In football, as in politics, a blue wave — the one sweeping through the Big House, not the House — will only take you so far.
Because waiting in the other corner is the incumbent in red with the elephant mascot.
We’re talking, of course, about the Alabama Crimson Tide.
With due respect, no, Michigan, you don’t want Bama. Neither do you, Ohio State.
This year, nobody does.
It is a bit presumptuous to suggest the rest of college football is playing out the string. Things happen. But with each passing week, as Alabama immolates one team after another, the season is taking on less suspense than an East German election.
Candidate A: Alabama.
Candidate B: Alabama.
Thanks for voting, everyone!
For all of us who wondered what would happen if Nick Saban — winner of five of the past nine national titles — ever caught a break and landed a big-time, air-it-out quarterback, here is our answer: It is the cheat code for Level 1,000.
Heaven help us.
The rise of postseason-hero-turned-Heisman-shoo-in Tua Tagovailoa has unlocked a new degree of dominance, elevating Alabama’s workmanlike machine into the Golden State Warriors of autumn.
Fresh off a 29-0 win at third-ranked LSU, the unbeaten Tide have trailed for all of three plays this season and are averaging 268.9 yards per game — and 37.2 points — more than their opponents.
That’s on track with some of the best teams ever, including Miami in 2001, which, for our money, takes the cake in the modern era. The champion Hurricanes that year — with a roster that included 17 future first-round NFL picks — averaged only 180.8 yards more than the other guys.
One NFL scout told us he can’t see another team coming within single digits of the Tide, let alone beating them. Same with a top Vegas bookmaker.
Get this: Ohio State has not been an underdog since its 2014 title run. In a hypothetical neutral-site game against Alabama, we’re informed the Tide would be a 21-point favorite.
Other speculative lines are no less goofy. Bama would be favored by nine points against No. 2 Clemson, 21 against No. 3 Notre Dame, and 14½ against No. 4 Michigan.
“In my 16 years as a bookmaker, I have never seen a team be such a significant favorite,” said Kevin Bradley, the sportsbook manager at Bovada. “To be honest, nothing even really comes close.”
So, can anyone wash away the Tide?
Sure. Stupid-face columnists do not decide these games, teenagers do. Nobody thought 2002 Miami or 2005 USC could be felled, and the Buckeyes and Texas did just that.
Perhaps Clemson could hang. Or Michigan, on account of a national-best defense that would not be shoved around up front. (Now, the Wolverines moving the ball is another story.)
Don’t entirely write off Ohio State, either. If the switch ever flipped on, the Buckeyes have the talent, not to mention a coach who lives to play the disrespect card. A psychology major, Urban Meyer is 6-0 as an underdog at OSU.
Still, this season sure has the feel of a crimson coronation, the fans who clamor for a shot at the Tide becoming the hold-me-back guys of college football.
We want Bama!
Are you sure about that?
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