MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It’s been rumored that all of college football fandom — aside from those who greet one another with a throaty “Roll Tide” — has coined a new phrase to express their sentiments on the current state of affairs.
Hence, the phrase “Alabama fatigue” has entered the vernacular of the sport.
A unified coalition of Bama haters has emerged, begging for somebody, anybody to dethrone the Crimson Tide from its lofty perch atop football’s hierarchy it has maintained for most of the past decade. Ponder this — Alabama has been rated No. 1 at some point during the past 11 seasons, during which it has claimed five national titles.
That opinion is more deeply felt in South Florida, where forlorn Miami Dolphins fans feel the sting of betrayal every time Alabama coach Nick Saban returns to these parts.
They endured the ignominy of the only losing season on his sterling resumé in 2006 when Saban coached the ‘Fins and are left wondering what might have been had he remained true to his promise and not departed for Tuscaloosa soon after.
But let me offer a word of warning to the legion of loathers: You’d better get used to it. Alabama’s not going away soon. In fact, the screen printers are on alert, poised to mass produce the newest batch of T-shirts saluting the Tide’s umpteenth national title.
Alabama’s 45-34 dismantling of Oklahoma in Saturday’s playoff semifinal was quickly decided. The Crimson Tide scored on its first four possessions to take a 28-0 lead, sending the weary anti-Bama dissenters scrambling for the TV remote for other viewing options.
The victory in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium places Alabama (14-0) in the national championship game for the fourth straight year. The Crimson Tide will face Clemson with the title on the line for the third time on Jan. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Some may insinuate that Alabama followers are spoiled, that this unprecedented run of success cannot continue forever. Maybe so. But as long as Saban is in charge of the program, don’t expect a letdown. His attention to the most minute of details, the relentless pursuit of perfection and his unbridled intensity never take a day off.
Plus, the Crimson Tide just signed perhaps its best batch of recruits ever in this current top-ranked recruiting class. Expect less turnover among the coaching staff during the offseason, with offensive coordinator Mike Locksley’s departure to Maryland likely to be filled by quarterback whisperer Dan Enos.
But the most ominous message for those who view Alabama as some impregnable Death Star was uttered by Saban earlier in the week.
“The road to success is always under construction,” Saban said. “We know we can’t win every game, and we know we can’t be perfect, but we’re certainly trying to work every day to close the gap on how good we can be.”
In other words, with Saban one win away from his sixth national title at Alabama — and his record-setting seventh which would surpass the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant — the best may still be yet to come.
So to all the naysayers that embrace the “anybody but Alabama” mindset, get over it. This dominant run by the Crimson Tide won’t slow down any time soon with Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. calling the shots.