The Alabama team everyone expected

This was the Alabama football team experts and fans expected. We saw glimpses of it during 2010. The domination of Penn State and Florida were examples. However, there were many examples of incomplete games—games where Alabama missed the wakeup call (or maybe even the bus to the game.) This time Alabama played 60 minutes.

New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl was a definitive moment in the development of the 2011 Alabama football team. Players throughout the roster contributed—particularly on defense. This bodes well for next season’s squad. Of course, the biggest question on next year’s roster will be the quarterback. We do not have a definitive answer on that (and likely won’t until fall camp.) This will make the spring an interesting time. Every word uttered by Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban will be parsed for a clue as to the next Alabama quarterback. It should be fun to watch. It will make spring interesting.

So, what was the difference today? The offensive line was there. Healthy. Something that wasn’t the case very often during the 2010 campaign. But the team seemed different on many levels. It was focused. It was tough. It was what you expect a Nick Saban football team to be.

With so many bright spots, it is hard to single out just one. However, I’ll try. Courtney Upshaw’s play was impressive. It showed just how dominate he is when healthy.

But enough of that. Fans are ready to argue over the next quarterback. You can bet those discussions are already flaring up on message boards and in family kitchens. Will it be AJ or Sims?