Curing the Crimson Tide’s November cursePublished 9:27am Tuesday, November 13, 2012
What is it about Nick Saban and November home games lately? In 2010 arch rival Auburn came back from 24 points down on the road to defeat Alabama and knock the Tide out of a BCS bowl game. In 2011, there was the Tuscaloosa field goal fest versus LSU. Then last Saturday night, the Tide was dazzled by the fleet footed Johnny Football and Texas A&M.
Three straight years of powerful, NFL laden teams are beaten at home in the month of November. Could it be that the vaunted “Fourth Quarter” workout program leaves the Tiders with dead legs just before Thanksgiving? Are the pressures of staying on top of the college football world weighing heavy on the ‘Bama players? Do Saban’s guest motivational speakers take a pre-Christmas vacation around this time every year?
It’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly what is wrong in Tuscaloosa if there is really anything wrong at all. Let’s not forget that while Alabama did lose the three aforementioned games, each was to a pretty powerful ball club. None of these was exactly an upset of Louisiana Tech proportions from the 1999 season.
That said (or written), it is puzzling to understand how a team that seemed so focused all year came out so flat Saturday night. I am sure hurry up offense supporters will crow that the early huge lead means the SEC can’t keep with this new fad. However, if that is true, how did the Tide hold the Aggies to only nine points for three quarters after giving up that huge advantage?
Let me cut to the chase, make like Huey Lewis and bring you “the news’’: This loss is just another example of life in the meat grinder that is the Southeastern Conference.
Alabama just had a stretch of SEC games against an undefeated Mississippi State (hard to imagine they were 7-0 at one time, huh?), a road trip to an upset horde of Cajuns in LSU and another home game against arguably the hottest player in the country. How many teams in this great country would come out of that terrible threesome unscathed?
Granted, two weeks ago the Tide was looking so good that the popular question was if Alabama could beat an NFL team. First of all only a fool would take that bet. Secondly, I feel quite certain Nick Saban did all he could to quash that talk.
Instead of bashing Alabama for losing, I think a ton of credit needs to go to Texas A&M for winning. The Aggies could have looked as shell-shocked as Missouri in trying to navigate the treacherous SEC but instead they have compiled an amazing 8-2 record so far. For this group of new kids on the block to go 4-0 on the road in this league is just outstanding.
As a side note, For those who think Alabama’s loss equates to the SEC’s run of dominance coming to an end, I would beg to differ. The SEC may not extend their national title streak, but that doesn’t mean the league is getting weaker by any stretch. While I cheered for the Tide Saturday, I am excited as an SEC fan that one of new league members is adding to our conference’s strength instead of just cashing a huge check (Yes, I am looking at you Missouri).
So now Alabama is left to wait and hope other teams ahead of them lose just like they did in 2011. Things worked out for the Tide then and if ‘Bama could sneak its way back to the BCS title game, I certainly would not wager against them.
Regardless of how this season winds up, though, Coach Saban will undoubtedly spend much of his summer wondering how to cure Alabama’s November curse.
Robinson is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.