Coming off a season which produced a National Championship, eight selections in the NFL Draft and one of the top-ranked defenses of all time, Alabama faced the challenge of finding an identity independent of the successful teams of the past. How simple it could be for this team to get lost in shadow of the 2011 squad.
But with a 41-14 thrashing of the eighth-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night, the message that Alabama is still a force to be reckoned with was sent, and the college football world had no choice but to listen.
Eric Prisbell of USA Today writes that Alabama has no intentions of drifting out of the spotlight.
"It shows the nation that this is not the complacent Alabama that people were expecting," fifth-year senior offensive lineman Barrett Jones said. "We're hungry...And we're coming for another championship."
The Crimson Tide got started early, dominating in every facet of the game, eventually leading 31-0 with three minutes remaining in the first half. After the final whistle and the score reading 41-14, head coach Nick Saban was pleased with the performance, but, writes Tom Spousta of the New York Times, he still believes the team has plenty to prove before they can again identify themselves as a dominant college force.
"This team had a challenge of trying to create an identity for themselves in terms of how they competed and how they played. And I think they took a step in that direction," said Saban, who nonetheless was quick with a caveat: "But, that is something that happens over time and happens with consistency and performance."
With Alabama only two weeks away from beginning the gauntlet of the SEC schedule, this season opener may soon serve as nothing more than a footnote for the 2012 season. But for a football team thirsty for recognition, dominating a top-10 team was a good way to grab the nation's attention.
For more on Alabama and Michigan, please be sure to check out our blogs Roll Bama' Roll and Maize n' Brew, respectively, along with our College Football Hub and SB Nation for all the latest news and updates.