Tag Archives: Alabama Crimson Tide

The Outcome That College Football Needed


Since 2008, the Alabama Crimson Tide have been the premier team in college football as they’ve claimed four national championships while steamrolling over the competition in the process. After the Tide went 6-6 in their first year under head football coach Nick Saban in 2007, they’ve managed to go 112-13 since then while only producing one three-loss campaign. Saban has built a dynasty at Alabama which is not easy to do in this day with parity, but they are the team that college football fans love to hate.

And what has set Alabama apart from the other football programs is that they shine the best in the big games which included going 4-0 in national championship games heading into the 2016 college football season. The Tide won the national championship last year and after entering this past season ranked as the top team in the land, they were looking to become the first squad since the USC Trojans to go wire-to-wire in order to repeat as national champions.

Alabama was able to accept the challenge as they mowed down the competition in the Southeastern Conference and when the regular season was over, they were the only undefeated team in the nation. The Tide would easily defeat the Florida Gators 54-16 in the SEC Championship Game which sent them to the College Football Playoff for the third consecutive year. And after the Crimson Tide made short work of the Washington Huskies in the Peach Bowl, it was back to the title game for them.

The team that had the indubious pleasure of watching Alabama claim the championship trophy last January were the Clemson Tigers. In nine years under head football coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson has become a national power which has seen them win three Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and defeat national recognized teams such as the Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners and LSU Tigers. During the 2015 college football season Clemson was the feel good story as they were the underdog for the majority of their games. And even in defeat to Alabama, they held their own as they lost 45-40.

But whereas the close loss to Alabama might have broken the spirits of some teams, Clemson used it as fuel to their fire as led by junior quarterback Deshaun Watson and senior linebacker Ben Boulware, they took all of the body blows that they could absorb during the regular season which included getting by the Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference 19-13 on the road to start the campaign. And when Atlantic Coast Conference play began, Clemson was pushed to the limit by teams such as the Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina State Wolfpack, and Florida State Seminoles. Clemson did slip up once during the season as they lost at home to the Pittsburgh Panthers 43-42 on November 12. But after the loss to Pittsburgh, Clemson would rebound to win their remaining games which included defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC Championship Game which sent them back to the College Football Playoff for a second consecutive year.

And just like the previous season, the Tigers would head to the College Football Playoff as heavy underdogs. Clemson would meet the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl who were looking to win their second national title in the last three years. But for the second time in the last four seasons, Clemson got the best of Ohio State in a bowl game. However this time was in dominating fashion as the Buckeyes were taken behind the woodshed 31-0 which paved the way for Clemson to have a rematch with the Tide after they easily dispatched of the Washington Huskies in the Peach Bowl 24-7.

The scene was changing from last year’s battle between these two teams which took place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. And having the game in Tampa provided more of a buzz for both of these schools which are located in the Southeast; especially for Clemson who had more fans in attendance for Monday night’s championship tilt.

As always there was plenty of anticipation and excitement leading up to the kickoff as one thing was for sure was that the Tigers would not be afraid of intimidated of Alabama when they met them. But when Alabama took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter after a pair of pulverizing touchdown runs from sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough, it appeared to be a familiar tune as the Crimson Tide were ready beat the brakes off of another opponent.

But we forgot to measure the heart of Clemson as they clawed back into the game. And even after the Tigers were trailing 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, they had Alabama right where they wanted them.

Swinney never wavered from his offensive game plan which called for the Tigers to go uptempo. Clemson wasn’t making substitutions which meant that neither could Alabama as the top-ranked defense in the land was beginning to run out of gas.

Clemson ran 99 plays on offense as they possessed the football for nearly 35 minutes of game time. And when the fourth quarter rolled around, Watson channeled his inner Vince Young as he baffled the Alabama defense, while seeing his stock rise for the 2017 National Football League Draft in the process.

The Tide didn’t have an answer for Watson who led Clemson on three, fourth quarter touchdown drives, and when Scarbrough suffered a broken leg in the second half, he took the Alabama offense to the sideline with him as well.

With just six seconds left in regulation and Clemson traling 31-28 with the football at the Alabama two-yard line, Swinney had a choice as he could get conservative by going for the game-tying field goal, or throwing caution to the wind and becoming a legend in the Palmetto State. Swinney opted to win the game as a field goal would have killed all of Clemson’s momentum heading into overtime. And with just one second left, Watson found sophomore wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in the end zone to give the Tigers their first national championship since 1981. But as much as Clemson’s victory over Alabama will be celebrated throughout the State of South Carolina from now until the cows come home, their victory was huge for the overall landscape of college football.

The Tide have been the team over the last decade and although that they have suffered losses against other marquee programs such as Oklahoma and Ohio State, they’ve never lost in the national championship game; especially when they were presented with a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. Along with Saban’s time as the head football coach at LSU, he was 5-0 in title games before Monday night as he always knew how to push the right buttons. But Saban was done in by a head coach in Swinney that not only had seen his act, but also had the personnel in which he could slay the dragon.

College football may be seeking parity for its game, but in the three years of the College Football Playoff, Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State have all made multiple trips to the field of four with each program claiming the trophy once, while the top seed entering the tournament has never claimed the title which is good for the game.

But as Alabama left Raymond James Stadium on Monday night watching purple and orange confetti rain down, they’ll once again be set for another title push as Saban continues to recruit and develop talent that will be playing in the National Football League in the very near future. However on Monday when Clemson won the title, they won it not only for themselves, but for all of those people who were told they weren’t good enough to accomplish a goal.


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The Tide Is Rolling


Nick Saban

It’s been a decade of dominance for the Alabama Crimson Tide under head football coach Nick Saban. In nearly ten years at Alabama, Saban’s record is a stellar 108-18 with six of those losses coming during his first year in Tuscaloosa. Saban has gone on to claim four national championships at Alabama, and the Crimson Tide have never finished worse than 11th in the Associated Press Poll on his watch. Saban has done this in an era where it’s not supposed to be done since recruiting, parity, and alternate uniforms in college football are at an all-time high. But the Tide have simply been a cut above the rest.

Typically when teams win the national title, there could be a bit of a lull in the next season, but that hasn’t been the case with Alabama.¬†After the Tide defeated the Clemson Tigers this past January in the national championship game, it would have been very easy for them to take a step back. The Crimson Tide had to replace five starters from a defense that was fourth in the nation last season in total defense, and five starters on offense which included quarterback Jacob Coker and running back Derrick Henry who won the Heisman Trophy. The Crimson Tide had six players selected in the first, two rounds of the 2016 National Football League Draft which could have left them at a disadvantage this year due to their loss of valuable experience. But under Saban, Alabama chooses to reload as opposed to rebuilding.

The Tide began this college football season as the top ranked team in the Associated Press Poll and they have not disappointed.

On September 3, the Tide steam rolled the then ranked 20th USC Trojans 52-6 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Alabama would then use their home opener on September 10 against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers as a glorified scrimmage as they cruised to a 38-10 victory. And this would set the stage for the Tide to open their Southeastern Conference schedule on the road on September 17 against the Mississippi Rebels.

The Rebels came into the game on a two-game winning streak against Alabama, but this time around the Tide were more than up for the challenge.

Alabama would jump out to a 24-3 lead in the second quarter and they would keep Ole Miss in chase mode for the entire game as they went on the triumph by the score of 48-43. Alabama’s victory was highlighted by three defensive touchdowns, along with an 85-yard punt return by senior defensive back Eddie Jackson.

Alabama has continued to mow down the competition in the Southeastern Conference as this month alone has seen them easily take care of three ranked teams. On October 8, the Crimson Tide made it look easy when they went to Fayetteville and defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 49-30. This game was highlighted by two more defensive touchdowns which included a 100-yard interception return by sophomore defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.

On October 15, the Tide would travel to Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers who were building momentum as a legitimate national title contender which was highlighted by comeback victories against the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs. However Alabama would crush those dreams as they built a 21-7 halftime lead en route to cruising to a 49-10 victory.

This past Saturday would see the Tide host the undefeated Texas A&M Aggies in a game that will have a huge say as far as who’ll go on to represent the Southeastern Conference in the College Football Playoff.

After Alabama built a 13-0 lead, A&M would score on consecutive possessions to end the first half and start the third quarter to give them the 14-13 advantage. But from that point Alabama would dominate each phase of the gain as they got a 33-14 win. The victory over Texas A&M runs Alabama’s record to 8-0 this season, while they’ve also won their last 20 games.

Jalen Hurts

Alabama has had this success in spite of the fact that they have a freshman quarterback under center for them. Jalen Hurts didn’t start in Alabama’s victory of USC, but he made an impact off of the bench in that game, while he’s been the guy for Saban ever since. Hurts plays with ice water in his veins and he has quickly become a player that Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin can trust in those critical situations.

Hurts is also Alabama’s second leading rusher behind running back Damien Harris who is well on his way to being the Crimson Tide’s next great ball carrier. Harris is closing in on gaining 1,000 yards on the ground, and adding his name to the likes of running backs such as Henry, Mark Ingram, and Trent Richardson who have all gone on to play in the National Football League.

As a unit Alabama’s offense is ranked 15th in the nation in total offense as Saban and Kiffin continue to spit in the face of those that said this pairing would never work when Saban hired the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee, and USC in 2014. But Kiffin has bought in to what Saban wants him to do, while he also isn’t afraid to open things up on offense.

However the backbone of this Alabama team is their defense. The Tide are once again ranked fourth in the nation in total defense, and it’s been a long time since college football has seen a defense that takes so much pride in scoring touchdowns as they’ve found pay dirt nine times this year. Alabama can get opponents at every level of the defense as they are led by Jackson, senior defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, and senior linebacker Tim Williams.

It’s not easy to have the success that Saban has enjoyed at Alabama, which is a testament to his coaching style, along with his ability to adjust. Saban walks into a room and he immediately commands respect, while he can walk into any recruit’s house in the nation, and not only walk away with a commitment to attend Alabama from him, but also that of his little brother if need be. Saban has gone from simply being a coach that loved to run the football, to a guy that isn’t afraid to recruit talented players at the skill positions to keep up with the ever growing affection of the spread offense in college football, while also finding guys on the other side of the ball that can stop it. Saban’s success at Alabama has seen every other school within the Southeastern Conference make at least one head coaching change on his watch as they’ve simply been unable to keep up with him.

And as Alabama is now set to begin the stretch run, they aren’t out of the woods just yet. The Tide will be off this Saturday, but they are prepping to make the trek to Baton Rogue, Louisiana on November 5 for a meeting with the LSU Tigers. Former LSU head football coach Les Miles has recently struggled against Alabama which led to his dismissal earlier this season. But Miles’ replacement in interim head football coach Ed Orgeron has the Bayou Bengals living up to their potential which should make Alabama’s journey to Death Valley very interesting. And on November 26, there’s the Iron Bowl against the Auburn Tigers who are playing some of the best football in the nation as they are currently on a four-game winning streak while they still have an eye on winning the Southeastern Conference Title themselves.

Eddie Jackson

Alabama will have to contend against LSU and Auburn without the services of Jackson who suffered a broken leg against the Aggies and it will be interesting to see who’ll step up and take his place as an impact player in the secondary for the Tide. But Saban has learned from his former boss in New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as far as making adjustments and finding versatile players. From 1991-1995, Saban served as Belichick’s defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and they’ve remained as good friends to this day. It isn’t surprising to see Belichick have the success that he is having in the National Football League, while Saban continues to dominate the collegiate ranks with both systems being stacked against them to do what they are currently doing.

Saban is set to turn 65-years of age on Halloween, but unlike other senior citizens, he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as his sights are set on another national title while he ranks among the best to ever walk the sidelines in college football.

Sources: Cfbstats.com, nationalchamps.net


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