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Unbeaten Alabama inspires championship dreams.
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Like Republicans who’ve spent 20 years vainly seeking a worthy successor to Ronald Reagan, Alabama fans have suffered mightily during their long quest to return to the glories of the Bryant epoch. Yet as with Reagan’s legacy, the Tide tradition lives on.
Bill Curry once explained the value of that tradition: “You can put that crimson jersey on anybody — he may not be a great athlete — and he will play his heart out. He becomes somebody else on Saturday. You can work the team harder than the norm, and nobody will quit. A kid can’t quit and go home to Dothan and say to his dad, ‘I just quit the Crimson Tide.’”
In his second season as ‘Bama’s head coach, Saban has had remarkable success with a very young team (20 players in the two-deep lineup are freshmen or sophomores). The Tide has already clinched a spot in the Dec. 6 SEC championship game against Florida (currently ranked No. 2 by the AP).
Despite their undefeated record, Alabama’s season has been a nail-biter. The Tide barely beat Kentucky, 17-14, and Ole Miss, 24-20, and it took an overtime touchdown to defeat LSU 27-21. My brother, who underwent quadruple bypass surgery in February, called me during the LSU game to complain, “Don’t they know I’ve got a bad heart?”
Even with Alabama ranked No. 1 in the country, Saban can’t relax, because he hasn’t beaten Auburn yet. Though the Tigers are a woeful 5-6 coming into the Saturday’s game, they’ll be fired up for Alabama and — this being the SEC, where upsets are not unusual — nobody expects this year’s “Iron Bowl” to be a walkover. But ‘Bama fans definitely expect something better than a sixth consecutive defeat at the hands of their hated rivals, and it would be a sad thing if bricks through the coach’s window became a Tuscaloosa tradition. Roll Tide.
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