Alabama plays with a purpose

College Football Opening Weekend Recap (1:47)

Gene Wojciechowski takes a look at the weekend’s games and what the take home lessons are. (1:47)

ARLINGTON, Texas. -- Let's pretend for a nanosecond that Michigan really was the No. 8 team in the country, and that Denard Robinson really was a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Then what does that say about No. 2 Alabama and the way it plucked the fur out of the Wolverines' season, strand by strand, Saturday evening at Cowboys Stadium? And if you're Western Kentucky, Bama's next opponent, aren't you thinking of calling in sick on Sept. 8?

The Crimson Tide didn't just beat the Wolverines, 41-14, it toyed with them. Embarrassed them. Treated them like an honorary cupcake. You didn't know if it were Michigan or DeVry Institute.

That's what Alabama can do to you. That's what happens when Bama coach Nick Saban has forever to prepare a game plan and a fish net for the previously confounding Robinson. The senior quarterback wasn't invisible, but he was inconsequential.

The Tide played like a team with a chip on its shoulder pads. Better yet, it played like it doesn't want to be a national championship one-and-done.

"We know we can play with anybody," said Bama quarterback AJ McCarron.

If Saturday night's game means anything, the Tide can play with and perhaps better than anybody. I'm not saying Saban should begin practicing how to raise a crystal football over his head, but Bama is more than capable of winning a second consecutive national title.

"Everybody's hungry," said senior linebacker Nico Johnson. "I think we're more hungry than we were last year coming into the season. We just want to go out and create an identity for this team."

Alabama isn't as good as Michigan made them out to be. But just to be clear: the Tide treated U of M like the Wolverines had insulted Bear Bryant and houndstooth. The rout was complete and indisputable.

For Gene Wojciechowski's full column, click here.