Pretty good piece from Jane Coaston at the NY Times reminding us that beating any Alabama team during the Saban era is an accomplishment.
On Monday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the Georgia Bulldogs for the national championship in college football. Which was different from four years ago, when Alabama defeated Georgia for the title. Since 2010, Alabama has appeared in the title game nine times and won six of them. Since the College Football Playoff system was instituted in the 2014-2015 season, in part to produce a more competitive environment that would let the non-Alabamas of the world aim for a title, Alabama has competed in six title games and won three.
How good is this team? On Monday night, Georgia beat Alabama for its first national title since 1980. Georgia was fantastic — way better than my Michigan Wolverines, which Georgia crushed in the national semifinal game on New Year’s Eve — and has every chance of being extremely good next season, too. But that very same night, ESPN senior writer Mark Schlabach released his top 25 rankings for the upcoming season and put Georgia third. In first place? Alabama. Because, in general, if there is a college football season taking place, Alabama is going to be either the best team competing, or it’ll be playing the team that is in the national championship. The Tide is as certain as, well, the tide.
She goes on to call Alabama a “behemoth”, which is an apt description: “And Alabama, like any good villain, is fully sentient, always learning, always improving, always finding new and even more terrifying ways to decimate its opponents.”
And this is particularly telling:
I need to be clear here for those of you who do not follow college football: For the last decade, Alabama has been so good that it has become almost more of a concept than a team. There’s a habit some fans of other college football teams have of chanting, “We want Bama!” or wielding signs bearing the same words at games where their team is winning, because the truest sign of superiority wouldn’t be to beat the team you’re already beating — it would be to beat Alabama.
You can beat Nick Saban, but you can’t hope to contain him.