The question seems commonplace nowadays with the emergence of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s unparalled dominance of Division I college football. At about this time in the fall, pundits love to ask whether or not Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide could compete with and even defeat the lowliest of the National Football League teams.
This season, the punchline professional team is the Buffalo Bills, who have been slated as a 28.5 point favorite over the Crimson Tide by Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Bills were chosen by being near
the NFL basement at 2-7 and
sending out an offense that has only scored one touchdown in three games.
Alabama on the other hand sits at the top of
the college football world. The Tide have rolled to a perfect 9-0 record. The closest margin of
victory was a 22-point win over Texas A&M. Just last week, Alabama decimated then No. 3 LSU 29-0 on the road in Baton Rouge.
The Tide also have possibly the best quarterback in their history. Tua Tagovailoa has a 68 percent completion percentage. He’s thrown 27 touchdowns and only one interception. They have two running backs averaging over six yards per carry and five different receivers with over 400 yards receiving.
The Alabama defense is as good as its ever been, holding teams to just 296.7 total yards per game.
There is no disputing that Alabama is an elite college football program. Arguably the best ever. But, even the greatest college football teams would get decimated by the professionals.
Firstly, not all of Alabama’s players are NFL-caliber. Not all of their players make it pro and even get to the level of the last players on the Bills depth chart.
Last year, 12 players from Alabama were drafted, but seven of them were after the third round. These are the best seniors of an excellent Alabama draft class, yet all 32 of the NFL teams passed them over for three straight rounds.
For the Bills themselves, they have still beaten two professional teams in the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans. Would Alabama beat those teams too? Certainly not.
It’s not a question of whether the Bills would beat Alabama, but by how much. I would be stunned if a team of professional athletes playing against college players between the ages of 18-22 even had a competitive game going into the second half.
Alabama’s a great college football team, but they would be severely outmatched against an NFL team, especially within the trenches.
Considering the linemen of Alabama would be going up against 30-year olds with years of NFL experience, it seems likely that the Bills rushing attack would have plenty of open holes to run through. Also, the Bills’ struggling quarterbacks might never face a dangerous pass rush all game long.
Over the years, this question has been poised and I will always have the same answer. The pros will win and it may get ugly. I’m talking 77-0 ugly. Not just the Bills would dominate. The winless Cleveland Browns of 2017 and 2008 Detroit Lions would also dominate the best of college football.
I think it’s time to give this tired hypothetical showdown a rest.
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.