Any time the Crimson Tide lose a game, it is going to be difficult. For most football programs, a 12-1 record and BCS bowl win would be a great season. However, for Tide fans who have become accustomed to winning under Nick Saban, anything less than a national championship seems like a failure.
So it is easy to understand why Tide fans feel like the season went down the drain this past weekend in the Iron Bowl. Add to that the pain of their only defeat coming at the hands of the hated Auburn Tigers, and the pain is that much more real.
The 2013 season might be remembered as the season of “what ifs.” What if the Tide didn’t miss four field goals? What if the Tide would have gotten that one yard on two tries in the fourth quarter? What if the Chris Davis of the Auburn Tigers just stepped 1/18 of an inch closer to the sideline and stepped out of bounds?
Alabama would be two wins away from its third consecutive national championship.
The reality is that none of those things happened and the Crimson Tide are not going to reach their goals for this season. However, that does not diminish the future and what the Tide have built.
After the emotion passes and the reality returns to the surface, a few facts remain. First, the Crimson Tide have the most talented and deep roster in college football. Moreover, they have the nation’s top recruiting class for 2014 heading toward Tuscaloosa.
Secondly, the Tide have been the best program in college football over the past six seasons, and it is not even close.
They have won 10 or more games for six straight years and will play in their fifth BCS bowl game in six seasons. In the league’s most difficult conference, they have still been head and shoulders above their peers.
There is no denying the pain of defeat is real. It’s perhaps the most painful in recent memory. However, Coach Saban has not just built the Tide for a game or season. He has built the mighty Tide up for the future as well.
One thing we have learned about the SEC while Nick Saban has been at Alabama: Teams come and teams go, but the Tide are here to stay.
The Tide will lose several key contributors this season, most notably quarterback A.J. McCarron and linebacker C.J. Mosley. However, as spectacular as they have been, they will be replaced. That is the beauty of the Crimson Tide: No one player is bigger than the program.
You will never see the Tide experience what Florida did when Tim Tebow departed or when Cam Newton left Auburn. The Alabama trophy case might never have a bunch of Heisman trophies, but for the foreseeable future, it will have several new championship additions.
Perhaps the best way to put it is this: All teams have bad days, but the Tide never have two in a row.
So Auburn will have its season of destiny. Others might catch the Tide with the perfect storm from time to time. However, the dynasty of the Crimson Tide is still very much in place, and this is just another step in the process.
With a four-team playoff on the horizon it is going to be near impossible to stop the Tide from winning multiple national championships in the coming years. An SEC team might catch Alabama on a bad during the regular season. However, they will likely still make the playoffs with one loss.
Think they can beat the Tide twice in one season? In other words, the pause button might have got pushed on Saturday, but the dynasty is far from over.
Dr. SEC has a weekly radio program, The Waiting Room with Dr. SEC, that broadcast on 14 stations across five states and also has a daily radio program that airs on Bama Sports Radio. His daily writings are syndicated to newspapers and magazines. Visit his website at www.drsec.org and follow him on twitter attwitter.com/thedrsec