Nick Saban’s ode to the Alabama Crimson Tide fanbase following the BCS National Championship in 2009 still rings in my ears three years later. A little over a week after Saban led the Crimson Tide to a 37-21 win over the Texas Longhorns for Saban’s first title at Alabama, he let all the fans that showed up for the Tide’s National Championship celebration know that this wasn’t over.
“I want everybody here to know, this is not the end. This is the beginning.”
After Alabama’s 42-14 thumping of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Monday night in Miami for their third BCS Championship in the last four years, Saban’s words have never been truer.
Alabama is the toast of college football once again after their dominating performance against the previously No. 1 ranked Fighting Irish. The game was never in doubt after toe met leather and Alabama quickly marched straight down the field and scored a touchdown to go up 7-0.
After a Notre Dame three and out, Alabama go the ball back and scored again to go up 14-0. Following another Irish punt, Alabama scored a touchdown on the opening play of the second quarter to go up 21-0, and that was all she wrote.
The Crimson Tide tacked on another touchdown before the half to take a 28-0 lead that had Brian Kelly hoping Alabama wouldn’t come back out for the second half. As Brent Musburger said, if it was a prize fight, they would have called it off.
In the end, Alabama rolled to a four touchdown victory that was reminiscent of their season opening beatdown of Michigan in Dallas. The only thing different was the uniforms of the opposing team. Alabama did anything they wanted on offense with no resistance from what was supposed to be one of the best defenses in all of college football. They made Heisman trophy finalist Manti Te’o look ordinary, and made Notre Dame’s defense look average at best.
Nick Saban once again showed why he’s the best coach in all of college football. With this long to prepare for an opponent, Saban is masterful at putting together a gameplan. It was masterful last season against LSU, and even better this year against Notre Dame.
Also, this has to be considered one of Saban’s finest coaching jobs. This is far from Alabama’s most talented team under him. This team couldn’t beat last year’s team. This team couldn’t beat the 2009 team. But that doesn’t matter because this team was the best this year.
Saban said they exceeded all expectations he had for them coming into the season, and they exceeded mine as well. I thought coming into the year that we would have a really good team, but I thought the losses on defense would be too much to overcome and we would ultimately fall short of repeat bid.
And I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. Alabama repeated. They won their third national title in four years, and regardless of what Saban says, became a dynasty last night; one that is showing no signs of slowing down.
In this day and age of college football, winning three BCS National Championships in four years is incredible. It’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in the BCS era. Alabama is the first team to win three titles in four years since Nebraska did it 1994, 1995, and 1997.
The closest team to accomplishing this feat in the BCS era was Florida, who won titles in 2006 and 2008, and were undefeated coming into the 2009 title game before being routed by Alabama, who was on their way to becoming a dynasty.
Of course, Alabama has had some good fortune on their side to get to where they are right now. They got a mulligan against LSU last year, having lost to the Bayou Bengals in Tuscaloosa in overtime before avenging that loss in dominating fashion in New Orleans.
And this year, Alabama lost at home to the eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, but got back into the title hunt thanks to Oregon’s loss to Stanford and Kansas State’s loss to Baylor.
Alabama got to Miami by the narrowest of margins. They beat Georgia by five yards in the SEC Championship Game. If C.J. Mosley doesn’t tip Aaron Murray’s pass, it could have very well been the Bulldogs who walloped Notre Dame instead to continue the SEC’s streak of seven straight titles, and we wouldn’t be using the word “dynasty” about Alabama right now.
Alabama has entered uncharted territory now. This is truly a Golden Age of Alabama football. It’s never been better, not even when Paul “Bear” Bryant was pacing the sidelines in his signature Houndstooth hat.
Never in my wildest imaginations could I have imagined where Nick Saban would take this program. When he arrived in January of 2007, I had complete faith in the process and thought he would lead us back to the top of college football, but I never envisioned it would be taken this far.
Saban has restored Alabama to its rightful throne atop the college football world, and I hope all the fans are cherishing these days because you never know how long it will take to get back here. Alabama fans endured dark days after Stallings and before Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, but the skies have cleared, and the future still looks awfully bright as long as Saban remains at Alabama.
The process has proven to work time and time again, and who is going to bet against Alabama reaching the college football summit once again in 2013? The path won’t be easy, as Alabama opens the season with a neutral site game against Virginia Tech before having to travel to College Station to meet the only team to beat them this season, Texas A&M, who unfortunately will still have Johnny Manziel on their side.
That’s not to mention a date with LSU later in the season to go along with all the other Western Division opponents. Of course, Alabama does get a break with scheduling this year as they draw Tennessee and Kentucky in crossover games, avoiding Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. If Alabama makes it to Atlanta next year, however, they will almost certainly have a date with one of those teams.
Alabama is losing just nine scholarship seniors. Replacing the likes of Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, Jesse Williams, Nico Johnson and Robert Lester won’t be easy. And Alabama is expected to lose juniors Dee Milliner, Eddie Lacy and D.J. Fluker to the NFL Draft. Even then, Alabama has plenty of talent returning to Tuscaloosa for the 2013 season as Alabama looks for an unprecedented third BCS National Championship in a row and fourth in five years.
Quarterback AJ McCarron will be back along with running back. T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper on offense. C.J. Mosley will be back to lead the defense next year to go along with a bevy of other talented players.
That’s not to mention the recruiting class Alabama has coming in for 2013, which is currently ranked 4th in the nation by rivals.com, and will only go up now that Saban has a fourth ring to put on his coffee table for recruits to look at.
Saban’s pitch to recruits is simple. The last freshman class to come through Tuscaloosa and stay four years, won three national championships and two SEC Championships.
So yes, we can call Alabama football a dynasty, but this dynasty is far from finished. The only question left is: How far can this current Tide dynasty go?
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