Media experts’ picks in CFP “Makes it Perfect” for Alabama. Underdog? Really?
A couple of weeks after the “Kick 6” in November 2013, Colin Cowherd proclaimed that in coming seasons, Gus Malzahn would own Nick Saban. In 2014, Clay Travis declared the Alabama Saban dynasty was over.
Article continues below ...
In 2015, after Ole Miss beat Alabama for the second straight season, Travis declared “So long as Saban’s still in Tuscaloosa the Tide can still be good, but I don’t believe they’ll ever be dominant again.”
Since then, the Tide’s loss of “dominance” has resulted in 26 consecutive victories, two SEC Championships, and a National Championship.
For months, experts have espoused the Tide was a lock to repeat as Champions. In a flash, akin to a lightning spark in a drought dried, pine forest, the echo chamber has flipped. “Bama’s going down” is the new normal.
Negative prognostication was easy to ignore when it was limited to the likes of Cowherd, Travis, Skip Bayless, and numerous Bama-weary Finebaum callers. Credible experts now picking Alabama to lose is difficult to ignore. In an informal sample of 14 Sports Illustrated, CBS, and ESPN professionals, 10 of them picked Clemson to win.
This brings back a long ago memory of a half-time speech by Alabama’s other greatest coach. Alabama was trailing against a lesser foe. Coach Bryant, using his term of the time, could have “fired” several players during the half-time break. On this occasion, the master motivator used a gentler approach.
Bryant’s words were, “This just makes it perfect…we’re behind they’re all fired up.”
Bryant continued by saying that the Tide would win if each eleven on the field “just do their job and give just a little extra effort.” The 2016 team does need media rejection to motivate extra effort to win another championship.
Despite Saban’s efforts to inoculate his players from external factors, his players do not live in a vacuum. They hear the buzz and thanks to the media doubters the national championship favorite is being relegated to an underdog. As coach Bryant said, “This just makes it perfect.”