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Alabama Crimson Tide 35, Virginia Tech Hokies 10: Alabama Dents the Scoreboard and Their Perception

Alabama won by four scores against Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon. So why did the Tide's performance feel so thoroughly unimpressive?

Kevin C. Cox

As of this writing, Oregon State has lost to Eastern Washington out of the FCS. Kansas State was dropped by North Dakota State on Friday. And South Florida is facing perhaps the worst fate of them all, getting clobbered 53-21 by McNeese State after a 31-point second quarter.

So winning is an accomplishment. Winning keeps you alive in college football. Winning cannot be overrated.

Still, there was something about Alabama's 35-10 win against Virginia Tech tonight that felt more than a little underwhelming. The score was impressive, sure, and the game got out of hand so quickly that there was never a real chance the Hokies would win. Particularly not with Logan Thomas indicating that 2012's performance might have been the real Logan Thomas after all -- he was 5-of-26 for 59 yards and an interception, giving him a passer rating of 30.60, which is pathetic (to put it kindly).

Here are the facts: Alabama gained 206 yards of total offense. Three of their touchdowns were on special teams or defense, all of which still counted for this game, but which might not speak well of the sustainability of what Alabama did today. A.J. McCarron was 10-of-24 for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Tide ran for 2.5 yards per carry and picked up 96 yards total. Were it not for Christion Jones, the Tide might have been in a much tighter game than they were.

What does that mean for Alabama going forward? Well, for starters, Nick Saban has something to harp on for the next two weeks as his team prepares to take on Texas A&M. There might be a part of him that is quietly happy tonight that he has an argument against complacency.

This, though, was not the performance of a team on a glide path to the national championship. That doesn't mean that anyone should take Alabama lightly, of course; to do so would be foolish. You still have to favor the Tide to take home their third straight national title and continue their dynasty for at least another year.

But Saturday evening in the Georgia Dome seemed to show just how narrow their margin is. We will soon find out if that was simply a hiccup in the opener, or if the unstoppable juggernaut has no clothes.