Alabama Crimson Tide: There is exactly one elite team in CFB

Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

There is one elite team in college football. It is the Alabama Crimson Tide. The situation will not change after Notre Dame and Ole Miss finish week one play.

In typical first-game fashion, every other, purportedly elite team, either lost or exposed serious weaknesses. That is not to say the Crimson Tide is the only contender for the 2021 National Championship.

The defending champion, Alabama Crimson Tide, like many other teams, has just one win in the new season. The Tide has a long way to go with another 12 games ahead of another College Football Playoff. But if the competition was a car race, the other competitors would be specks in the Tide’s rearview mirror.

Before Saturday’s schedule was complete, the rest of college football had to be worried about a smiling Nick Saban, in the Chick-fil-A post-game, trophy celebration. Nick Saban and feelings of contentment are repelling counterforces. His pursuit of perfection leaves little room for being satisfied. Despite those personal blinders, Saban enjoyed Saturday’s post-game. That should scare the rest of college football.

Alabama Crimson Tide Not a Finished Product

The 2021 Alabama Crimson Tide is not a finished product. Like many other teams, the Tide will improve after week one. Everybody else will have to improve more to have a chance to catch up.

The most improvements for the Tide need to come from its offensive line, its punter and to a small degree, in its secondary. Except for the punting, the other areas were good to very good against Miami.

Everywhere else Saban’s team is elite-level solid. The linebacker, running back, tight end, and cornerback groups are filled with outstanding players. The defensive line is deep and capable. The wide receivers, as a group, are less than those of recent Saban teams. That is to say, the Tide might not have a Heisman or Biletnikoff winner in the position group. But they are good and will become very good.

Will Reichard is the best placekicker in the nation. The Groza award not being bestowed on him last season was a joke. Then there is the quarterback. Bryce Young looked like a guy who was a third-year starter. His command of the offense was outstanding. His composure and field vision were exceptional. It was just one game, but one in which Young was comparable to top performances of Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones.

What About Other Contenders?

In week one, only one other team showed it might become an elite contender. That was the Georgia Bulldogs. Kirby Smart’s defense was exceptional against Clemson. But on offense, the Dawgs are at best a work-in-progress. J.T. Daniels, despite far more college game experience than Bryce Young, looked average.

Joining Clemson as contenders who lost in week one were North Carolina and Wisconsin. Winning in varying degrees of ‘not-impressively’ were Ohio State (45-31 over Minnesota), Oklahoma (40-35 over Tulane), Texas A&M (41-10 over Kent State), Iowa State (16-10) over Northern Iowa) and Oregon (31-24 over Fresno State).

Arguments can be made over what teams deserve the ‘other’ three 2022 CFB Playoff slots. For at least now, one belongs to college football’s only elite team – the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Next. Crimson Tide Report Card vs. Miami. dark

In the context of discussing college football rankings, UCLA’s Chip Kelly had the best line Saturday, when asked if UCLA should be ranked. He said, “I don’t care.” Nick Saban would approve.