This Alabama Football Team Needs an Exclamation Mark, not a Question Mark
By Larry Burton
Two national championships in a row with impressive beat down wins over teams the media thought could put up a good fight. Those were exclamation mark wins. They showed the world that on those two nights, the gap between the top two teams at the end of the regular season were not just miles apart, but an ocean apart.
But the last two seasons as a whole ended with big question marks that may have eclipsed that exclamation.
The questions were asked and rightfully so. They were, if they were so impressive winning the title, why did they need so much help to get to the game in the first place? Why can’t this team play like that every game?
Nick Saban doesn’t need another championship to cement his legacy. He’s got that.
But there are a lot of players who would finally like to end the season with an exclamation mark, just like the 2009 team did. That season the Tide went undefeated and needed no help in making the championship game. There were twelve opponents and twelve wins, then an SEC beat down that embarrassed Florida before kicking Texas to the curb.
That was an exclamation season if ever there was one.
And no matter how bad the Tide beat down LSU and Notre Dame in the last two championships, it didn’t make them invincible.
Now to this year.
This Alabama team has the talent this year to right back in the national title game. If they go wire to wire, no team despite huge blowout wins or Cinderella story lines will knock them out of their chance for this third championship in a row. All this Crimson Tide team has to do is simply take care of business. They have to do for 12 regular season games and one SEC Championship Game.
Then this group of seniors can go out on top with their own exclamation season. For players like AJ McCarron and CJ Moseley who decided to stay for their senior seasons, it will be a season well spent. It will be a season that will end with a group of men leaving a school with four national championship rings and a legacy that will be unmatched for a program that is already one of the most storied programs in the history of college football.
While covering the SEC Championship, in the locker room with celebrating players after the game, I asked Chance Warmack, probable first round draft pick at guard in this season’s NFL draft, “Does it get any better than this?”
And he said, “This game showed what this team can do. We should have played like that all season, (maybe thinking of the Texas A&M game which they lost in a close one) but we did what we had to do in this game… We needed help to get back to the championship game but we’re going to go into that game like we finished this one.”
And the combination of coaching, talent on the team and an easier than normal schedule, this year’s squad may not end the season with such thoughts. They could make this season one like the 2009 season, an undefeated, untied and unquestioned national champion.
And in story book fashion, the only way to end such a run, if it doesn’t continue, is with an exclamation mark.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter