Roll Tide Roll

As we are closing in on the 2013 college football season, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have a chance to do something no collegiate program has done in since the AP Poll era started, win four national championships in five years.  Alabama fans might be dreaming, but the way things are going at The Capstone right now, another championship could very well be just a few months away.  The Tide should indeed make it back to the BCS title game this upcoming year. After all, they appear to have everything going their way. In the last four seasons, Alabama has won three BCS titles—two of them after suffering November losses.  Here are a few reasons why the Tide will be raising another crystal ball in January.

1:Nick Saban

It is without a doubt that Nick Saban has put himself in the category of the greatest college coaches of all time. On top of winning a trio of BCS titles in just six years at Alabama, his overall record over the last five seasons is an amazing 61-7.  Saban is just on another level it all phases of coaching.  He recruits better, he coaches better, and has a excellent coaching staff.  Not surprising coming from a guy who was once on Bill Bellichick’s staff when Bellichick was the coach for the Browns.

2. Easy Scheduling

It’s no secret that Alabama has had favorable scheduling in the past.  LSU coach Les Miles pointed out that LSU and Auburn, both SEC West teams, play much harder SEC teams than Bama.  Since 2000, LSU has played Florida and Georgia — two of the East’s best programs — a total of 17 times. Auburn has played those two teams 19 times, while Alabama has played them only eight times.  And this upcoming year is not much different.  Bama opens the season against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome, a game in which the Tide should win easily.  After a bye week, Bama heads to College Station for a rematch with Johnny Football and the Texas A&M Aggies. This will be the toughest game of the year.  They will only face one pre season top 25 team in the regular season, a home game against LSU. If Saban’s bunch overcomes Texas A&M, only LSU and the SEC Championship Game will stand in the way of another berth in the BCS National Championship Game.

3. AJ MaCarron

Quarterback AJ MaCarron has been the quarterback for two whole seasons, both resulting in national championships. His overall record now stands at 25-2. With the experienced staff he will have surrounding him, McCarron is close to being the first quarterback to win three consecutive national titles.   He has been labeled as a game manager, but aren’t quarterbacks supposed to manage the game?  Yes, he a lot of talent coming back, but that is still his offense and his team. 

4. Intimidation

This factor was visibly noticeable in the national championship game against Notre Dame last January.  When Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead, you knew the Irish had no chance.  They had little idea what they were up against or how to stop it.  It is the mystique, or the aura that surrounds that team.  Much like the Yankees or the Bulls of the 90’s, this team has an edge to it, and knows how to use it to their advantage.   Debatable though it may be, the Irish lost to Alabama in part because they didn’t believe they could beat the Tide. The complete dominance that Alabama has held over the rest of the country for the last half-decade is to the point where it provides the Tide with an advantage in just about every single game.

The mystique, the aura, the uniform…

Whatever it is, Alabama has it right now.

Best Games of the 2000’s

Recently on Twitter, I was strolling down through my timeline and saw that the account of College Gameday posted a question: What were the best college football games of the 2000’s? Even though we’re in 2013, I still love to look back at that era of college football.  I’ve narrowed a long list down to five.

5: Florida at Miami 2003

This game I actually had the chance to attend, and what a classic it was.  The Canes were coming off back to back national championship game appearances and when the Gators came to town in the second week of the 2003 season, Miami was ranked third in the country.  A crowd of over 90,000 packed into the Orange Bowl and immediately went into a frenzy when Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.  The Canes fans were then stunned when the Gators went on the attack and held a 33-10 lead halfway through the third quarter.  That’s when quarterback Brock Berlin led one of the greatest comebacks in Miami history.  When Frank Gore scored the go ahead touchdown with minutes to play, the Gators knew there was no chance of a game winning drive.  Sean Taylor then picked off Chris Leak and the Hurricanes won 38-33.

4: Michigan at Ohio State 2006

In probably the most hyped regular season game of all time, these two bitter rivals put on a show for the ages.  Coming into the game, Ohio State was ranked number one and Michigan was number two.  The stakes couldn’t get any higher, the winner would advance to the national championship game.  Led by Heisman trophy winner Troy Smith, who threw four touchdowns, the Buckeyes exploded for 42 points.  Chad Henne led a very efficient attack for the Wolverines, but only managed 39 points.  In the end, the two teams put up a combined 900 total yards of offense and the Buckeyes managed to escape to the championship game. 

3: USC at Notre Dame 2005

This was the last time that both USC and Notre Dame were good enough to make it to BCS games. Perhaps that’s the reason this game was such a good one. USC was coming into South Bend as the number one team in the country and looking for their third straight national championship.  Notre Dame was ranked eighth in the country behind star quarterback Brady Quinn.  A back and forth game had the Irish up by three with 1:44 left.  Then with 1:30 left, the Irish had the Trojans facing a 4th and 9 with the season on the line.  I really thought to myself that this was the end for this great dynasty, until Matt Leinart found Dwayne Jarrett who took it to the Irish 12 yard line.  Then with seven seconds to go, Leinart snuck it in to the endzone, with Reggie Bush pushing him in for the win.

2: Boise State vs Oklahoma 2006

it was a classic David vs. Goliath on the national stage. It had comebacks, trick plays, overtime and a stunning finish. Down 28-35 and on 4th and 18, the Broncos had one last chance to tie the game with 18 seconds left. The Broncos fooled the Sooners with a classic hook and lateral play that allowed Boise State to tie the game at 35-35. Oklahoma went first in overtime and running back Adrian Peterson scored on the very first play on a 25-yard run into the end zone to give the Sooners the lead 42-35.  On 4th-and-2 from the Sooners’ 5-yard line, the Broncos fooled Oklahoma again as Vinny Perretta, lined up as a running back, took the direct snap and made the touchdown throw to tight end Derek Schouman. The Broncos fooled the Sooners one last time with a perfectly executed Statue of Liberty play that led to running back Ian Johnson running untouched into the end zone to win the game 43-42.  Then, Johnson proposed to his girlfriend on the sideline, who was a Bronco cheerleader. 

1: Texas vs USC

The greatest game, maybe in the history of college football.  National Championship, Rose Bowl, doesn’t get any bigger.  Coming into this game, USC was on a 34-game win streak and Texas was on a 19-win streak. There was no question that these were the two best teams in America, and the buildup for this game was massive.  It featured maybe the two best players of that era, Vince Young and Reggie Bush. Young played out of his head that day. He passed for 267 yards and ran for 200 more. But his most memorable is when on 4th-and-5 from the 9-yard line with only 26 seconds left in the game, Young ran untouched into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.