Thanks to Nick Saban, Jan. 4 Is a "Bamaholiday"

Aaron HarrellCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 05:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after defeating the Florida Gators 31-13 during the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Where were you on Jan. 4, 2007?

If you have followed Alabama football, you should know what today means.

It's a day where every Alabama fan was glued to ESPNews, their local news channel, or the radio.

It was the day where every Alabama fan and rival heard the official news from Athletic Director Mal Moore when he said, "It gives me great pleasure to introduce the next coach of the Crimson Tide, Nick Saban."

The press conference was roughly 30 minutes long, but in those 30 minutes, a seed was planted, and that seed has grown into back-to-back 12-win seasons, an SEC Championship, and two straight top-three recruiting classes.

What Saban has done for Alabama in three short years is considered remarkable, considering the turmoil Alabama fans had to endure in the past decade.

Alabama fans remember going 3-8, 4-9, 6-7, having a coach bail out on them, the probation period, watching helplessly as their rivals would pass them in the SEC pecking order, and hearing those rivals mock their tradition as they would beat them year after year. They've heard it all:

"Alabama is not relevant anymore."

"The Bear is dead."

"Nobody wants to coach at Alabama."

Those dark days changed when Saban uttered these words: "We want to be a big, physical, aggressive football team that is relentless in the competitive spirit we go out and play with week in and week out.

"What I would like for every football team to do that we play is to sit there and say, ‘I hate playing against these guys. I hate playing them. Their effort, their toughness, relentless resiliency, go out every play and focus, play the next day, compete for 60 minutes in the game, I can’t handle that.’ That’s the kind of football team we want.

"Now, that takes a lot of conditioning, a lot of preparation, and it takes a mindset you’re going to play for 60 minutes in the game regardless of what the scoreboard says. You’re going to compete that way throughout the game."

Not to sound funny or anything, but look back at the LSU game of this year and see if that quote doesn't resonate during the end of the game, or the final drive of the Auburn game.

It has been a whole new ball game ever since that press conference.

Teams are now trying to take their bye week before they play Alabama, because of the physical nature they play with.

Rival fans are now creating rumors about Saban leaving for another job. Before Saban was hired, they wanted Mike Shula to stay as the head coach.

Blue-chip recruits are now looking at Alabama as the "it" school to compete for championships in the near future.

Alabama has their first ever Heisman Trophy winner.

But Saban has done something more special in these three years.

He has Alabama not only in the national spotlight, but he also has them on the cusp of their 13th national championship.

He could be the first coach to ever win the BCS Championship at two different schools.

Not bad for a program that was considered "dead" a few years ago.