This is being number one in a totally different way for Alabama and this time, no one can deny it.
On the Cusp of Being the Best of All Time
By: Larry Burton
Risking sounding condescending, for those who aren’t as literate, on this Christmas day, no word so describes the Crimson Tide as “cusp” right now. Your dictionary may describe cusp as “a point of transition (as from one historical period to the next) : turning point or edge, verge; <on the cusp of greatness>. It is a line that once crossed can never by turned back.
The history of college football is filled with teams that had their moment in the sun. Fewer institutions have had a sustained run or strung together several seasons on top. Even fewer teams have accomplished what Alabama is on the verge of doing this season, winning three championships in four years. Notre Dame in the 40’s and Nebraska in the 90’s each pulled this off and others have had three championships over longer periods, but no team has been been to the top of mountain more than Alabama when it comes to dynasty talk.
Alabama ruled the early days of the Rose Bowl to make a name for themselves, then decades later had runs in the 60’s and 70’s under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. They should have had a three peat in that run in the 60’s but the voters decided not to give it to them despite an undefeated season and the best record that year. Still those two back to back championships in consecutive decades placed them in the elite status.
But by climbing back to the pinnacle as they have now, they stand on the cusp of not only claiming to be the best college football team in America today, but are staking their claim as the best program of all time. They will be crossing a line that no other team has had the chance to even step up to or dream of crossing.
While other teams in the future will battle for championships, it may take decades if not hundreds of years for another school to take the mantle of “Best” from Alabama. It won’t be something that can be taken away by a single season or a short run of seasons by any team. In the present day of parity in college football, it may not happen again.
This is not about placing Nick Saban in the conversation as the greatest coach in college football history, though that will be debated too. This is all about Alabama the institution. Saban is simply adding his stones and mortar to a monument that has been under construction for over a hundred years.
The glory years of the Rose Bowl put Alabama into national attention. Back to back national championships in the 60’s and 70’s placed Alabama into the status of the teams mention when they refer to college football’s great institutions and this latest run now places them atop all others as the best of all time. There simply is no other team with so much time in the realm of dynasty talk and no team that ever sat on top of the heap as long or been there in so many different decades as this Alabama program.
For Alabama fans now living in this time and enjoying this run of great results, many may not be realizing the line that is about to be crossed, the leap that this team is about to take into history and the status that this team will now take with fans of schools who do not wish well for this Crimson Tide. After this game, all and some with exceeding grudging, will have to acknowledge Alabama as the best of all time. It will no longer be a debate, but a fact that must be accepted.
That cusp is about to be crossed.