| FTBL Crimson Tide showing signs of the past...Good read




ATLANTA — Fast forward, please.

Nov. 29. Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Iron Bowl. The place is rocking, a lot like the Georgia Dome was the last Saturday night of the summer.

All Bama. All night long.

In this glimpse into the future, Alabama football has been restored to its Crimson glory. We are less than two years into this grand Nick Saban experiment, and the most powerful coach in the land, according to no less authority than Forbes magazine, has his boys knocking Auburn around.

You know the drill. Beating 'em off the ball. Beating 'em in the defensive line. A stable of good running backs moving the chains in workmanlike fashion.

Just plain, ol' beating them the way it was back in the day.

Back when Bama owned Auburn and the rest of the college football world. The good, old days, Bama folks say, even if those were a generation ago. It was back before Auburn found Tommy Tuberville and the combination to Alabama's vault for six consecutive years.

It can't happen, huh? Not even St. Nick can turn this train around -- the same train that wrecked late last season at the Louisiana-Monroe cross roads -- that fast.

This just in: The train's a turning, boys.

Just ask Tommy's Tigers. Opps. Wrong Tommy. Wrong Tigers.

Back in the real world. Alabama, picked to finish in the middle of the Southeastern Conference pack, gave the proud faithful something to dream about in the season opener at the the Georgia Dome. The Tide pounded coach Tommy Bowden's Clemson Tigers 34-10. Who knows, this crowd might be good enough to be back here in December playing for the SEC title.

No doubt all of those folks headed back to the Heart of Dixie in the wee hours felt that familiar flutter of the heart of a champion, even if the title was only the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff game.

This was not some Labor Day weekend cupcake that many of college football's elite feasted on this weekend. This was the team that so-called experts have picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title. A team good enough to be ranked ninth in the preseason polls.

Heck, if you saw ESPN Gameday Saturday morning, co-host Lee Corso emphatically put on the Tiger mascot head, proclaiming Clemson would take care of business and send Alabama and the SEC packing.

Nice call, coach.

I have not been a sports writer in 12 years, and I figured out where this was going 12 minutes in. Alabama was quicker than Clemson. Stronger than Clemson. Better coached and better prepared than Clemson.

"We haven't been beat that bad physically in the last three years," Bowden said.

It looked like a Saban LSU team. It looked like a winner. It looked like Alabama of the storied past.

I know it's one night -- one game. But something felt different about this. It felt like the Alabama people grew to love -- and even hate.

Throw out a 96-yard kickoff return by C.J. Spiller to start the second half, and there was little if anything for Clemson folks to cheer about.

Is Alabama that good? Maybe Clemson's that bad.

Heck, I don't know. Get back to me in November. Maybe about Nov. 28.
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