It’s just too easy this year.
Alabama already has a couple of the best college football teams of all time. They rank up there with the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, 2005 Texas Longhorns and 2008 Florida Gators. But, this year’s team is a different animal altogether. The reason? Tua Tagovailoa.
Under Nick Saban, Alabama has always had a sled-full of defensive players who are going to make it to the next level. Most years, they’ve bolstered some of the best defensive lines and secondaries in the country. Their linebackers aren’t too shabby, either, with players like Rueben Foster and Rashad Evans. They’ve produced running back after running back with T.J. Yeldon, Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry to name a few. The receivers have held their own with Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, and Julio Jones. The one thing they’ve never had is a true NFL quarterback.
Welcome to 2018. I was in attendance for the Alabama vs. Tennessee game, and Tua is better in person than on TV, and that’s hard to do. Start with the fact he’s a lot bigger than he looks on TV. He has a NFL quarterback’s frame. He carries himself with composure, no matter how pressure-filled the situation (I’m going back to the National Championship game of 2017, since he hasn’t played in the 4th quarter yet this year). And, the throws he makes are unbelievable.
For instance, there was a play in the Tennessee game where he was chased to his left, turned his shoulders and delivered a perfect ball to a receiver almost on the far right sideline about 25 yards downfield in between two defenders. At that point, what can the defense do? The answer is, nothing, save hopefully sack him.
Tagovailoa makes Alabama a different team. He finishes each team off by early in the 3rd quarter and most of the time, they’re realistically done by the 2nd. He doesn’t let the team start slow. They’ve scored on 7 of 7 1st drives.
This week could be the first real test for the Tide all year as they go into Baton Rouge and play a red-hot LSU team. The Tigers smoked what appeared to be Alabama’s only competition (Georgia) earlier this season.
For the Tigers to pull off this upset, they’ll need to start fast. This team is not built to play from behind, especially against the Tide who’ll eat them if they know their opponent is forced to pass the ball. If Alabama gets through this game easily, I don’t see any team challenging them all year, including the National Championship Game. This team will go down as the greatest team of all time!