Back when the Big Ten first said they were not going to play football, I made the joke that it really didn’t matter because before they made that announcement we knew a Big Ten team wouldn’t win the national championship and after the announcement we were still sure there wouldn’t be a Big Ten team bringing home that prize.
I’m writing this column prior to the 2020 national championship, so I don’t know if that’s true or not. I mean Ohio State looked good against Clemson, but then again Clemson is an ACC team and the ACC did go 0-6 in the bowls this year.
But whoever did win, it really doesn’t matter, and that’s the problem with being an Alabama fan. You get spoiled and then it gets worse.
Each win means a little less, each loss means a little more, then none of it means anything at all.
I’ve found that happens with a lot of things, not just football.
It’s weird because all of my favorite memories of watching Alabama football all took place during years where they didn’t win a national championship, some of them I don’t even think they had a winning season.
Here are my top three best memories:
Oct. 1, 2005 – Alabama vs. Florida – Bryant-Denny Stadium
We had made our way to our usual bench in the upper bowl of the student section. It’s not there anymore since the home of the Crimson Tide has been renovated. The Gators had gone three-and-out and it was Bama’s first play from scrimmage. Brodie Croyle drops back and hits Tyrone Prothro for an 87-yard touchdown pass. We all saw it happen, but it took us a full three seconds to believe what we just saw. Then the place went nuts. My buddy ended up 15 rows down after falling, hugging, high-fiving everybody in the stands on his way down. I’m not sure how nobody died.
Oct. 22, 2005 – Alabama vs. Tennessee – Bryant-Denny Stadium
It was cold. It was rainy and each team had only managed to score three points each. Tennessee was threatening to score with about five minutes left in the game. We were on our usual bench and the action was taking place on the other side of the stadium. We saw Rick Clausen complete a pass to Cory Anderson. We saw Anderson run into the end zone and we saw the ball go flying out of the back. But it took a good five minutes to figure out exactly what happened. In that five minutes we went from a state of total dejection and disbelief to a euphoric state of disbelief. Alabama would go on the win the game 6-3 after driving down the field after the turnover. Later, DeMeco Ryans would seal the win with an interception to end the game.
Oct. 25, 2009 – Alabama vs. Tennessee – Bryant-Denny Stadium
This is one of the few memories that come from a national championship run. Somehow I found the two seats in the stadium surrounded by Tennessee fans. Fortunately, they had all been leaving, giving up, but then the Vols started driving down the field for a game-winning field goal. Tennessee had the ball on the Alabama 28-yard line. It was third down, but there was no time left. They had to try the game-winning field goal. Well lucky me, all the Vol fans that had been leaving had all stopped and decided to crowd every inch of available space that surrounded my seat. I had been an Alabama fan long enough to know how this was going to end – horribly. The ball was snapped. The hold was good. The kick runs right into the hand of Mount Cody. The silence that surrounded me at that moment was golden. I probably could’ve meditated and reached enlighten in that moment.
One of the things I’ve missed most during this pandemic is the ability to get out and experience things in person. Hopefully, that’ll change soon and I can update my list.