Since Nick Saban's retirement announcement on Jan. 10, the college football world has had a bull market in Bama Bashing. Many dire predictions have been made akin to, in Tuscaloosa, 'The Sky is Falling' to the 'Crimson Tide is down and out and will never get up.'
It is understandable why some of the naysayers are having so much fun. For most of 16 seasons, the Nick Saban - Alabama Football Era was the 'Death Star' that other fanbases either feared or hated - or both.
Six National Championships in 12 seasons! The success eclipsed all the earlier, greatest runs in college football history. Alabama Football will never have another run like it - and neither will any other college football program.
College football now has the worst form of free agency in professional sports. Yes, the game is coached, and now played by professionals. That statement is accurate for at least the top half of the FBS. Maybe the game will become better than ever before, but no program will ever again dominate as did Nick Saban's Alabama program.
Alabama Football is a new world for Kalen DeBoer
A week ago, Kalen DeBoer walked into a new world. It can be argued taking a Washington team to the National Championship Game was a major feat. It was a significant accomplishment for the Washington program, Kalen DeBoer, his staff, and his players. But where DeBoer coaches today is something else. The SEC world is different in intensity, in the passions of fans, in the quality of its athletes, and in its battles on and off the gridiron.
Maybe a few Big Ten programs have some basis to disagree, but the SEC is the top level of college football. It is the top level and no other grouping of teams comes close. We know that because in the BCS and CFP eras, 26 National Championships have been won. SEC teams have won 15. As every Bama fan knows seven of the 15 were won by Nick Saban teams.
How can Kalen DeBoer or anyone successfully follow such history? No one can - not to an equal level of extraordinary success. As much as this reality thrills the rest of the college football world, it is a gut punch to many Crimson Tide fans. Both the thrills and the gut punch are okay. The thrills of an Alabama demise can be expected to fade. The Alabama Football program will take body blows and remain standing.
A new era of Alabama Football is already being built. Optimism is justified that when that building process comes to fruition, it will have been led by Kalen DeBoer. Improbable as it seems to some, there are early signs Kalen DeBoer was the perfect choice to succeed Nick Saban.
In the video below, Josh Pate explains his positive expectations. He nails it.
Many fairly state the Alabama Football program is in disarray. My take is, no one should have expected there would not be pain after Nick Saban. How long that pain will last is not known, but in the same vein as Pate's comments, there are reasons for optimism.