Being too good for too long creates boredom even among your own fans. It seems like Alabama have been the number one team in the nation for so long it really doesn’t seem worthwhile to stay the full game as they plow through another helpless SEC opponent, en route to what should be their third consecutive national title game.
Tennessee were the helpless team this time, losing 45-10 in Tuscaloosa as the stands started emptying out after the Crimson Tide took a 35-0 lead at half time. There were over 101,000 fans at the beginning of the game, but many of them didn’t find a good enough reason to stay for the whole show.
That’s how good Nick Saban has turned this program to. Alabama are now 8-0, including 5-0 in the SEC. Their only close game this season was in their visit to play Texas A&M, winning 49-42. Besides that? It’s been quite easy, allowing only 9.8 points per game, best in the nation. A&M are the only team to score more than 10 points against them this season; their average margin of victory is 31.5, including the 7 point win over the Aggies.
This time, it was a triple combination of the usual effectiveness we see from A.J. McCarron, finishing with a couple of touchdown passes and completing 19-of-27 passes, including six to Kevin Norwood, finishing with 112 yards and a touchdown; Kenyan Drake and T.J. Yeldon in the running game, totaling at 204; and the defense, forcing two interceptions out of Justin Worley, including one returned 89 yards for a touchdown by Landon Collins to end the first half with a 35 point lead.
Alabama actually saw some action from the replacement quarterback for the Vols, as Worley left with an 8-of-15 for 120 yards box score. It was the 7th loss in a row for Tennessee against Alabama, tied for the longest streak for any of the sides in this rivalry.
There’s nothing left but looking ahead for the Crimson Tide, who ruthlessly steamroll their way through the SEC, a conference that is supposedly the best in the nation, but probably has the best team in College Football, nothing more. When thinking how Georgia lost to Clemson, Florida to Miami and LSU struggled against TCU, we end up with one elite program and a bunch of good ones, nothing more.
For Alabama, it’s all about the test ahead. There’s still a chance they don’t win the SEC West if LSU beat them, and there’s also the Iron Bowl against Auburn to consider before turning their minds ot whoever the SEC East throws at them. Alabama are too good and focused under Nick Saban to think too far ahead, but I’m sure that considering how weak the current crop of foes has turned out to be, they can’t help but think about the more interesting battle going on below them in the BCS standings about the right to be number 2, and especially the chance to prove to all those saying Oregon might be a better team for the last couple of years.