Worrying About the Tide

If you’re like me, you woke up yesterday morning a tad bit disgusted with yourself for worrying any at all about the BCS title game with Notre Dame.

I try my best to keep worrying about football in perspective. After all the Bible says this about worrying:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

This passage even applies to football, as small as it may be in the whole big scheme of things. So I certainly don’t want to sin by worrying about football, of all things.

But I was a tad bit concerned. I mean, I do like to win and I do hate losing and I really didn’t want to lose to Notre Dame. Thankfully, most of the 37 days between the SEC championship game and the title game were very busy for me personally and I didn’t have a lot of time to think about football, much less worry about it. So I was good on the worrying front for a while.

Also, after going through two previous “off-seasons” between Bama’s last game and the championship game, I knew it was best to avoid as much media as possible to avoid the inevitable overload.

But around Christmas, the schedule slacked up a bit (thankfully) and I could turn more attention to football (and to this blog). I

So I began paying more attention to the media and somewhat got sucked into the idea that Notre Dame had a chance. On Tuesday I began thinking about how they sucked us** in.  Here are a few thoughts:

1) Notre Dame is Notre Dame and the media folk were glad to see them back. The Irish have arguably the top brand in college football and they’ve been mishmash for white a while. The opportunity to hype an undefeated Irish team caused all reason to flee the media.

2) It was Notre Dame vs. Alabama. This was perhaps the best match up the ESPN folks could have imagined. How can a match up between these programs not be hyped to the max and over hyped to the point of hoping for a competitive game?

3) Would Alabama have its “mind right?” This was part of the “dynasty vs. destiny” talk. After all, a hungry-haven’t been-here-in-a-long-time Notre Dame team surely had an emotional advantage over Bama. Fueling this fire was talk of players being sent home and distracted practices. Many Tide fans also remember the cockiness and entitled feeling of the 1992 Miami Hurricanes and were over eager to find any sort of hint of this happening this time around (so, of course, that it could be appropriately snuffed out in plenty of time).

4) Bama was a 10-point favorite. 24-14 or 34-24 would have been a lot different than 42-14. 42-14 is a wood shedding. 24-14 is a much too close game where a turnover or penalty can swing momentum and change the outcome.

In the end, though, our common sense should have prevailed. Alabama was better at every single position group – including linebacker – than the Irish. Notre Dame struggled against some much weaker teams. Alabama’s one loss came against a team quarterbacked by a Heisman winner a week after traveling to LSU and winning in the final moments. And this list could go on.

Before the game, this was one comment I had:

We’re the favorite heading into next Monday’s game.  If both teams play their best, we should win and it might not even be close.  But if we turn the ball over and play spotty on special teams we can expect something similar to the first four games in this series.  And that’s what scares me.

In the end, I think proved to be true.  I just wish I had listened to my own words.

Roll Tide, everyone, and enjoy #15.