Life is good in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide are the defending national champions and they have started this season 5-0 after crushing the Kentucky Wildcats. There is plenty of reason to party.
The drink of choice at this party is what should terrify Tide fans. The concoction is made up of arrogance, self-adulation, and narcissism.
Since coming to Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban has been a no-nonsense disciplinarian and it has paid off. Saban has guided Bama to four National Championships and four SEC titles. In the process, Alabama has transformed into the kingdom of college football. So Saban and company are drinking up.
Alabama has developed a problem though. The first sign of the problem began when Cam Robinson was arrested on gun and marijuana charges over the summer. Saban did not suspend Robinson, but defended him. The fist sign of a serious problem is usually an arrest.
I’m not going to convict him in public,” Saban said. “I was going to get criticized by you and the public and the media because I’m not going to suspend him and I don’t really care about that. That’s the end of the conversation.”
Saban made those comments while auguring with a radio host on ESPN television. Saban didn’t seem to understand the new precedent he was setting. Saban’s position for not suspending Robinson was, Robinson and a teammate were the only people involved that were arrested. Other suspects were let go. Like it or not, Robinson did have the gun and weed. When Saban decided against disciplining Robinson, he sent a message to his team. Don’t let others ruin the mood.
He let Robinson slide, and he then let Lane Kiffin slide. Kiffin spent the entire summer taunting opponents on twitter. Saban let Kiffin continue to drink the ego juice. Maybe because Saban himself has begun to overindulge.
This year Saban has taken to lecturing the local newspapers with his multiple weekly press conferences. Saban doesn’t simply answer questions anymore, he takes the time to belittle reporters every chance he gets. Saban’s contemptuous attitude only proves the problem is team wide, not just limited to a few.
Saban even used his bully pulpit to admonish red-shirt freshman Blake Barnett for transferring.
“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said on his weekly radio show, via AL.com. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through.”
Excessive drinking can cause short and long term memory loss. During the same summer when Robinson was arrested, Saban was criticized for preventing Maurice Smith from transferring to Georgia. So he didn’t get the memo. Saban himself left the Dolphins during a contract for Alabama. Like most drunk people, he is unaware how his behavior is being perceived by others.
This past week Tim Williams busted for having a unregistered gun and marijuana. He was suspended for the first half of the 34-6 win against the Kentucky Wildcats. A first half suspension for an unregistered gun and a dumb lie involving Brandon Chicken, is not exactly discipline.
Now Alabama did win, and as stated earlier Alabama has a 5-0 record. However all this drinking may be prevent the Tide from winning a national championship.
Next on their schedule is a visit to underrated Arkansas (who’s fullback was arrested on alcohol charges). If they can pass that test, they will travel to Knoxville and play #9 Tennessee. Texas A & M who is also undefeated will be waiting for them when Bama returns home. Should they lose any of those games it won’t be because of talent, but the size of their own ego. An atmosphere of discipline creates focus. That focus is what propels teams to championships, not talent. Alabama is losing their focus.
SEC rivals are not the only teams Alabama should be wary of. Clemson just defeated a great Louisville team, who has the top Heisman candidate at quarterback. Houston is still undefeated and thumping their weak opponents into submission. Alabama’s biggest test could come from the northwest. Washington annihilated Stanford 44-6, almost completely erasing Christian McCaffrey’s chance to take home the Heisman. That performance was eyeopening and Washington is starting to gain national attention.
Don’t forget about the Big 10. Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State are still undefeated. Ohio State is coached by Saban’s only coaching rival Urban Meyer. Saban can’t afford to face Meyer during a playoff game with a hangover. If he does, it will be a repeat of the last time those teams met in the playoffs.
Alabama maybe undefeated and have certainly looked dominant. Yet the real challenges are about to begin. If Bama won’t sober up, they will be watching the playoffs from Tuscalossa.