Alabama Football: ‘Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow’

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

For the Alabama football fans who noticed, and whose response is what the … yes the title of this piece quotes T.S. Eliot.

Breathe easy, an English Literature lesson does not follow.

Why include such an imprecise phrase when discussing Alabama football? Because in an offseason when all of college football is changing from what it has been, to whatever comes next, Alabama Football, and more specifically Nick Saban have been labeled as under threat. Not so much under threat immediately, but at some future point, some suggest is soon.

The premise is made NIL and CFB free agency, in their current loosely constrained iterations, will cause Crimson Tide dominance to decay. The subtext is an aging 70-year-old man is powerless to stop it. The often stated conclusion is Nick Saban knows all this, and since for him losing is so unbearable, he will just walk away.

Most of us Alabama fans think a powerless Nick Saban walking away is hogwash. Maybe we think so because we believe Saban is more than the GOAT – he is Superman!

Lane Kiffin, known almost as much for clever phrases, as he is for coaching football, pretty much said the same thing recently.

No doubt Nick Saban got a full-belly laugh from Lane’s words. But the humor only applies to Nick ‘doubling’ his championships. No sane football mind can fail to believe Nick intends for the Alabama Crimson Tide to win another National Championship in 2022.

Beyond 2022 is where the future becomes murky.

Another recent tweet defined Alabama Crimson Tide dominance.

Let’s call the second tweet the ‘reality.’ With a nod to Mr. Eliot’s genius, we’ll call Alabama football’s future championship chances the ‘idea.’ In this case, reversing Eliot’s order, between the reality and the idea “falls the shadow.”

Alabama Football, Nick Saban and Mortality

Nick Saban may be as close to a Superman as a mortal can be, but even he cannot see into the shadow. Neither can any of us, and that includes Lane Kiffin, who for all his creative thinking and past miscues, has come to understand limits. Lane knows there is no forever – not even for the GOAT.

Will the changes in college football bring the Crimson Tide crashing down, not long before, or soon after a Nick Saban exit from the game? As T.S. Eliot knew – we cannot know the answer.

dark. Next. Playoff history shows every season six or fewer teams contend

Plenty of people in the college football world are pretending they know what will happen. They don’t. Their predictions on Nick Saban’s and Alabama Football’s future are best ignored. For the record, the words from T.S. Eliot are from his poem, The Hollow Men.