Nick Saban says Texas A&M is ‘by far’ strongest team Tide has played to this point, not FSU

On Monday, Alabama coach Nick Saban explained in great detail why Texas A&M stands as the toughest test yet for his No. 1 Crimson Tide.

“By far.”

Those are his words, according to SEC Country’s Marq Burnett, which had to have raised an eyebrow from a man he’s very familiar with down in Tallahassee.

Coach Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles’ season has not gone as planned after their much-hyped matchup against the Tide. Florida State entered the season ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll, making it the highest-ranked team to play an AP No. 1 in a season opener.

Florida State only trailed 10-7 before Alabama eventually began pulling away near the end of the third quarter. FSU starting QB Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending injury in the fourth quarter of that eventual 24-7 loss, which has clearly derailed the school’s season.

Here’s what Saban had to say:

“Texas A&M is the strongest team that we’ve played to this point, looking at them from a holistic standpoint. They’re a very explosive offensive team. They run the ball very effectively. They’ve got really good running backs. Christian Kirk is maybe the most explosive player — returner, receiver, runner —of anybody in our league. Offensively, tough to run against.

“They create a lot of negative plays. They’ve got good pass rushers. John Chavis always does a good job of playing very aggressive, physical football. Because of Christian Kirk being a fantastic returner, these guys are very dangerous on special teams. So this is by far, I think, the strongest team that we’ve played to this point all the way around. This is certainly going to be a big challenge for us in a division game on the road.”

Since then, Florida State (1-2) fell in a 27-21 upset at home to N.C. State before surviving in a 26-19 win at Wake Forest. The ‘Noles haven’t been ranked in the AP Top 25 in each of the previous polls that have been released.

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