ARLINGTON, Texas - Everything's a little bit bigger here in Texas. I should know - I lived in Texas and covered high school football here for three years.
But if you're the Michigan football team, then everything this weekend was a little more overwhelming. Including an import from another state - the Alabama football team.
There was no room to underestimate the Crimson Tide. Not as the defending national champions, not with a strong, smart and mobile quarterback in A.J. McCarron and not with a group of versatile backs who seemed to rotate in and out, including T.J. Yeldon, who led all backs with 111 yards on 11 carries, Jalston Fowler and Eddie Lacy.
"It's amazing," Alabama left guard Chance Warmack said. "We've got different guys who can bring something different to that table ... and they're always willing to score a touchdown."
And not with a defense whose goal was to contain Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. While Robinson finished with 200 yards on 11 of 26 completions, he was intercepted twice and unable to create much on the run, finishing with 27 yards on 10 carries. Ditto for Michigan's backfield, which finished with 69 yards on 29 carries. It seemed like a sizeable task - maybe a Texas-sized task - for the Tide, against a player billed in the preseason as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
"He is a great athlete," Alabama defensive back Vinnie Sunseri said. "We knew we had to contain him in the pocket because of his ability to extend plays."
Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson succinctly described Alabama's tactics against Robinson.
"Just try to get him less comfortable in the pocket," Johnson said. "That's it. [We] tried to rattle him early and just get to him."
Obviously, it worked.
Signing off from Arlington, as I have a 6:10 a.m. flight out of DFW in about, oh, six hours. Everything in Texas seems a little earlier, too.