Sunday, September 28, 2008
Chasing Bear Bryant
“It’s not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” Paul Bear Bryant
Georgia Bulldog fans dressed themselves in black to psyche out Alabama’s Crimson Tide for the Saturday night game. Frat boys painted their shirtless bodies with black. Little did they expect the evening to turn out as more of a funeral. Bama, under Nick Sabin’s coaching, came to play and play they did, ending the first half with a 31 to zip lead. While Georgia managed to adjust somewhat the second half, the game ended 41-30. I’d say that’s a funeral.
The real story is that when the Tide rolls like this, fans dream that the new coach is chasing Bear Bryant’s legend.
In August, Forbes magazine featured Sabin on the cover with the headline, “Sports’ Most Powerful Coach.” The story begins with this question: “College football has long been a big business. But the money and control Alabama gave Nick Saban raised the stakes to an unprecedented level. Is he worth it?”
Football, and especially football in the South, is akin to religion, and I am very religious in autumn when the boys are on the field and the leaves have only begun to think about falling.
Make no mistake, Forbes is right. This is big business. As University of Alabama President Robert Witt says of the recent $500 million capital campaign, “We have had 100,000 donors in that campaign, and a major reason they support us is football.” Tight-fisted Alabama taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for Saban’s salary or the athletic program. A higher caliber of student is attracted to the university and fundraising is easier. And many faculty members have quieted their criticisms for these very reasons.
But Bulldogs, remember, the good guys always wear white (and red). Roll Tide!
Photo Note: Nicolas Bryant and his daddy were all decked out in Bama attire for Nic’s first game watched on ESPN.