One Title Down, History Ahead: Alabama 32, Florida 13

It's tempting with a game like this to try to find something profound to say, some secret or unnoticed reason for an outcome that few expected. But there's nothing like that in this game. The better team won.

Alabama was better in just about every way on Saturday. They rang up 490 yards of total offense against a team that was statistically the best in the nation. They limited the hyped spread offense to 335 yards even as they allowed Tim Tebow to throw for 246 and run for 63. They played largely mistake-free football, called for just one penalty and avoiding turnovers. And Florida, a team that had often relied on superior talent and opponents' errors to go 12-0 in the regular season, had no response.

Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram and the rest of the offense will get a lot of credit for the win -- as they should. But the defense also changed the course of the game early in the second half. Florida gained nine yards on its first drive and 12 on its second; the Alabama offense followed each of those drives with a score. Suddenly, an evenly-matched 19-13 game in Alabama's favor was 32-13. Florida didn't have the time to come back.

That was the brilliance of what Alabama did on offense. Three of the Crimson Tide's drives included a dozen or more plans; five of them spanned eight or more snaps. Alabama finished the game with a nearly 20-minute edge in time of possession.

I have no idea what Urban Meyer says to his players now. When you make the goal of your season a 14-0 campaign to win the national title, what do you do when you're resoundingly defeated one game short? On what motivation do you draw to win the Sugar Bowl?

Alabama's goal was reportedly simpler: Win the SEC. If Florida was the team they had to defeat to get there, exacting revenge for last year, even better. But the league crown was the thing.

Now they have it. All that's left is to make history.

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