The college football season is here, and Alabama picked up right where it left off at the end of the 2011 season. The Crimson Tide dismantled the Michigan Wolverines, the preseason number 8 team, to the tune of 41-14 in a neutral site game at JerryWorld in Arlington, Texas.
The game was over almost from the kickoff. Alabama’s defense, surrounded by questions due to the departure of multiple first round draft picks, employed a brilliant game plan to make Denard Robinson, an early Heisman hopeful, look pedestrian. The Tide defense, as opposed to truly rushing and attacking Robinson, instead set up a wall and played contain the entire game. The downside was that Robinson had time to hit a couple of deep plays, but the plays were few and far between. The amount of time that the Tide plan afforded Robinson threw Dee Milliner straight into the fire in the first game of the year. He responded with an interception and multiple pass break ups. The one bad play on his watch was a result of a slip, not a technical problem with his play.
The offense continued to maintain the balance that has been a Saban hallmark of his time at the Capstone. The Tide stacked up over 232 yards rushing and 199 passing for a total of 431 yards for the game. The score could have been far worse but after Alabama opened up a stunning 31-0 on the Wolverines, the Tide went much more conservative to finish out the game. Backups even got some playing time against Michigan in the fourth quarter.
There are many ways to send a message in the college football world. Alabama’s rousing beat down of a top 10 team on the first week sent the clearest one of all: The Tide is still rollin’ and it’s focused on Miami, the location of the 2013 BCS Title Game.