ATHENS, Ga. -- Really, there's not an argument no matter what the polls spew out on Sunday.
Welcome back, 'Bama. It has been a while. Too long. Almost 16 years to be exact. That long since the Crimson Tide -- back then Keith Jackson's Al-uh-bama -- was the top team in the land. Sure it's only September but open season on No. 1 started Thursday in Corvallis.
|Alabama is for real -- just ask Georgia -- and should be No. 1 in the polls. (Getty Images)|
Do the math. No. 8 Alabama was the only team to go on the road against a top 10 opponent and win, possibly posting the best victory anywhere this season.
Slick Nick earned his $4 million annual salary in one night. Without its blinker on, 'Bama just turned the corner, took out a couple of fire hydrants and laid down some rubber. It went from chasing its legacy to legitimately chasing an SEC title. Maybe more, which reminds us. That last No. 1 ranking came after the 1993 Sugar Bowl win over Miami that clinched the program's last national championship.
"I shouldn't have to tell them (voters) anything," 'Bama cornerback Javier Arenas said. "They saw the game."
That's where Saban injected his dour self into the discussion. Afterward, Mr. Happy sounded as if the biggest win of his 18-game Alabama tenure was a loss. Only Nick can extrapolate a 31-0 halftime lead to the end and determine that his team should have won 62-0. Georgia went from blackout-to-blacked out, then woke up to make it respectable.
But that's all it was -- respectable. Alabama might have shown a lack of focus in the second half, having a punt blocked and enduring 28 throws from Matthew Stafford, but the game never had that feel like it was slipping away.
"If you want to drink the Kool-Aid ..." Saban warned.
We do, the pollsters should and your fans will be waiting with pitchers of the stuff when you get off the plane in Tuscaloosa, Nick.
For the rest of the country? Sometimes you go with your gut when voting for No. 1. Sometimes it takes the butt end of a pistol, the one that should be applied to the cheekbone of every voter who doesn't move the Tide up from No. 8 with a bullet.
Even at his sternest, Saban had to admit that his program had crossed through some portal guarded by Bear Bryant.
"He was mad for five minutes," Arenas said. "Then he switched back to happy."