Among the questions that arose immediately following Alabama's win over Georgia in the College Football Playoff was one of longevity – both in regards to Alabama's already-extended position at the top of the sport, and also in regards to Nick Saban's remaining career. If early returns on the 2018-2019 recruiting trail are any indication, both paths have a lot of miles remaining on them.
There have plenty of Alabama players that have left us recently, many far too early (see: Kevin Turner, to the insidious disease known as ALS). But for some reason, Monday’s loss of former defensive lineman Byron Holdbrooks hit a bit closer to home.
(On November 28, 1981 - thirty years ago this coming Monday - Paul William "Bear" Bryant surpassed Amos Alonzo Stagg to become the winningest coach in NCAA Division-I history. This post is a look back through the final phase of Bryant's pursuit of the record along with some thoughts from an adolescent of 30 years ago viewed through adult eyes). It hadn't seemed possible just a few years earlier. But the countdown began on October 4, 1980, when Paul "Bear" Bryant became just the third coach in NCAA Division I-A history to win his 300th game with a 45-0 pasting of Kentucky. The Tide was in the midst of its greatest ever run, a decade-long dynasty that netted the Tide three national championships (and losing a fourth on a disputed vote), five straight 11-1 seasons, nine SEC titles, and an overall record (1971-81) of 117-14-1 for an unheard of winning percentage of .886. The win against Kentucky put Bryant within striking distance of the all-time record of NCAA wins held by Amos Alonzo Stagg, who coached for 65 years and won 314 games. Looking over the horizon, the Bama faithful began to count down the wins until Bryant would be the winningest coach in college football history.
Somewhere this week, there’s a Tennessee fan wondering how Alabama is still in business – and also wondering why his own team barely is. One of the perhaps-apocryphal stories of Alabama’s long walk through the woods circa 1993-2007 was that then-Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer told former Alabama RB Santonio Beard that Alabama “would be out of business in two years.”
This isn't Bret Bielema's Arkansas anymore, and for a couple of years at least, it's not going to be fun to be Chad Morris; The SEC's most momentum-driven team gets a chance to boost its championship hopes early with an opener against Washington; Most observers think there's a chance the wheels come totally off the Ed Orgeron circus this year; TideFans is outright calling it to happen.
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Over the last seven years, TideFans.com has taken a look back at old recruiting rankings, partially as a self-check, but also to see how players had progressed since arriving on campus.
Where do you go in trying to analyze a game that finished up as a 62-7 beatdown? When the defeated opponent insists on changing mascots every couple of years and is currently promoting something called a “landshark?” When a team's wide receiver corps refers to itself as the “NWO” while its defense is MIA?
Alabama survived 19 turnovers and the absence of Donta Hall to secure its first road win of the season, a 74-66 victory at LSU.
Defending national champions once again, Alabama looks even better on paper heading into 2016 than it did before the 2015 season started. But like last year, Alabama must replace key cogs in the machine, most notably quarterback, along with the core of its defense. Attrition that was heavy even by Alabama standards could play a factor in the team’s season outlook.