After looking through message boards, reading fan reactions from across the country it is safe to say that the Alabama Football team has now become the New York Yankees of college football.
Before the Alabama-Michigan game, opinions circulated that the Crimson Tide would finally get what was coming to them. Or maybe it was a wish. Then after Alabama dominated a top ten team in their season opener while others dropped close to $1 million to play a team that would help pad their stats, the criticism continued.
While many praised the performance there was plenty of talk that turned to “Michigan was overrated” or “Alabama would have been beaten had they played a team with a better passing game.” Not sure I understand all of that, but what I do understand is that the Crimson Tide, on a national level is becoming one of the most hated teams in the country.
Alabama had long been known as one of the most storied college football programs in the country, but like any program they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs. After years of mediocrity, the Tide has risen like a phoenix and reclaimed its position as one of the nation’s elite. Alabama already boasts 14 national championships and when you combine that with winning 2 of the last 3 national championships and the desire of top recruits across the country to play in Tuscaloosa, it is easy to see why many take their jabs when they can.
The more I think about it, I have heard this story before.
Before I moved to Alabama I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri as a die hard Cardinals fan. I cursed the way that teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies were able to drop bars of gold to acquire pitchers like Kevin Brown and Mike Hampton while the Cardinals simply just couldn’t do it. Then it pained me how year after year the top free agents, many of whom I thought may sign with my hometown Cardinals signed with the Yankees instead.
“The Yankees don’t need any more help” I thought to myself. “They’re in the World Series every year, its just not fair.”
You can only imagine my elation the night I saw Louis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks bloop a hit into shallow centerfield against Mariano Riviera in Game 7 of the World Series. It was such a great moment to see the powerhouse New York Yankees fall, my mom even let me stay up til 11pm. I remembered being so overjoyed that when my mom came into the living room to tell me to go to bed I was jumping up and down as if I had won the World Series. Those “evil” Yankees that had everything had finally been pushed off their perch.
When I think about that night in my living room, trying to hold back my elation of watching King Kong, I mean the Yankees fall, I understand the frustration of college football fans across the country.
Nick Saban has built a dynasty in Tuscaloosa capturing two crystal balls as he breaks into his sixth season as the man in charge of the Crimson Tide. With the exception of his 2007 signing class (in which he was only involved for a month and a half) he has consistently reeled in a class that ranks in the top three regardless of what recruiting service you use. Throw in the success on the field with the top facilities in the country and it seems like Alabama has everything going for them, but no one likes the team that has everything.
It also doesn’t help make any friends when Alabama plays in the Southeastern Conference seemingly catching all the lucky breaks. Even those breaks that decide which one loss team will play in the national championship game.
Just as the Yankees sat atop the perch of Major League Baseball, Alabama now sits atop the perch of college football.
The Yankees won 4 championships in 5 years between 1996 and 2000 and lay claim to 27 World Series Championships. Alabama hasn’t attained that kind of success just yet, just that same level of disdain of fans outside of their fanbase.