Alabama Football: 2020 a return to normalcy or shifting sands in CFB

If Alabama football is perceived as just one of college football’s elite teams, how close is the Tide to being the ‘most elite’ again?

In the middle of a dynastic run, Alabama football coach said clearly, ”success is not a continuum, it’s momentary.” Crimson Tide fans expressed appreciation for the head coach’s sagacity. However, using Saban’s knowledge as preparation for slipping from the mountaintop of college football was beyond the grasp of most Crimson Tide fans.

We were in for a rude awakening. And we got it. Clemson provided the first deep jolt. The National Championship failure was a prelude to the 2019 season of shortcomings. It was not just failing to make the CFB Playoff field. It was the awareness in late November the Crimson Tide did not deserve to be in the four-team field.

The 2019 injuries were devastating. Did they magnify or create team weaknesses? The 2020 season will be looked at for an answer. What is known is finishing No. 8 in the nation and losing to Auburn for the second time in three seasons falls WAY short of Crimson Tide expectations.

The rest of the college football world revels in a perceived Crimson Tide comeuppance. There are more preseason rankings listing Ohio State or Clemson as No. 1 than those picking Alabama football at the top. Bama Hammer’s own, Zachary Mangum, in his preseason Top 25, picked Clemson and Ohio State as No. 1 and No. 2.

It appears ESPN’s programming executives have an even lower opinion of the 2020, Alabama Crimson Tide. This spring’s A-Day game will not be broadcast in its entirety. In fact, full game viewing will only be available through a digital stream. Otherwise, ESPN will offer whiparound coverage of multiple games. Many Alabama football fans are offended by the programming decision and rightfully so.

Stepping back from an aggrieved position, there is an unaccustomed opportunity for the Alabama football program. Fans, players and coaches have something to prove in 2020. The incentives are there for a renewed vigor, quickly leading the program back to being the ‘most elite’ in college football.

Back when Nick Saban was telling all, about there being no continuum for success, he was also warning about complacency.

… sometimes you lose your humility a little bit, you get a little complacent. That kind of creates a blatant disregard for doing what’s right and you start developing bad habits. You don’t practice, you don’t prepare, you don’t do things the way you need to do them or the way you have been doing them, and then you play somebody really good and you get exposed a little bit.

After getting exposed a little bit (maybe more than a little bit), the successful response is to go back to work. Then work, harder, smarter and longer. That is where Alabama football is heading going into spring practice. And perhaps not being fully appreciated brings added urgency to those tasks.

Next: Redshirts who can breakthrough in '20

Crimson Tide fans might want to line up a good streaming feed to see all the Mac vs. Bryce, A-Day battle. Plus seeing every spring game snap from a healthy Trey Sanders, a re-tooled wide receiver group and a rebuilt secondary.

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