By this time tomorrow...
we’ll know who the new champion of college football is. By far the most uncomfortable person I’ve seen this week is Coach Nick Saban doing his very best to look like he was happy to be at the required team and coach’s press conference yesterday.
When you win, when you take your team this far there are some mandatory things you must do. You must show up for the hoopla that surrounds such a big game. I’ve only been around coach Saban for an hour or so, but that time and the three years we’ve watched him work his handiwork at Alabama I think I can tell when he’s happy and when he’d rather be anywhere else in the world.
Watching him yesterday with a strained but polite smile, shaking hands with the fine coach of Texas I thought of his pontoon boat over in Georgia. It’s one of the places where he can get away from it all. He only gets away from it all a few days a year, but that boat in that Georgia lake would have been a great hideout for him yesterday. Anything, anything off the practice field takes him away from what he wants to focus on, but only for a little while.
The last time a team from our state played in this big of a game was when Alabama played the Miami Hurricanes in 1992. Miami showed up in New Orleans dressed in camouflaged uniforms. Everyone said they were dressed that way to go into combat. It was sort of impressive looking at the time, that is, until the game started. Alabama made Miami look like F Troop and won the national championship.
What I remember most about that game was the play-by-play work of Keith Jackson. When the game was in the bag for Alabama, Jackson said, “The celebration is about to start in Notasulga.” Anyone not from Alabama had no idea what or where Keith Jackson was talking about. But, everyone in Alabama did. Just about everyone picked the Hurricanes to hammer Alabama and just about everyone was wrong. I wish Keith Jackson could call the game tonight. Others are very good, but he’s the best ever on college football and it would be great to hear his voice on this game.
I didn’t go to Alabama but I’ll always root for the teams from our state when they make it to a game of this magnitude. I hope they win for all the hard work they’ve put into this season. I hope they get this reward for buying into great leadership and following leaders who lead. I hope the young men realize how fortunate they are to practice and prepare under great leaders, believing that all success begins with great leadership.
Whatever happens tonight, it will be a good night for college athletics. Mack Brown is a great coach and from everything I’ve ever seen or heard is a good man who loves his players and loves the game. Yesterday he said his team is honored to play a great team like Alabama. He said if his team loses the game, they’ll go home and start working on next year, that’s what good coaches and teams do. Being a good loser or being a good winner requires great character.
I wish I knew more about football. I’d make some great prediction of the final score tonight. I’d use all my experience and knowledge of the game and give you the score before they even tee it up tonight. However it goes, about 11:00 tonight the party will start in a bunch of small towns in Alabama or Texas. I’ll be anchoring our newscast tonight at 10:00. If you watch, let me say thanks in advance. If you’re watching me at 10:00, you might be the only one.
Alabama 28, Texas 21
See you tonight at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00
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