Popularity At a Price: The Love and Hate For Alabama

Derek SmithCorrespondent IApril 22, 2010

The University of Alabama has undoubtedly accrued more fans and popularity since winning the Citi BCS National Championship Game, but popularity has it's price. 

Alabama fans are loyal and true, and expect only the best; but the pollsters, media, and even the computers have always frowned upon the Tide. The question I have, is why? I am pretty sure I know the answer as well; but it's a multi-part answer so strap in!

Let's start with the wins: The Alabama football program has played more than 1,100 games in 114 seasons, and has amassed 792 victories in that time. That is an astonishing number. The Tide has won more than 70 percent of the games they have played throughout their existence. 

Conference Championships are another reason 'Bama feels the hate: Alabama currently houses 26 conference championships; four from the ancient but active Southern Conference and 22 from the Southeastern Conference. A team that can dominate it's peers the way Alabama has, is bound to be hated.

Post season bowl appearances: The Red Elephants (an older nick name) have visited 57 post-season games, and fall second to the USC Trojans, with 31 victories in bowl games. Winning more than 50 percent of your bowl games is a pretty big accomplishment, adding even more fuel to the hate fire.

National Championships: No secret here, The University of Alabama is currently tied with Notre Dame, each having won eight consensus National Championships. The Crimson Tide have 13 in all, also tying the Fighting Irish.

Heisman Trophy: (I thought this day would never come) The previous season, Mark Ingram became the first Alabama football player to win the coveted Heisman Memorial Trophy. I have heard a lot of 'Bama slander in my time, but when they yak about how Ingram doesn't deserve the Heisman, my blood begins to boil!

In addition to the above, Alabama has 22 ten game win streaks, 16 seasons with a 10-0 start, 29 ten-win seasons in all, and they currently hold a winning record against all present and past SEC schools. They love to hate us because we are the "Thief in the night", the "Dark Horse", the "Underdog" and the "Cinderella Story" of NCAA football.  Though The University has a dominant and winning record, they never give 'em their due. 

Think about this, over the last five seasons, Southern Cal has been hyped as the No. 1 contender at some point in the year, and all but one of those years, USC got their butts handed to them by teams like Oregon State, Stanford, and Arizona State. In 2003 they were named as split National Champs with LSU, but LSU actually played in the title game. Alabama just won the National Championship, and already the media is talking about the Tide coming in at a pre-season ranking as low No. 3 because of their "Defensive Woes".

'Bama's business is winning, and business is good. You either love 'em or hate 'em.  They can rank the Trojans at pre-season No. 1 all they want, and I long for the day USC takes a trip to T'town for a beat down.

Signing off and Roll Tide,

Derek Smith