Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Seasons of Change: How the Tide Turned

Jan 7, 2010, Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy (12) reacts after the 2010 BCS National Championship against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl. Alabama defeated Texas 37-21. Photo via Newscom
When the 2010 home football season begins at the University of Alabama, Bryant-Denny Stadium will seat 101,070 fans. The expansion project that totals $65 million and added 8,932 seats will be “official” when Alabama tangles with San Jose State on Sept. 4.

In addition to stadium expansion, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team will enter the new season as defending SEC champions, and national champions.

The Crimson Tide will also return running back Mark Ingram, who just happens to be the defending Heisman Trophy winner. Ingram also happens to be the first Heisman winner in school history.

Oh…and the statue. The infamous Nick Saban statue will be unveiled later this year in honor of the 2009 national championship coach. With his “bronze honor,” Nick Saban will officially take his place as one of the many championship coaches to lead the University of Alabama football program.

So…how did all of this happen?

At the end of the 2007 season Alabama was an average football team. At the end of the 2009 season Alabama held the crystal football on the floor of the famed Rose Bowl.

University of Alabama football historians will certainly point to many defining moments which “turned the TIDE” and allowed Alabama to recapture the glory of yesteryear. However, I point to a single date and arguably the worst loss in modern day Alabama history.

**Nov. 17, 2007…Louisiana-Monroe 21 Alabama 14**

Alabama was considered to be a 25+ point favorite against the Warhawks, but instead suffered one of the worst upsets in school history. In the darkest moment of the Nick Saban coaching era at Alabama…the Crimson Tide would turn the corner.

The very next week Alabama would fall once again to a very strong Auburn team in the Iron Bowl. However, the Crimson Tide would defeat Colorado in the Independence Bowl to end the ’07 season.

The rest they say…is history.

Since the start of the 2008 campaign, Alabama has a record of 26-2 overall. The only losses during this period have come to Florida in the 2008 SEC title game, and to Utah in the Sugar Bowl…the very next game. The most notable wins of the 26, have been the 2009 SEC title, and the 2009 BCS national title.

In respect to regular season games and home games, Alabama hasn’t lost a regular season contest or a home contest since Nov. 17, 2007…against Louisiana-Monroe.

The question of what turned Alabama in the right direction doesn’t have a definitive answer. The simple hiring of Nick Saban could be the answer that many Tide fans support...and that answer would certainly be MORE than valid.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during a press conference after winning the Citi BCS National Championship game over the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. The Crimson Tide defeated the Longhorns 37-21. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
However, when it comes to a single day or moment in time, Nov. 17, 2007 will be a day Tide fans should remember…for the better.

Before you can claim greatness, you must first know what it feels like to be embarrassed. Nov. 17, 2007...the day modern greatness was born courtesy of humiliation and defeat.

The University of Alabama is a football juggernaut thanks to Nick Saban, and many of the best players in the nation.

However, give a call to Monroe, Louisiana and tell them thank you. Many times the ultimate coaching tool...is found in public humiliation and utter disgrace.

The "TIDE has turned" and the seasons have changed. The public humilation of 2007 has been transformed into the public recognition of today.


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