As another football season draws to a close in Alabama and Thanksgiving approaches, let’s reflect on all the things for which Crimson Tide fans can be grateful, even during a season of multiple losses and no chance of a national championship.
Things haven’t gone quite to your liking in 2022, but consider everything we’ve seen and what you and the team can still achieve with two games left.
Achieve another Iron Bowl victory
It’s not “just another game”. They hear it from players because they’re supposed to say it and treat it that way. Playing with too much emotion can prove detrimental to the team. And Bama fans insist, “Auburn plays to beat Alabama, Alabama plays to championships.” But come on. This counts in every season. The big Twitter account Ascot Friday put it best: “They have all the fun in this rivalry. We’re unhappy when we lose, we’re relieved when we win. I have a hard time remembering being euphoric after the Iron Bowl was over. Then we take off. We’re just trying to survive and get it over with.” Nothing could be more true, but the win over Auburn will top any list of things Alabama fans are grateful for this time of year, especially with a national title off the table.
students are students
As they record “Dixieland Delight” at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the venue grinds to a halt as shakers move back and forth in unison and nearly 100,000 fans belt out Alabama’s country classics while adding a few cheeky zingers of their own. After the “controversy” of the Alabama student section (and many other fans, if we’re being honest) hurling obscene lyrics at The Tide’s biggest rivals, UA’s response was to whistle a fake crowd that ” BEAT AUBURN!” sang. hoping to drown out the profanity (overheard during a game this year: “It sounds like the Soviet Union.”) A silly compromise to ensure fans get back their prized matchday tradition, the ‘fix’ only had students screaming her Auburn Line more frequently during the song, which you’ll hear loud and clear this Saturday and every other Saturday. earmuffs!
Win a “meaningless” bowl game
Alabama has 45 bowl wins, the most in college football history and yet another one that fans brag about annually. The Tide won’t make the college football playoffs, but they have a shot at that total in either the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Citrus Bowl, or wherever they have a wounded but angry Tide team with plenty to do have to prove before we close the book in 2022. Which bowl team will we get: The disappointed squad desperate to miss their national title goal or the football death machine that’s fueled doubters. Either way, be glad you get to see them roll again.
Whoever finishes with 10 (or 11) wins
Throughout the program’s storied history, Alabama has enjoyed 35 10-win seasons (14 under Saban) and 25 11-win seasons (13 under Saban). That’s stupid folks. Just stupid. And that’s 14 straight 10-win seasons and 13 straight 11-win seasons. Life is good. Be thankful for a ridiculous streak like this, matched only by the state of Florida (1987-2000). With another win, Alabama has a chance to hold the record on their own, and they can do so by beating Auburn. That would be cuter than that pumpkin pie you’re devouring this Thanksgiving.
Watch the Auburn drama unfold
Cadillac Williams splashed some into the Auburn family. Last but not least, morale is light years away from what it was three games ago before Bryan Harsin’s departure as head coach. With a coaching search underway, fans are somewhat divided on which direction the program should go. Are they hiring Lane Kiffin? What about Hugh Freeze? Or stick with the caretaker manager, the Auburn man who breathed new life into a gasping team. Will the next take please everyone? No, but Alabama fans can watch from afar knowing they’re miles away from similar coaching carousel drama. But more on that later.
Appreciate Bryce Young & Will Anderson while they’re here
Over the past few seasons, we’ve had the privilege of seeing two of the greatest players in Alabama football history. Bryce Young became the first tide quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy after a season for the under-center age group, highlighted by his ice-cold Iron Bowl performance under pressure and a dominant SEC Championship game win over Georgia. We may never see a player as balanced as Young in Tuscaloosa again. And Will Anderson, “The Terminator”, arguably Nick Saban’s all-time greatest defender in Alabama. Unique instincts that destroy the best plans of all attacks. Teams had to create a game plan around the man using teams of doubles, blocks of chips, or whatever else might slow him down. The pair addressed their future in Alabama, without directly answering whether the Iron Bowl will mark their final game in the Crimson and White. Each is predicted to be the top 5 pick in next year’s NFL draft. All signs are pointing to 2022 as her final college season, so enjoy it. They are two of the greats.
READ: Bryce Young and Will Anderson asked if Iron Bowl will be the last game in Alabama
Keeping this ‘dynasty is dead receipts
Alabama’s two (very close) losses have left many with these questions: Is this season indicative of bigger troubles in Alabama? Is this the first big sign that the window on the Nick Saban era is closing? Look, you can bet against Saban if you want, but let’s go back to when that happened earlier. After losing three games in 2010, they won two straight national championships and five overall. After losing two games in 2019, they won the national championship with a team many consider the best in college football history. The dynasty has as many lives as a cat, because how many times has someone pronounced them dead after a loss, only to see Alabama turn around and hit the mountaintop again…and again?
Overpaying for giant pretzels
I’m sorry I don’t have a better, less blurry photo of the giant fluffy pretzel you saw at Bryant Denny Stadium this season, but it kinda works better compared to those tabloid photos of Bigfoot, y’know? Ditto for this mammoth concession item that will set you back $14. Yes, $14 for a pretzel. And people bought them in droves all year long. You watch the action on the pitch as another cardboard mega-platter (with a side of beer cheese) invades your periphery, forcing you to contemplate the same purchase. But, you know what? act out It’s game day. Drop $14 for the giant pretzel, $10 for the souvenir soda, $8 for the Dippin Dots, and of course, $9 or $10 for the Tallboy. You still have a chance in Tuscaloosa.
Remember Nick Saban is still your coach
People insist they saw a coach slip in his 16th year at Tuscaloosa. The penalties, which reflect a lack of the required discipline, are what we usually see from his teams. The multiple defeats in a year – but each in the final and by a total of four points. Alabama is still the standard, folks. They’re still recruiting at an insane pace and Nick Saban has hinted at every turn that he intends to continue training for the foreseeable future. Given the precedent we have for how Alabama reacts to bad seasons and what Saban has said about his future, I would say everyone relax, enjoy this win and remember that Nick Saban is your head coach.
Have a much-needed perspective
Saying fans have to lose doesn’t sit as well in Tuscaloosa. No one wants to lose, but when it happens — a rare occurrence for Alabama fans — try to learn from it. Finally, Nick Saban preaches to his players if and when his teams suffer a surprise defeat: don’t waste a loss. Use where you fell short to improve and let that motivate you to achieve your goals next time. But when Alabama loses multiple games and a national title pops off the table, you can breathe easy. Since 2008, when the stakes skyrocketed and remained at their highest, Alabama’s football season has been equal parts joyous and stressful for fans. Saban’s standard of perfection permeated the culture, so Tide believers hoped (and demanded) as much each year, albeit with largely unwavering support. We all deal with defeat differently, after the run we’ve seen under Nick Saban it’s okay to take a step back and realize how good we’ve had it for the past two decades. After all, there is always next year.
READ: How Nick Saban Uses Losses to Fuel Title Runs