Alabama Football: A little perspective heading into the season

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Some thoughts and historical perspective for Alabama football fans on putting 2018 and a stunning national championship loss behind us.

Take note Alabama football fans, this post violates multiple tenets of today’s world of sports journalism. Feel free to ignore them. First, the heading above mentions history. In the social media-driven immediacy of today’s world, references to the past (history) are a virtual taboo.

Another risky suggestion is labeling this post an opinion piece. Some in today’s world confuse opinions and facts, others believe facts are so malleable, they are the same as opinions. Many, and rightfully so, are not interested in the opinions of anyone but widely recognized experts. Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News is one of those respected experts. No one will ever confuse me for Cecil Hurt.

Still here? Great, let’s move on. Another expert, whose only similarity to me is he has been around for decades, is Kirk McNair. His professional home is now 247Sports and one of his recent columns got my attention.

Measured by seasons when Alabama football played seven or more games, the Crimson Tide has had only 11 seasons with a losing record. Eleven seasons of losing football from well over 100 seasons of competition is an extraordinary record.

McNair did not mention how the Tide’s winning proficiency stacks up against other top programs. My guess is only a very few (maybe none) of college football’s elite can match the Crimson Tide.

What does this have to do with a 2018 national championship loss? To me, it is all about perspective. I have been around long enough to have suffered through five of those losing seasons. I did not connect with Alabama football until 1959, at the age of eight. Which means I have no personal memory of 1954-1957 when the Crimson Tide went 8-29.

But I remember clearly all the losing seasons since: 5-6 in 1984; 4-7 in 1997; 3-8 in 2000; 4-9 in 2003 and 6-7 in 2006.

It is that ‘historical’ perspective that leads me to not get too churned up by the 2018 national championship beatdown. What Alabama football has achieved under Nick Saban is so odds-defying, a surprise bigger than the loss to Clemson is it not having happened before.

It was a bad loss but it was only one game. Two or three seasons from now, we can better define what that one loss meant. But not now, and to me, it meant on a given night the Crimson Tide lost to a better prepared, very good football team. Nothing more.

Top Tide Linebackers from the last 30 years. dark. Next

Call me a homer if you wish, though in most of what I write I strive to not earn that label. But, I am confident future Crimson Tide glories lie ahead.