Alabama Coming Around, Full Circle
The 2008 version of the Alabama Crimson Tide is eerily similar to the last Crimson Tide team to visit the SEC title game undefeated.
In 1992, Alabama had a football team that was not the most talented, or the most heralded team in the country. The season started slowly, defeating Vanderbilt handily, but not being very convincing against Southern Miss. Much like the '08 squad's convincing win over Clemson and almost laying an egg against the Tulane Green Wave.
Quietly, both teams made their way to the middle of the season undefeated before finally being noticed. The '92 team slowly moved up in the rankings to reach the number two spot with just three weeks remaining in the season.
This year's team moved to number one due to everybody else losing. But the similarities do not stop at the team's slow rise to the top.
1992 was the last time Alabama shut out its arch-rival, Auburn. This season the astounding 36-0 pounding of the Tigers felt good in Tuscaloosa after six consecutive defeats at the hands of the men from the plains.
In 1992, Florida and Alabama played the first of five meetings in the SEC Championship game. Alabama using a stifling defense and pounding running game to defeat the Gators, 28-21.
There was no flash to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The flash was in the high-powered "Fun-N-Gun" of Steve Spurrier on the arm of Shane Matthews. The Gators were 8-3 coming into the contest, much less hyped than this year's Gators, but Florida had beaten Alabama 35-0 the previous year, the Tide's only loss.
This year, the Tide is the underdog. The team that is not supposed to beat the high-powered, flashy offense and stingy defense of the Florida Gators.
And while it's only the SEC title game this time, it has the feel of a national championship game. And the Crimson Tide know a little bit about winning championships as underdogs.
It was just 16 years ago when the previous year's Heisman winner led his team onto the field highly touted and high-powered against Alabama as huge favorites. And 60 minutes later, that Heisman trophy winner left the field in agony as the Tide left the Superdome as national champions.
Has the Alabama football program finally come full circle? We will find out come December 6.
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