JOE BIDDLE: Bama flexes its muscle

(Photo: WKRN)

Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher publicly came to this conclusion last season: Top to bottom the Atlantic Coast Conference is better than the SEC.

It was heresy to slander the widely recognized SEC football programs.

Everyone knows the ACC is known for basketball and rightly so.

Their teams play in shorts inside a comfortable environ.

But what Jimbo forgot was that in the SEC, “It just means more.’’ The SEC teams pound on each other every week. They bang helmets at full speed.

So when No. 3 ranked Florida State hooked up with top-ranked Alabama Saturday you could just see it coming. It had been 10 years since these two teams played.

It ended 24-7.

Kissing cousins they will never be.

Sure they have strong ties. Jimbo Fisher was an assistant on Nick Saban’s staff.

You knew it was going to be a close game on the scoreboard. Alabama took a narrow 10-7 lead at halftime. It was still too close to call.

The two staffs retired to their corners at halftime. They were making adjustments on both sides of the ball.

The winner would be the team that minimized mistakes. It would be the team that made more big plays. The first half was pretty much a draw.

It was a game played in the trenches. Florida State was no stranger to these type challenges but Alabama clearly won on offense, defense and special teams.

Early in the third quarter Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis came bearing down at full speed, trying to cause Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois permanent nightmares, you knew neither team was going to cry, “Uncle.’’

Davis is a 6-7, 306-pound quarterback-eating defensive lineman. Francois is a 6-1, 205 sophomore.

Fortunately for him, Francois dodged an obituary.

Alabama soon put a chip-shot field goal on the scoreboard to put the lead at 13-7 late in the third quarter.

The Crimson Tide made the play of the game on special teams. They forced a FSU fumble on a kickoff, setting Bama up at the 11-yard line. Running back Damien Harris got two good blocks and sprinted up the middle that at the time was a game changer.

The Tide was on top 21-7 with only the final 15 minutes for FSU to catch up.

It looked bleak for the Seminoles. Eleven points in 13 seconds will do that.

Alabama kept the hammer down. Turnovers mounted, killing any thoughts of a miracle rally.

Based on this game, perhaps unfairly, the SEC’s Crimson Tide flexed its muscle for all to see. It proved for the time being, Alabama is the best team in college football.

We have known for years that Nick Saban is the best coach in college football.

It just means more.

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at