The University of Alabama is officially back. After seeing 17 long years since its last national championship win, Nick Saban and The Crimson Tide bring home to Tuscaloosa, Alabama the shiny, sparkly football-shaped trophy. This win gives Alabama a total of eight championship titles in the university’s long history.
Although it was not the best game based on technical merits, it was definitely a night rife with drama and suspense. Shortly after the kick off the Longhorns came out of the locker rooms ready to rumble and within minutes scored two field goals in quick succession. To Alabama’s blazing defense’s credit, that was all Texas was able to pull out of those two drives and the mighty Tide held ground merely yards from the end zone denying Texas to score.
After such a strong Texas start and with The Tide appearing to be somewhat still groggy about even being there, tragedy struck Texas; after just five snaps and a six point lead, quarterback Colt McCoy, heralded as being the winningest QB in the history of college football, was hit.
Initially, when McCoy went down, it did not look like a hard hit. I’d gotten up to refresh my beverage only to return and see him exiting the field. Rewinding the footage, I still could not understand how, in what seemed to be just a run of the mill point of contact could result in his having to leave the game – permanently. As he walked from the field, the way he held the arm I first thought perhaps it was a collar bone injury. It only takes eight pounds of pressure applied in the right way to snap your collar bone. Certainly over the years when my guy moto-crossed I’d seen plenty of action with broken collar bones. It turned out McCoy suffered no broken bones of any kind.
So even without anything actually broken, save perhaps the hearts of the Texas team mates and Texas fans, not to mention the disappointment that must have been crushing for McCoy, he was pulled from the game. Sadly for Colt McCoy the shoulder injured was his throwing arm which made null his desire to see his college years end with a BCS championship. According to later sideline interviews McCoy said his arm felt ‘dead’ like it had gone to sleep, he felt no pain. Hopefully for him it will be found to be something non-career threatening as prior to this he was slated to hit the pros with several teams interested in him.
Taking over after McCoy left the field, true Freshman Garrett Gilbert was handed the weighty responsibility of trying to make a win happen against that powerful Nick Saban built defense. I have to say, to his credit, Gilbert showed a lot of grit and tons of heart. He certainly, there for a while at least, had me concerned as to whether we were going to see, in the midst of the drama behind McCoy’s injury and the story of Saban’s role in bringing back the Crimson Tide, a new story emerge. The kid found his stride and managed to throw two touchdown passes. Gilbert was showing all the signs of a Cinderella Boy in the making; that glass Nike fitting his likely size 10 foot looming a distinct possibility in the kid’s future. Garrett while certainly giving me pause for concern, because although it would have been one brilliant story, my heart was set on seeing The Tide come do what it came to do – bring home that win.
It seems though Fate was inspired and propelled toward The Crimson Tide much like those stars that fell on Alabama. In a game not noteworthy for a great show of excellent football, but rather reading almost like some scripted movie, there seems to have been Destiny Apparent guiding Saban and his team. Considering that this season brought the school’s first Heisman trophy winner in Mark Ingram and this being the first time in almost two decades Bama had the type of season to win the championship bowl; rolling down to the end, in those final few closing minutes, the inevitability of what the Football Fates had in mind all along became apparent: this was, indeed, The Crimson Tide’s year.
The Stars Fell on Alabama
If you’ve not read this book, I recommend it. Carl Carmer, born in 1893 in Cortland, New York, came to The University of Alabama in 1927 after completing graduate work at Harvard University. His experiences in Alabama led to this best-selling book, Stars Fell on Alabama.