Friday, December 21, 2012
Would Tide reign if fire rains down today?
By Alex Scarborough
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Take a moment to look away from the fire raining down outside your windows. Try to focus over the howling of your pets. Turn off the utter meltdown on the 24-hour-news networks and enjoy the final moments of the apocalypse.
The Mayans were right. The reckoning is upon us and all that's left to do is read this lousy obituary. We're all goners: you, your neighbors, that guy at the supermarket who remembered your preference of paper over plastic. Even Alabama football is gone. It's a shame really, with the national championship just 17 days away. Would there have been a better place to ride out the end of days than Miami?
That's what we're here to document. We've got the Crimson Tide. Leave the rest to the vultures.
If we're all going down today, why not go out wearing some Houndstooth like the Bear would have wanted.
How will Alabama be remembered when the seedlings of life sprout from our scorched Earth and the next wave of mankind takes to recording history? What will the prognosticators remember of the school with the most championships in all of college football? The argument will likely land somewhere between the discussion of the best president not named Lincoln and whether or not high fructose corn syrup was a real thing.
Was Paul "Bear" Bryant the best college football coach of all time? He was third on the wins list, but had a higher winning percentage than the two coaches ahead of him.
Was Nick Saban the best active coach? He was poised to win a fourth national championship after all. Some argue he was a machine anyway. Maybe he'll survive all this and hit the recruiting trail after the NCAA's dead period ends.
Who was the best player of all time? The best running back? The best quarterback? Was Trent Richardson better than Mark Ingram? What about Shaun Alexander? Would T.J. Yeldon have gotten the better of them all if he had four years to do it? Would Kirby Smart ever have become a head coach?
All questions best left to the next generation, the next group of suckers to attempt to quantify total wins versus quality wins. Maybe there will be a statistician the likes of Bill James to sort it all out with a "Strength of Schedule" for the new age.
Surely talk-radio jockeys will be one of the first things to make a comeback in the new age. Like cockroaches, those guys cannot be killed no matter the terror raining down around them. The Saban-to-the-NFL rumors will not end even after everything has ended.
At some point the good folks on the AM dial will turn to the battered terrain of Tuscaloosa and try to put in perspective the program built on its once-fertile soil. They'll look at the charred remnants of Ingram's Heisman Trophy and wonder why that bronze fellow was wearing a leather helmet. Maybe they'll settle once and for all just how many championships Alabama should claim. Good luck with that, fellas.
Here's how the Alabama football program should be remembered: As one of the best ever built. Some schools had their runs. Nebraska had a dynasty under Tom Osborne. Florida had its turn in the spotlight under Steve Spurrier. Notre Dame was the class of college football under Knute Rockne. Alabama had not just one, but two runs. Bryant had his turn, winning six titles. Then, after a brief resurgence and Gene Stallings' 1992 championship, Saban took over and became the best college football had to offer.
Alabama didn't invent football, nor was it the first school to flourish at the sport. But it was the last one standing when the music stopped. Yes, Notre Dame would be No. 1 in the final BCS Standings, and Alabama No. 2. But with two titles in three years and a chance at three in four on the horizon, who would argue that Alabama wasn't the best team of its time? After all, one can only hope the BCS system doesn't survive this apocalypse. The need for debate, though, will never end.
So if you wake up tomorrow and the sun is shining, your dog is wagging its tail and the 24-hour-news channels are still melting down, be glad. Alabama football is not dead. College football is not gone. And in just a few weeks you'll get to see a national championship game that you'll remember for the rest of your lifetime.