Alabama is the best team in college football, as demonstrated with a 52-6 obliteration of the thing we were told was No. 20 USC.
USC doesn't lose by 46 a lot. It was the Trojans' first game without a touchdown since 1997, their biggest loss since 1966, and their worst season-opening loss of all time.
The game was supposed to be one of the highlights of what ESPN was calling "THE BEST OPENING WEEKEND IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY," a showdown of marquee programs in the stadium that hosts especially opulent national title games. It looked more like a standard season opener against North Pentucky Tech.
But it wasn't a 60-minute throttling. For about 25 minutes, Alabama actually looked befuddled.
The Crimson Tide's first five possessions ended in four punts and a fumble. Quarterback Blake Barnett was off, and Nick Saban turned to freshman QB Jalen Hurts, a player he had previously stated would not be a part of Bama's two-man QB rotation. Hurts fumbled on his first college play from scrimmage, a simple option keeper.
Halfway through the second quarter, USC led the defending champs, 3-0.
And then a few minutes later, USC kicked Alabama in the penis:
That was USC senior defensive end Jabari Ruffin kicking Alabama sophomore defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick right in the nuts. He was immediately ejected from the game.
Two plays after this, USC threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Under five minutes later, Alabama had scored a second touchdown.
Eight minutes later, Alabama had scored a third touchdown.
In June, Draymond Green thwacked LeBron James in the penis, and then the Cavaliers won three of the next four games and became the first team ever to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. Saturday night, we once again found out that karma — or the sheer vengeful willpower of a team whose genitalia has been needlessly assaulted —will haunt those who hurt groins.
I firmly believe the dickstomp is the play that turned the Tide.
|--||Pre-Dickstomp Bama||Post-Dickstomp Bama|
|Yards Per Play||4.83||12.88|
Alabama went from hesitant to unstoppable. We knew Hurts had the potential to be a brilliant QB for Bama, but after his iffy debut, it seemed he might not be fully ready. But with the switches all flipped, he looked juuuuuuust fine piloting a team as hypertalented as he is.
And USC was eminently stoppable. While the Trojans' first two drives went for 90 yards, their last 14 drives went for 104 yards.
To summarize: Alabama looked lost for three-eighths of a football game. Saban either didn't know who he wanted at quarterback or intentionally carried a press conference lie through about a quarter of football just to throw opponents off the scent.
And the Tide still handed the country's second-best recruiter a historically lopsided loss.
Alabama is terrifying even when it's minimally motivated. Angry Bama is a whole other thing.
Saban is one of those supervillains who doesn't even display emotion when committing heinous crimes, and Bama is often content to cruise over the corpses of lesser opponents.
But Saturday night, the Tide had reasons to be mad. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin already wanted revenge against a school that fired him in an airport parking lot, and he'd end up calling passes well into the fourth quarter.
And then USC went and stomped on a Bama player's junk, and, well, from there on out, it was game over.