Alabama was ranked fourth in the initial College Football Playoff rankings last week, and after dismantling No. 2 LSU in Tuscaloosa, the Tide will only go higher. In fact, they will probably jump No. 3 Ohio State, which looked unimpressive in a 28-14 win against Minnesota, and settle into the 2-spot behind No. 1 Clemson.
Indeed, physically dominating LSU and stifling Leonard Fournette has a way of opening eyes.
“Alabama looked better than they have since they beat the pants off of LSU in 2013,” CBSSports.com college football writer Jerry Hinnen said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Two years ago, LSU came into the same kind of (game) – maybe not as big as the 2011 1-versus-2 game, but clearly the SEC’s game of the regular season – and Alabama beat the pants off of them a couple of years ago. AJ MaCarron kind of leapt into Nick Saran’s arms, if you remember that, and they never really seemed to get the same edge from that game back at all. Last year, they had some good games at home against some lackluster teams – Texas A&M and Florida. They didn’t play the same way in their biggest games. Needed an escape against LSU, needed an escape against Auburn and of course lost to Ohio State. To me, it felt like we never quite saw that same Alabama team last year until (it played) LSU last Saturday.”
Derrick Henry rushed 38 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, Alabama rushed 55 times for 250 yards. Fournette, meanwhile, rushed 19 times for just 31 yards (1.6 yards per carry).
“That was the same (Alabama team) we saw back in 2011, 2012, most of 2013,” Hinnen said. “It was the same kind of thing where the offense basically just lined up and kicked the opponent’s ass and the defense lined up and kicked their opponent’s ass. And let me tell you: That LSU offensive line is not chopped liver. Vadal Alexander is going to play in the NFL, Ethan Pocic is one of the best centers in the country, and A’Shawn Robinson, Reggie Ragland and the rest of that front seven made them look silly. I feel bad for Leonard Fournette, honestly. Everybody is saying, ‘He’s out of the Heisman race, he’s not the frontrunner anymore, Derrick Henry is,’ this kind of stuff. It’s not Fournette’s fault. The guy had no room to breathe. He was buried by four or five guys as soon as he took the handoff every time. Alabama was just that dominant on both lines of scrimmage, and LSU honestly never had a chance the way Alabama played in that games. Right now, No. 2 is certainly where Alabama’s resume maybe stacks up.”