels knocked off LSU 27-24 in Oxford, Miss. it was called an upset.
Yet after the Tide proved LSU couldn't compete with them in the second half, the Tigers' overall superiority over a team like Ole Miss is in question.
Some may point to the fact that 'Bama only led 17-14 at half, but it is the final score that counts. After all, the Tigers only led Furman 20-16 at the break before outscoring them 28-0 in the second half.
One could single out the fact that LSU couldn't run the ball; the Tigers only had 43 yards on the ground against 'Bama. Even the run defense could be blamed, as 'Bama ran for 193 yards total, with super sophomore T.J. Yeldon racking up 133 by himself.
More than any of the ground woes, the team's inability to take care of the ball is the most alarming issue. For the third-straight game the Tigers had multiple turnovers. Les Miles' team had three giveaways against Ole Miss and Furman. The team had two more turnovers on Saturday night against 'Bama.
As of now, LSU is minus-four in the turnover margin for the season. The last time a Tigers team finished in the negative in this category was 2008. That season the team was 8-5. With a tough game at home against Texas A&M in Week 12 and a competitive opponent in a bowl game on the horizon, LSU could be headed for a similar record.
Even the best programs have down years, and this season certainly qualifies as that for the Tigers. With a recruiting class that 247 sports ranks 12th in the nation, LSU does have some studs on the way. Unfortunately for LSU, the talent train to Tuscaloosa isn't showing any signs of slowing down. As good as 'Bama is now, the future looks even brighter.
The Tide has the No. 1-ranked class for the fourth year in a row. It could be a while before LSU is neck-and-neck with 'Bama again.