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Bored With ‘Bama? You Might Miss Historic Greatness

By Matt Smith
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Through three games, the Crimson Tide have outscored their opponents by 142 points.

Yes, Alabama has rendered the SEC West title race a seemingly open-and-shut case one again. Through three games, the Crimson Tide have outscored their opponents by 142 points. If the retooled defense has taken a step back at all, it’s only a baby one.

Alabama will cruise into a potentially tricky November schedule 8-0. Book it. Same old Alabama.

So is there even reason to pay attention the Tide until the trick-or-treaters have come and gone? Absolutely.

This isn’t 2011 Alabama, which just smothered opponents to death on defense and asked very little of its offense. This is a new Alabama. Think of it as a Big 12 offense coupled with the same, impenetrable Nick Saban defense that we’ve been watching for a decade. That’s an absolutely terrifying combination.

It was on display in top form Saturday night in Oxford, as the top-ranked Crimson Tide ran off 62 unanswered points in a 62-7 rout of Ole Miss after spotting the Rebels a 7-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage.

The offensive numbers were staggering. Alabama had nine possessions in the first half, and seven ended in touchdowns. Henry Ruggs III lost a fumble, and the Crimson Tide had their weekly missed short field goal. That was it. Nine drives, 49 points. 5.5 points per possession. Not bad.

Tua Tagovailoa, the best quarterback of the Saban era, played only in the first half, leaving just before halftime with an apparent lower-body injury, although Saban denied after the game that Tagovailoa suffered any injury. He missed on just four of his 15 pass attempts, with a pair of his 11 completions going for touchdowns. He added 47 yards on the ground to finish with 238 yards of total offense on a short night of work.

The running game cranked out more than 200 yards, with three different running backs finding the end zone – and running back is the relative weakest position on Alabama’s offense. In addition to Tagovailoa, this is easily Saban’s best receiving corps at Alabama, and the offensive line could very well end up being No. 1 as well. The offensive depth is unmatched.

There’s not much that’s unprecedented anymore for Alabama, but this offense is just that. The Crimson Tide are averaging 56.3 points per game so far this season. That’s more than 17 points higher than the top season average of the Saban era. Yes, that number is going to come down with the tough defenses on the schedule in November, but this team could very well average 50 points over the full season after never having reached 40 under Saban.

If they do so, this offense could go down as the best one college football has seen this century. 2008 Oklahoma, 2004 USC, and 2001 Miami all would still have a case, but we’ve seen nothing from Alabama through three weeks to suggest that it won’t be in that conversation by season’s end. The school might even get it third Heisman Trophy in the past 10 years after not having a Heisman winner in the first 74 years of sports’ most prestigious individual award.

That’s why this Alabama team is different, and that’s why you shouldn’t simply ignore the Crimson Tide for the next six weeks. This could be an offense you tell your unborn children about some day. That’s not hyperbolic, at least not based on anything you can see on tape from 180 minutes of season-to-date football.

The 2018 Alabama Crimson Tide deserve more of your attention than just the LSU and Auburn games. They’ve managed to find a new way to dominate, which didn’t even seem possible a month ago after five national championships in nine seasons.

Don’t be bored with Alabama, and by all means, don’t blink.

Matt Smith - Matt is a 2007 graduate of Notre Dame and has spent most of his life pondering why most people in the Mid-Atlantic actually think there are more important things than college football. He has blogged for College Football News, covering both national news as well as Notre Dame and the service academies. He credits Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel for his love of college football and tailgating at Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn for his love of sundresses. Matt covers the ACC as well as the national scene.