The last time the Crimson Tide and the Nittany Lions squared off was in 1990 when Alabama was shut out 9-0 with new head coach Gene Stallings roaming the sidelines. Stallings was a member of the famous Junction Boys and another coaching tie to the legendary Bear Bryant. He would go on to win a national title in 1992, the last one the Tide would win until this past year under Nick Saban.
Of course, the ‘70s were dominated by Bear Bryant with Joe Paterno owning the decade of the ‘80s. Both powerhouses boast proud traditions of college football along with two of the greatest coaches that ever lived.
To Crimson Tide fans, Paterno remains a link with Bryant and coaching glory of the old days. So when the teams suit up come early September, you’ll see a matchup between teams that highly respect each other and the traditions they’re so proud of.
Nick Saban, of course, will be returning in 2010 as the head coach of the defending national champions. He hasn’t lost a regular season game since Nov. 24, 2007—a streak of 25 straight games. On the one hand, he’ll face the Nittany Lions with the benefit of a home crowd, along with the fact that Penn State will be a semi-rebuilding team.
On the other hand, he’ll face the most winningest head coach in college football history. And Lions fans know that Linebacker U can never be taken for granted as the underdog in any matchup. For Penn State, this game can be the spark igniting the program towards one last national championship run before Paterno’s legacy is over. For Alabama, it’s just another opportunity for Saban and the Tide to boast their continued dominance.
It’s February, and I already can’t wait.