LSWho? The best team in America, as Alabama learns
Alabama always passes the eye test.
It’s a tradition, fueled off a historic run under Nick Saban. So what if Alabama’s 2019 schedule to date had been laughable?
Wouldn’t matter. Until it did.
Oh, how it mattered Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Playing with a chip on its shoulder, second-ranked LSU turned the latest rendition of the Game of the Century into a knockdown, smoking the Crimson Tide (ranked first in the USA Today Coaches Poll and a touchdown favorite) 46-41.
This was about an LSU program being ready for the moment due to three Top 10 wins long before touching down in Tuscaloosa.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had a perfect, 13 of 13 start. He also completed his final two passes of the first half, as LSU scored twice in the final 26 seconds to turn a tight game into a 20-point lead.
LSU was primed. Alabama was exposed, at least for a half, before making a furious run.
The problem for Alabama was the hole it dug at the start. Alabama’s first drive ended with Tua Tagovailoa fumbling the ball — without contact. It was the first of a myriad of miscues, including a botched punt snap, too many men on the field and the obligatory missed point after in rapid succession.
It went deeper than that.
LSU was the better team Saturday, something that should be reflected in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings release. LSU passes the eye test and the performance test, and it did so while exorcising the demons of eight straight losses to the Crimson Tide.
Don’t put all the blame on the schedule. Or the ankle injury to Tagovailoa, which was obvious although he soldiered through spectacularly. LSU was simply better. The way Alabama used to be.
LSU had the healthier quarterback — Burrow should be the prohibitive Heisman Trophy favorite.
Finally, the injuries and the NFL departures have caught up to Alabama. And LSU has raced past.
This wasn’t just a victory. This was a tectonic shift.
LSU is worthy of the accolades. And Alabama, only thanks to its second-half response, will need a last-minute reprieve to return to the playoffs.