If you thought all was well in the college football utopia of Tuscaloosa, home of the two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, think again.
I've talked about players playing for 60 minutes in the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game. And, in some kind of way, everybody that chooses to go to the game should stay there and support the team for the game.
While Saban's argument might seem logical on the surface, it has a big hole: The Tide have outscored their four home opponents 153-9 this season, meaning their players haven't had to grind from wire to wire.
Most recently, the Tide smashed Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas 52-0 at Bryant-Denny stadium in a game they led 45-0 going into the fourth quarter. From there, they flipped on cruise control, which is hardly something worth sticking around for, particularly during a night game.
Nevertheless, Saban wants the 'Bama faithful to watch his second-stringers kill 15 minutes worth of game clock, or give their tickets to someone who will.
"Maybe if you're not interested in doing that, you should let someone else go who would really like to go because I have a lot of people who want to go," Saban told Casagrande.
His argument did gain some credibility when he explained, very frankly, what it takes to be a college football fan, as tweeted by ESPN's SportsCenter:
Well, when he says it like that, it does sound like a pretty sweet deal.
Saban went further, even trying to guilt the Tide fanbase. He played the recruiting card and also suggested that leaving early is disrespectful to Alabama's beautiful facility:
We have lots of recruits there, we like to see an enthusiastic full stadium. We have a beautiful stadium and one of the nicest venues in all of college football and I think we all should show our appreciation for it by staying and supporting our team for the whole game.
First, the obvious: Stadiums don't have feelings. Telling the fans that they hurt the feelings of the UA stadium operations department would have made a lot more sense.
That human element would have been particularly helpful since the recruiting avenue won't work. Alabama claimed the No. 1 recruiting class in the 247Sports composite ratings in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and is currently No. 1 for 2014. Clearly, there haven't been too many grumblings from recruits about fans leaving during 50-point blowouts.
It was a nice effort from Saban to coax his fans into staying for four quarters of Alabama annihilation. However, the coach should really just count his blessings and be glad that he's had more than 100,000 fans on hand for all four home games this year, even if half of them left before the final gun.
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