The expectations around Alabama football have risen to astronomical levels.
I guess that’s what happens when you win three BCS National Championships in four years. Fair or not, the expectations now for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are pretty straightforward: win a title. Anything less now is considered a failure, and we’ve seen this play out over the last four or five days.
Alabama’s stunning loss to Auburn in the 2013 Iron Bowl pretty much erased all chances of a crystal football coming to Tuscaloosa this year, and fans are upset. This is what Alabama football has created.
But believe it or not, Alabama still has plenty left to play for this season. There is still hope for fans to look back fondly on the 2013 season, even if it did not produce a national championship.
A BCS Bowl
For about 95 percent of college football programs, this is considered a great way to end the season. While Alabama’s aspirations were a little higher, ending the year on a high note is nothing to scoff about.
The Crimson Tide will get to showcase themselves on a national stage in front of a large television audience one last time. That means exposure to recruits and the rest of the country.
There are some scenarios where Alabama could play Baylor or Oregon, matchups that would draw high national interest. There’s also the possibility of an Iron Bowl rematch that would set the state on fire.
Then again, Alabama could be paired up with someone like UCF.
Send the Seniors Off Right
It sounds cheesy, but it still means something to the players.
A.J. McCarron, C.J. Mosley and the rest of the seniors have given a lot to Alabama during their time in Tuscaloosa, and they would no doubt like to end that on a high note.
A win on a big stage would do just that.
They’ll get to showcase their talents one last time for Alabama fans. It will also be their last chance to impress NFL scouts and others before starting the process for the NFL draft.
Momentum for next season
In 2010, Alabama lost three games coming off of a national title and was paired with Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl to end the year.
The players regrouped and put on a beatdown for the ages, taking down the Spartans 49-7.
"We just showed what we're capable of doing when we play our best football," Mark Ingram told the Associated Press, via ESPN.com. "It just shows how fragile a season is."
Alabama only responded to that game by winning two championships in a row.
The Crimson Tide would get a chance to show what they’re truly capable of in a BCS bowl game, and it could serve as motivation for players next year, as they attempt to get back on top of the college football world.