Eli Gold has called the action for six national championship football teams in his 30 years as the play-by-play man for Alabama football.
Even he admits that 2018 is a little different.
“They are all fun,” he told AL.com on Tuesday. “The highly successful teams have been a lot of fun. I’m a fan, but you are always a better broadcaster when you have a good story to tell. I’ve had a lot of good stories to tell over these decades.
“What I find interesting this year is that you never know what is going to happen next. Is Bama going to score in 30 seconds to start the game? Is it going to be another day with 500 yards of offense? Is it going to be a 50-point game? I can’t remember another team where you are afraid to turn your head because you might miss two touchdowns.”
Top-ranked Alabama leads the nation in scoring offense, averaging 54.1 points a game behind sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The unbeaten Crimson Tide has scored at least 50 points in six of its eight games and has scored more than 60 twice. Tagovailoa, who has yet to throw an interception, leads the nation in passing efficiency and has thrown 25 TD passes already.
“Unbelievable,” Gold said in describing one of the Heisman Trophy frontrunners. “The thing that I find interesting is at practice and in games is you will constantly see him do things that just make you shake your head. It’s been incredible to watch.”
Gold also complimented the personalities of both Tagovailoa and backup Jalen Hurts, saying they are “two of the nicest young men you will ever meet. No one is a bad guy. No one is difficult to deal with and, obviously, both have a lot of talent.”
He also praised the careful way Alabama coach Nick Saban handled the quarterback competition between the two in the offseason and in fall practice.
“It was the right thing to do,” Gold said. “One guy (Hurts) is 26-2 as a starter. Another guy is obviously magnificently talented. Coach Saban knows how to use both quarterbacks.
“You hear from some people that, if you have two quarterbacks, you really don’t have any. Nick Saban has shown the world that axiom is not accurate, and for that matter, he is using three every game. Nick Saban is just remarkable in what he does and how he does it.”
Alabama has this Saturday off before traveling to LSU on Nov. 3 for a primetime matchup with the Tigers. The Tide finishes the season with three home games – Mississippi State, The Citadel and Auburn.
“Someone said to me the other day, ‘Well, you know you guys will just cruise the rest of the way.’ I said, ‘Man, you are insane.’ We go to LSU. Mississippi State has talent and, the record notwithstanding, anything can happen when you face Auburn. You can’t take anything for granted.”
Many think Alabama’s toughest regular-season test will come next week in Baton Rouge. Gold doesn’t necessarily disagree.
“It will be a big game. No doubt,” he said. “Anytime you go to Baton Rouge on a Saturday night, it is a special atmosphere. Now Bama has typically done very well down there, but LSU is playing great ball right now. It is not going to be easy. With that said, do I feel Alabama is the better team? Yes.”
Gold was in Mobile on Tuesday to participate in the Passion for Prichard Prep Tailgate luncheon. He was joined by former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn wide receiver Lawyer Tillman and broadcaster Taylor Zarzour.
Prichard Prep was founded in 2005 as a way to provide its students with a strong academic foundation in order for them to transition into college preparatory and magnet schools, with the ultimate goal of them attending college.
“I must admit I didn’t know much about it until I was contacted,” Gold said. “I’ve known coach Tuberville and Taylor, and we’ve talked about it. When Taylor did the Alabama game a few weeks ago, I realized how special this cause was. I get to Mobile a good bit. There is always something going on. I was happy to come down and be part of it.”
LISTEN TO GOLD TALK ABOUT THE TIME HE ALMOST QUIT BROADCASTING: