BCS Special Article Alabama: There And Back Again
To think of Alabama’s domination since Nick Saban ushered in a new era for the Tide is daunting. Alabama will be making a third trip to the BCS National Championship Game in the last four years. It has won the past two trips (defeatin Texas 37-21 in 2010 and LSU 21-0 in the 2012 edition last season) and will enter as the favorite against Notre Dame despite being ranked #2 (and the Irish having garnered every vote in both the AP and Coaches polls). This season’s journey would seem to be a perfect hybrid of Bama’s two other trips to the National Championship Game, but will the result be the same?
Alabama started the season in the same place it has since 2009: the AP top 5. It all began in 2008 when the Tide started the season 12-0 and ended up in the SEC Championship Game. Despite a disappointing end to the season (a loss in the SEC Championship Game and then being upset by Utah in the Sugar Bowl), the ball was rolling and there would be no stopping it now. The next season, Alabama ran through a tough schedule which included Terrance Cody blocking a field goal attempt as time was terminated in the fourth quarter against Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium. A 19 point victory on “The Night Tebow Wept” in the SEC Championship Game and a dismantling on Colt McCoy-less Texas in the BCS National Championship finished in the ushering of Tide domination. Since, Alabama has looked a National Title contender each season. Ranked #1 to begin 2010, Alabama was expected to be the best team in the country. The season was the most disappointing since Nick Saban’s first. Despite the setback of the 10-3 2010 campaign, Bama started the season ranked #2. The Tide never left the top 4, even when losing the Game of the Century against Louisiana State. It did not take long for Bama to exact revenge as the two met in the BCS Championship Game and the Tide would not be denied becoming the nation’s best team once again. Now we come to this year’s edition. We see a team extremely similar to Nick Saban’s first team to win big. An experienced Quarterback who is nothing special, but extremely solid (think Greg McElroy). AjJ McCarron makes the team a threat through the air which with the combination of two spectacular running backs (think Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson) and the most dominate group of offensive linemen in the country is perfect. The defense is as stout as ever, ranking first in the nation in total defense (first against the run and sixth against the pass) and second in scoring defense. This is the challenge facing Notre Dame (a team which has struggled to score points at moments over the course of the 2012-2013 season). The Fighting Irish must find a way to defeat a program which has become a juggernaut and has looked, felt, and played no loss dominant this season than the past few seasons when it has started, played, and ended the season with many people’s opinions as being the nation’s finest ball club. The players for the Irish had better be ready for the fight of their lives, because we all know the SEC’s pedigree and we all know Alabama’s ability.