Well, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide took home its third national championship in four years by beating the snot out of Notre Dame. That gives head coach Nick Saban four national championships, those three plus one with LSU, and ties him with Wallace Wade for the number of Alabama championships won. He’ll need three more to get up to Paul “Bear” Bryant’s level, who won six championships despite losing two bowl games. Declaring winners back in those days was far less clear, to be certain. (Interesting note, Saban will need 11 more SEC championships to tie Bryant, but with two SEC championship wins, he’s only behind three other coaches in Alabama history.)
The game was won 42-14, the same score/drubbing given to Auburn in 2011 that convinced BCS rankings voters to grant Alabama the number 2 spot and a chance at the national championship despite a late season loss to LSU. Despite the absolute ease with which Alabama rolled over Notre Dame, there are still some conspiracy theorists that think the referees handed UA the game. Which seems pretty ridiculous, especially if you’re someone that actually watched the game. It was brutal. Notre Dame had the ball for 15 minutes in the entire game. Different calls would not have changed the outcome much, if at all.
Anyway, I could do like the announcers were doing by the middle of the second quarter and start talking about Alabama’s chances next year, or I could analyze and hypothesize about what the potential losses of several key Crimson Tide players will do to the team, or blah blah blah. I’m not a sports writer. Never was, never will be. I never even liked football when I first came to UA. Hated it. People down here treat it almost religiously. I thought (and still think) that soccer is a way better sport.
But going to UA… it grows on you a bit. I’ve still never been to a game, never set foot inside the stadium. Only stadium I’ve been in is Legion Field in Birmingham. But, still, it grows. Though many of my friends, as in all of the ones currently going to UA, don’t have to remember being at school during the years of Mike Schula, the years when Leigh Tiffin was an absolutely horrendous kicker and not our top scorer… though they get to remember the glory days of Saban winning three national championships, I grew up with some of the tough patches. And, really, I grew up with them. Even though I was 18, 19, 20 years old, I grew into football with the rough spots. Before, I couldn’t have named a single player. Now? …well, I know a handful.
I’m not going to get religious about football. And I’m still not crazy about my school or state, as both have some MAJOR problems that need fixing… But every once in a while, it feels nice to be part of a community that takes pride in some extraordinary accomplishments. And I’m okay with that.