NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram is one of the faces of the team, and one of its brightest personalities. He’s also a huge fan of his alma mater, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and he has some thoughts on their hypothetical chances against the pros.
The question comes up every year, or at least every time the Buffalo Bills throw for fewer touchdowns (5) than Army’s triple option offense (6): could Alabama beat an NFL team? Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban has invested millions in booster funds to build a collegiate juggernaut, mimicking NFL teams in every way with the best coaching, equipment, facilities, and everything else. Is it enough to compete with grown men who play this sport for a living?
When asked by SI.com, Ingram was less-boastful than some of his younger colleagues like Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland, who insisted Alabama could make it to the NFL playoffs. Ingram acknowledged that the NFL is a different challenge than college football, even the SEC, and that “Even the worst team has the best players from every college.”
But in the end, the Saints Pro Bowl running back had to give his home team some credit:
“We were more physical, take your will from you (when I played). How they spread it out, run and pass it around (now), would have a better chance. Our best team would win more than one game. Sixteen weeks with an Alabama team and Coach Saban? We’d win at least once. I can’t say we’d whoop on the worst teams in the league, but we’d win.”
Is he right? How would the Crimson Tide handle a 16-game schedule against the NFL?
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