A Lesson Learned Covering Alabama Football

By Allen Faul

In addition to my writing duties with Rant Sports, I produce a sports talk program in Tuscaloosa, AL. Although I have learned a lot about Alabama Crimson Tide football and its fans during my undergraduate, I continue to learn more everyday from the callers of the show.

Tonight’s lesson: Talking bad about Alabama football is like talking bad about someone’s child.  Call Nick Saban boring and predictable? You know all heck is about to break loose.

Just in case you have forgotten how passionate the fan base is, remember this is the same group that will pack 70,000 + into Bryant Denny for a spring scrimmage.  This is the same fan base that has individuals camp out multiple days in a row just be the first in line for a Nick Saban autograph, not to mention the ones who arrive at 11 in the morning to a local restaurant just to make sure they get a good table for Saban’s weekly radio program nearly 8 hours later.

The outrage started when Bill Simonson, the host of The Huge Show, a statewide radio show in Michigan wrote a piece for MLive that certainly drew the ire of Alabama fans writing such blasphemous statements as:

  • “(Denard) Robinson will have a huge night in Michigan’s upset of the Crimson Tide. Alabama coach Nick Saban never has faced a quarterback who can run like Robinson”
  • “Saban has won titles based on running the football, stockpiling talent and recruiting, and not a lot of out-of-the-box coaching. His style is boring and predictable.”
  • “Alabama thinks that just by showing up, they’ll win. My gut feeling is the Crimson Tide already are counting the win without playing the game. (Al) Borges will let Robinson do what he does best. Alabama has no idea what is coming from Michigan’s quarterback.”

As the snippets of the article were read across the airwaves into cars, restaurants, and local shops the phone lines lit up like a 4th of July firework extravaganza as fans spewed out passion that would make you think that Simonson wrote badly about them personally.

The rants were endless as almost every caller asked if the writer had been drug tested or seen Alabama play football before.  The callers then jumped into a dissertation of how Alabama has a defense that has shut down scrambling quarterbacks in the past, then transitioned into a monologue of how this year’s Alabama team will take no team lightly after the disappointment of 2010.

While some might read everything above this sentence and think that Alabama fans are nuts and Southeastern Conference fans are crazy, those very reactions are what make college football special.  The fact someone would be offended by negative words against their team is what makes college football great.

It is that very passion that separates college football from other sports and has turned into the cash cow that it is today.  An allegiance to a team is a way of life, it is a lifestyle. We are on top of the world when our school wins, and almost impossible to be around when our team loses.

The passion I witnessed tonight isn’t limited just to Tuscaloosa, it is spread throughout the fan bases of schools from Florida State to Southern Cal. Everyone is ready to fight tooth and nail to defend their team’s honor and attack the credentials of their rivals.

As Thursday marks the beginning of the college football season we have begun to make plans to spend January 7th in Miami because today we are all perfect.  Welcome back college football.

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