Alabama, aka 'Walmart,' has one more display for us on the big stage
What does “Walmart” have in store for us?
The program that Fox Sports radio personality Colin Cowherd compares to the multi-national retail corporation giant squares off against Clemson for the national championship tonight.
However, the team that Cowherd described as “boring” and “vanilla” apparently has something in its milk that brings all the programs, and recruits, to the yard.
The last two schools in particular that Alabama will have faced this season, Clemson and Michigan State, have been open about their attempts to emulate Alabama’s goods in some way. Anyone would be foolish to think there aren’t several other schools who are doing the same.
Meanwhile, we all see where all the top recruits tend to shop.
I guess you could say bland is the new black. But Bama has been anything but a yawn to watch this season.
I can comfortably say I haven’t wasted my time watching workhorse running back Derrick Henry pound a defense into submission on his way to shattering numerous SEC records. I don’t ever wish for three hours of my life back after watching an Alabama game and seeing freshman phenom Calvin Ridley show off his dynamism before wondering what he’s capable of over the next two years.
My eyeballs especially enjoy a hard-hitting, ball-hawking defense rack up half-a-hundred sacks on the season, while a dangerous punt return game takes 5 back to the house (both are the most in the FBS).
The fact is, Cowherd has been yearning for the Tide to recede for some time now.
He once said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn would be a “nightmare” and a “headache” for Alabama. Well, the Tide have won each of the last two matchups by an average of two touchdowns.
Then, it was his declaration that the Alabama dynasty was over after last season’s loss to Ole Miss. Well, the Tide have gone 21-2 since and have a shot at a fourth national title in seven seasons tonight.
Now, Cowherd is reduced to Plan B attacks like what Alabama’s talent does at the next level once it’s no longer playing for the school and it’s under the direction of different coaching staffs.
Back on Dec. 15, he pointed out the fact that a Tide quarterback hadn’t won an NFL game since 1987. Exactly on cue, AJ McCarron won his first career start that following Sunday with the Cincinnati Bengals, a 24-14 road win at the San Francisco 49ers.
McCarron finished the season 2-2 in his first four starts, and he would’ve notched a playoff win this past week in the Bengals’ 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers if he didn’t have two knuckleheads as teammates.
Most incredulous was Cowherd’s criticism on Jan. 1 that Alabama is “boring” and “bad for football.”
“They’re big. They’re powerful. They squish mom and pops. They’re really their own economy,” Cowherd said on his radio show. “But they’re bland. They’re vanilla. They use their employees to build their brand regardless of the employees’ well-being.”
At the moment, Bama may be a roadblock to other programs’ success at times, but Saban’s coaching tree is growing at an exponential rate, and the seeds that have been spread may have a positive impact on several programs not named Alabama long after he’s retired.
Jimbo Fisher has already claimed a national title at Florida State. Then there’s Mark Dantonio at Michigan State, Jim McElwain at Florida, Kirby Smart at Georgia and Will Muschamp at South Carolina to name a few.
There are several like Cowherd that share the opinion of Alabama being boring, the same way fans would say other dynasties like those of the Chicago Bulls or the New England Patriots were boring.
However, is there any doubt that those same fans will be watching tonight in hopes that a team will emerge to keep the Tide from the throne the same way fans would tune in every game to see if Michael Jordan and Co. or Tom Brady and Co. would be stopped?
When it comes to a well-oiled machine, don’t hate. Appreciate how smoothly it runs. Understand the fact that you may not get to see a school dominate a stretch of college football like this for the rest of your lifetime.
Alabama might not consider delving into crazy uniform combos like Oregon. It may not throw it all over the field like Baylor. It may not have “the swag” of programs in the past like Miami.
But for me, and for many others in SEC country, there’s nothing like an overpowering ground game and a debilitating defense.
There’s nothing like old school football.