Good news: Alabama Crimson manager announce a superstar return…

Don’t look now, but Nick Saban’s latest team at Alabama is a serious contender for the national title.

If you’re looking for a game, a quarter, a sequence in the 2023 college football season in an effort to pinpoint when the rest of college football suddenly went Uhoh” about the Alabama Crimson Tide, it happened Saturday morning.

Granted, the last two wins against Tennessee and LSU were both impressive, but this was different. Before high noon struck, the home crowd at Kentucky was already at an emotional low as Alabama was clearly playing at a different level. In the process, Nick Saban’s team took another step in its evolution this season, and showed exactly just how far it’s already come this fall,

The story of the 2023 team was never going to be one of superstars, or of a team that rode the coattails of its predecessors. With nearly all of the key people involved new, both among players an coordinators, Alabama had to find its way and develop over the long haul.

Man, has it ever. Granted, the aim all along was the same as usual, for the Crimson Tide to be playing its best football following the bye week, in November. Not only is this team doing exactly that, but everyone can see that the upward trajectory can continue for a while. That’s the mark of a team that has to be taken seriously as a strong contender.

How many ways can Alabama beat you? A lot, and the Crimson Tide is only adding to the list.

For example: How good does the offensive line look now? It didn’t give up a sack while Alabama amassed well over 400 yards in the 49-21 victory.

Only two significant things didn’t go Alabama’s way at Kroger Field, and the first wasn’t much of a setback.

1) Sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe suffered what appeared to be a painful thigh injury that had him hobbling the rest of the day. Yet he was still part of six touchdowns, three passing and three rushing.

“It hurt,” he said before praising his team’s overall performance during its first game since Oct. 7.

2) Kool-Aid McKinstry had another mistake while trying to field a punt return. The muff resulted in a turnover.

With 4:13 to go in the second quarter, not only did it give Kentucky the ball for the first time in Alabama territory, but at that point the Wildcats had just 3 yards of total offense.

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Their offensive line got run over on a third-down blitz to end the first possession, and the second came to a quicker end when sophomore cornerback Terrion Arnold knocked the ball loose that nearly resulted in a scoop-and-score by freshman safety Caleb Downs. Instead, Milroe subsequently pushed his way into the end zone for an early 21-point lead.

Kentucky did score off the punt mishap, Tayvion Robinson on a well-executed 6-yard touchdown reception that the secondary didn’t play correctly, but it had the feel of the Wildcats knowing that would be their biggest highlight of the day. Alabama was on a roll. The kind that can extend well beyond a game.

It wasn’t so much what the scoreboard indicated at that point, rather how Alabama was executing. It had an unstoppable attitude, a swagger fans haven’t seen in a while. The Crimson Tide came out hot and took immediate control of the game like the Kentucky mascot Scratch had tried to lift his leg on Miss Terry.

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