20-20 Hindsight: Alabama vs Virginia Tech

Not a full 12 hours have passed since the end of last night's epic clash in the Georgia Dome and I'm still feeling the lingering effects of the adrenaline blast induced by the fourth quarter. So, to calm down a little I had a pot of coffee and took a little trip around the interwebs to see what the media panjandrums are saying about the game.

Dr. Saturday, Yahoo Sports:

Based on the down-to-down, yards gained/yards allowed performance, Tech should have been blown off the field instead of taking the thing into the final minutes. Still, combine those margins with the killer instinct that produced 18 decisive points in the fourth quarter, and Alabama probably has the nation's most impressive opening-day performance for the second year in a row.

Gentry Estes, Mobile Press-Register:

The contest wasn't the defensive struggle many projected. It actually turned into a shootout with two stout yet tiring defenses in the fourth quarter, and Alabama clearly managed more firepower early and late.

Ray Glier, New York Times:

Alabama’s football team was sometimes a fast-moving train and sometimes a train wreck at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night against Virginia Tech. Skill was followed by folly, smooth jazz by sour notes... It is a different Alabama team from last year, with more speed on defense to pressure the quarterback and more variety on offense to keep opponents off balance on defense.

Chris Low, ESPN:

Alabama’s defense is for real, probably even better than last season. The Crimson Tide will almost certainly go into that Ole Miss showdown on Oct. 10 unbeaten and appear to be the class of the Western Division after such a quality win over a Top 10 team to start the season.

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News:

If this team makes as much progress from the first game to the last as it made from the first quarter to the final whistle, it just might play its final game in Pasadena - and be the last team standing.

CocknFire, Team Speed Kills:

It's possible to read far too much into the first game of any season. But we knew even before this weekend that Alabama's defense would make it difficult for the rest of the SEC West to catch up. If Alabama's offensive performance at the end of Saturday's game was any indication, their division rivals don't even stand a chance.

Steve Eubanks, FOX Sports:

It wasn't emphatic. In fact, it wasn't even pretty. And unlike last year's season-opening drubbing of Clemson, Saturday's 34-24 win No. 5 Alabama posted against No. 7 Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome isn't likely to boost the Tide's confidence and springboard the team to greatness. But Nick Saban and company weren't looking at this game as a launching pad. They were looking for a win, and they were looking for answers. The night in Atlanta was a success on both of those fronts.

Mark Schlabach, ESPN:

Even if its opening performance didn't come close to being flawless, Alabama showed it's still the team to beat in the SEC West. And if No. 1 Florida is going to play for its third BCS national title in four seasons, the Gators might very well have to beat the Crimson Tide in Atlanta again.

Cory McCarney, Sports Illustrated:

With 498 total yards, it seems there's no lack of offense in Tuscaloosa. The Tide still have a punishing ground game and an offensive line that can open up holes for the deep running back corps. On the surface, this year's Tide don't look like they've lost much of what made them the nation's No. 1 for five weeks last season.

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports:

The Question had been answered in the space of one up-and-down season opener: Was this the team that started 12-0 and was No. 1 for five weeks or was it the one that lost to Florida and Utah to end the season?... They're still Alabama. Shaky, at times, but still with the same conviction that allowed it to rise to the top of college football in Nick Saban's second season.

Chuck Williams, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

Still, you sense there could be something special brewing in Tuscaloosa. How special? Who knows? But this third edition of the Nick Saban era — yes, it’s starting to look like the beginnings of an era — could signal the road back to a string of conference and national championships might not be far off.

Sekou Smith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

No one has coined a catchy phrase like "Beamerball" for the brand of football Nick Saban has instilled in the program at Alabama. Win a few more games like they did Saturday night, though, and surely someone will come up with something that has a ring to it.
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