“Can you believe this shit?!”
It was a beautiful November evening 14 years ago, and my sister Jenny was nearly yelling into the telephone about, ummm…what?
Ah yes; the game. Earlier that day, LSU had ended Alabama’s unbeaten streak at 31 games.
“Well, sure,” I replied. “Did you think we were never going to lose again?”
“No, but…” Etc.
It’s been interesting to me how much of that incredulity at the idea of a loss translated to the Saban era after just three games. “Why, who’s to stop us from being 8-0 going in to play LSU?” Admittedly, I got excited too. After picking Georgia as one of our losses before the season began, I was talking about a 10-point Alabama win last week. I knew we had a thin defensive line. I knew Mark Richt was practically invincible on the road. I knew his quarterback was dangerous. It didn’t matter. Did you see that Arkansas finish? We can do it! We’re that team!
We’ve got a lot of that team in us—far more than I’ve seen in the past eight years or so—but even that team drops games from time to time. Obviously I’d have rather won, but as losses go, it was fine. We lost the way winners lose. We didn’t give the game away with blunders, and we didn’t lack heart. We just lost. Happens sometimes. Coach Bryant was at the Capstone for 25 years. Know how many undefeated seasons he had? How about three?
Ladies and gentlemen, we are not going to win the SEC this year. But it will come. We may flirt with it next year, and things ought to be rather sweet by ’09. For now, let’s enjoy what we have: a team that believes again. We’re going to lose some more, but isn’t it nice to again have the confidence that our guys will bring their souls to the field, no matter what the ultimate result?
Things have sucked for a long while. Let’s know and enjoy that they’re getting better.
Roll Tide to you.