Steve Spurrier has suggested Alabama might be good enough to defeat an NFL team.
"Alabama's got a great team and Nick [Saban] is a fantastic coach," Carroll said, "but when you match up the interior lines against regular NFL teams on either side of the ball, it wouldn't even be close."
Athletic prodigies occasionally flourish in the professional ranks. LeBron James was 18 years old when he had 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists and four steals in his NBA debut.
In the NFL, rules prohibit players from participating until they're at least three years removed from high school. It's generally thought athletes aren't ready for the physical pounding until they're older. Rookies face adjustment periods. Even the best ones can appear lost during the first days of training camp.
The majority of players on Alabama's roster will likely never play in the NFL. It is absurd, then, to think those players would defeat a roster filled with players who are, by definition, good enough to play in the league.
For fun, I've put together a chart showing 2012 NFL draft choices from Alabama. There were eight, including four first-rounders. Injuries have sidelined three of them. Four others have played quite a bit. Another pick, fullback/tight end Brad Smelley, is on the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.
We'll have to wait and see if Alabama produces 22 rookie starters, three full-time specialists and some core special-teams players for NFL teams in 2013. Kind of thinking not.