Alabama’s LSU test a confirmation: Tide playing at entirely new level

Who made the biggest declaration on Statement Saturday?

We’ll run down the list of honorable mentions. That list includes Clemson, which beat Louisville 77-16 and rushed for 492 yards. Michigan limited Penn State to 186 total yards in a 42-7 drubbing, and likely will move into the top four in the next set of College Football Playoff rankings. West Virginia went for two and the win, Notre Dame won by 10 at Northwestern and Georgia won the SEC East. Those were all impressive victories, but you already know the answer.

MORE: Alabama somehow looks scarier in LSU shutout

Alabama won at LSU 29-0 in a top-five showdown that clinched a spot in the SEC championship game. Tua Tagovailoa passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide rushed for 281 yards and two more scores. The defense limited LSU to 196 total yards at Tiger Stadium.

You can make a strong argument that was the most impressive performance under Nick Saban since Alabama took a 31-0 lead at halftime at No. 3 Georgia on Sept. 27, 2008. The Crimson Tide won that game 41-30.

This one, however, was at vaunted Tiger Stadium — a place where Alabama won the last three meetings by an average of seven points per game.

It’s a two-fronted statement that will resonate in the SEC and beyond.

As far at the SEC goes, LSU joined the list of 11 SEC schools Alabama has defeated by 28 points or more on the road since Saban arrived in 2008. Here is a look at the worst home loss by each of those schools to Alabama in that time frame:

Texas A&M and South Carolina are the only two schools that haven’t lost to Alabama by more than 28 points since 2007 (South Carolina beat the Tide in Columbia in 2010 and Texas A&M didn’t join the conference until 2012), and the Crimson Tide get both teams on the road next season. With Saturday’s victory, Alabama improved to 41-7 in SEC road games under Saban, including a 17-6 record against ranked SEC teams on the road.

MORE: Takeaways from Alabama’s win over LSU

This, somehow, isn’t even the most-impressive part. The Crimson Tide swept their road conference games for the seventh time under Saban. Here is a look at the average margin of victories in those games (in descending order):

This team is outpacing every one of Saban’s previous teams, includes four of Saban’s five national championship teams, the lone exception being 2017.  

LSU was supposed to be the test. It turned out to be a confirmation.

Saturday’s shutout should serve as a warning to the rest of the SEC games on Alabama’s schedule, including Georgia in the SEC championship game. The same could be said of potential College Football Playoff matchups for any team that might encounter the Tide — this Tide — in this incredible season.

There are statement games. Then there are statement seasons.

Alabama had one of those games at LSU. It’s 60 percent through one of those seasons that could register forever. 

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