Before the final seconds on a hot September Saturday in Texas, the Crimson Tide will feel it. Doubt. At first it will be almost nothing. The ball will come out of McCarron’s hand a little too soon. He will be a quarter-step behind to present the handoff. Those speedy SEC defenders will miss a tackle. These will be shrugged off and a mental note made to correct the issue. Then, in a moment of clarity they will think “We could lose this game."
The thought will be expelled immediately by hubris but the damage will be done. The impregnable façade will reveal its flaws. Nick Saban knows this. Every coach does. This is the reason why the game is played. If it was purely formulaic then why bother? Your score is not necessarily seven hundredths of the total of your offensive yards.
We all know the stories. Goliath fell. Casey struck out. There will be triumph against all odds and the champion will go down. Broken pieces will be remade into something different and better. As the favorite must admit to the creeping malaise, so the underdog must realize the emergence of a new hope. At this moment three defensive line coaches are commencing to make a five star recruit into the man that he always might have been, precisely because it was not formulaic. Because a five star recruit can still be a work in progress, and because a walk on can be captain.
Hope finds faith among the hopeless and the haughty are made low. The opportunity for the triumph of the overlooked is exactly when the challenger believes that fate is earned and destiny is a decision. As for the Tide, they can throw out all those great backs and great quarterbacks and great defensive players throughout the country and in this conference. But there’s going to be one team that is going to play solely as a team. THE TEAM THE TEAM THE TEAM