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The thing about success is that everyone wants it and most envy those that have it. It’s not enough to pat greatness on the back and learn from it, rather to band together with the scores of others feeling jilted by the machinations of life to take enjoyment out of those on the top occasionally having a bad day.
Very few weep for the guy with the $70,000 sports car and pretty girlfriend when he loses his job. It’s more, “he had it coming.”
Sports are a perfect, open, mostly accepted manifestation of this, seen drawn out in the failings of teams or players on the top and the subsequent grave dancing that happens immediately after whatever powerhouse loses.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team lost in the wee hours of the morning (for most of us) and as with Alabama losing when they do, a collective “exhale” was done by those tired of seeing their success rather then trying to figure out how to emulate it.
This morning, Nick Saban is old; the Tide’s high time is over and it’s washed back into the ocean, allowing everyone else to come back to the beach; Alabama’s stable of 5-star recruits can’t yield one quarterback; the offensive line is overrated; Lane Kiffin can’t call plays again; the defense is not what it used to be; and on and on and on.
The reality though, is that Alabama will be just fine, and last night’s loss was an amalgam of horrid play coupled with some timely stuff that seemed too fantastical to even be considered for a scene in some pretend uplifting Disney sports movie.
If you think the Tide are going to forget how to do anything competent on special teams, turn the ball over five times, have some of the most obtuse play calling and quarterback decision making known to man, and lose on a near forward pass that had to be reviewed and a back thrown, tipped to a random streaking receiver at the right place (the only right place he could be) at the right time after a Chad Kelly decision that normally gets you pulled immediately to the bench … then you go ahead and think that.
To take nothing away from Ole Miss, who went into Tuscaloosa and had every camera shot of the Bama faithful mundanely swinging pom poms looking into the camera like they’re only doing it because forced out of superstition to do so while they were getting a colonoscopy … it took all that to defeat Alabama.
Also, to Ole Miss’ point, this has been a monster being built since Hugh Freeze took over the program. The Rebs have recruited at an elite level, and this is the manifestation of what happens as elite recruits are coached to their potential and they become upperclassmen to teach other elite recruits. This is how a program is built to a top 10 level annually.
Still, spare me the Alabama obits, please.
This is no end of anything. The Tide do have major issues at quarterback, one of them being the head-scratching decision to not start Jacob Coker who clearly (while mostly below mediocre) was more ready for this moment than Cooper Bateman who had never started a game.
Time and time again, as Rebel players danced on the sidelines, thinking they’d driven a stake through the Tide’s heart at 30-10 and then at 43-24 once and for all, only to find out that the Tide has as much fight as anyone and as long as Saban stalks the sidelines, always will.
Still, college football is and always will be difficult to win at a high level without competent quarterback play you can count on. Yes, the Tide grabbed 37 points and if you’re “ends justifies the means” guy, that looks good. Quarterback play, however, was lousy at best.
Waiting in the wings is hotshot freshman Blake Barnett, who is redshirting at the moment. Alabama will be just fine in the future, and honestly, just fine now.
There’s no point in grave dancing on success, anywhere, to be honest. There’s more to be learned how we got to the point where the sports world tilts off its axis when the Alabama Crimson Tide lose a football game rather than dance in the streets (unless you’re the rival team, then these rules do not apply).
Saban is only as old as he feels; Kiffin will be alright; the quarterback play will eventually be better; this is still a young team for the most part.
In the mean time, save your flower orders. The Tide are not dead just yet, no matter what anyone tells you.