If the Crimson Tide look to repeat as national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team may want to draw on a similar theme that drove them to a 2011 title: never again.
The theme derives from the 2010 Iron Bowl in which Alabama jumped out early to a 21-0 lead, only to let the rival Auburn Tigers back into the game as the Tigers mounted one of the biggest comebacks in college football history.
It was the frustration and embarrassment of not finishing games that was eventually taken out on the Michigan State Spartans in the Capitol One Bowl, then displayed throughout the 2011 season. From the winter workouts, through spring scrimmage, all the way to New Orleans, Alabama was determined to not repeat their performance in that Iron Bowl game.
A year later, it would be wise for Alabama to take to the same theme.
After winning a national championship in 2009, the Crimson Tide didn’t live up to expectations. Like many championship teams, they were complacent with their past success and stopped doing the little things that led them to an undefeated season in the previous season.
The writing was in the wall early in 2010 when Alabama narrowly escaped the Arkansas Razorbacks early on, but the wake up call never came. A few weeks later South Carolina upset the Tide in Columbia, and just when it seemed Alabama was back on track, they stumbled again in Baton Rouge against Louisiana State. Determined to finish the season with a win, the inability to remain cool under pressure, the inability to finish off opponents when opportunities presented themselves, was highlighted in the Auburn game.
When it looked like Alabama had lost all hope, something happened during the bowl practices as Alabama rediscovered the blueprint that brought trophies to Tuscaloosa. After a 49-7 thumping of Michigan State, the college football world was put on notice. Alabama was back to their dominating ways.
Now Alabama finds themselves in a similar situation, coming off a national championship into a season where expectations again remain high. Questions have risen, and comparisons to the 2010 squad have been rampant.
However, players such as: AJ McCarron, Michael Williams, Damion Square, Nico Johnson and Robert Lester are some of the same players who won early, saw the letdown, then helped bring crystal back to Tuscaloosa. The same players who spearheaded the “Never Again” movement on last year’s team again don Crimson and White jerseys.
The 2012 version of the Alabama Crimson Tide know the comparisons exist. But, if they have it their way they’ll find success early, and never again will those comparisons continue.