What Sports Illustrated Curse? Alabama Has SEC on Notice

Tim CroleySenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2008

Talk from most fans is that landing the front cover of Sports Illustrated is not always the best thing that can happen to an individual or a team.

Sure, the publicity is great—and who wouldn't want their mug plastered on one of the most popular magazines?

But the "curse" is inevitable, according to many.

In fact, many fans believe it goes hand-in-hand with the Madden football video game cover curse.  If you make the cover, it is almost a given that something bad will happen.

Now, after the fact is okay, like celebrating a championship at season's end.  No one would ever argue or feel superstitious about a post-cover experience.

But when you start the season off the way Alabama did against Clemson this past Saturday in the Georgia Dome, with ESPN's College GameDay on site, and you're broadcast prime time on national television, it's kind of hard not to get a lot of recognition.

Alabama football fans everywhere should be proud of the accomplishments that have been made in this first game.  It is evident that much work and dedication has gone into preparing for this season, which has been void in seasons past.

Bama is no stranger to opening the season against big opponents.

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In 2000 and 2001, Bama opened the season with UCLA in a home and home series.  Bama dropped both of those games.

In 2002 and 2003, Bama played Oklahoma the second game of both seasons. Like the UCLA series, Bama fell short in both contests.

On Aug. 30, 2008, Alabama took on Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.  This time the results for the Crimson Tide opening with a formidable opponent were different—very different!

Alabama is no stranger to magazine covers as well.

Now the Tide is no Michael Jordan (who has landed the cover of Sports Illustrated some 50-plus times), but they have had their share of magazine covers.

Paul "Bear" Bryant was the face of magazine covers throughout his career at Alabama.  In fact, he landed a spot on Time, a non-sports publication, long before Nick Saban got his recent props on a national magazine not known for sports reporting.

It was Forbes that recently featured Coach Saban on their cover, proclaiming him to be sports' most powerful coach.

Last August, Sports Illustrated featured Saban on the cover with a story titled "Raising Alabama."

In 2005, former Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle was on the cover of SI following the thumping of the Florida Gators, declaring “Bama’s Back.”

All of this national attention is great, in my opinion.

It definitely doesn't hurt with recruiting and national exposure.

But is there really a "curse" that accompanies the placement on the cover?

Last season the Tide started the season 6-2, including a huge win over rival Tennessee and an overtime loss to Georgia, one of the best teams in the nation.  However, they faltered and got embarrassed by Louisiana-Monroe on the way to winning just one of their last five games.

Was this due to the SI cover, or was it due to the fact that players gave up on the season and refused to buy into Saban’s program like they should have?  I’ll let junior defensive end Brandon Deaderick give you that answer.

“Last year was disappointing, we let a lot of games slip by.  This year everybody's made up their mind, we don’t want to be a mediocre team anymore.  For so long we’ve had talent, we’ve had skill, we’ve just let everything slip away.  Now everybody's like we’ve gotta do something.  If you don’t fight against the current you’re going to get washed out to sea.”

The 2005 Tide team, who was undefeated at the time of making the cover of SI, stumbled to the finish line, finding it hard to score on offense and losing to LSU and Auburn before barely pulling out a Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech.

Now was it the curse?  Or was it because Tyrone Prothro, the Tide’s most dangerous offensive and special teams threat, suffered a career-ending injury during that great Florida game?

I’ll take the latter, not giving a second thought to the former.  Also, it probably had more to do with the man in charge at that time also.

Only time will tell if Alabama will falter following the latest flow of limelight.

As far as the latest SI cover proclamation is concerned, I’d have to say I agree: The SEC and nation better beware.

Saban made the statement when he arrived.  Now it’s time for Bama to take back the state and the nation!

As far as the curse is concerned, I don’t really believe in all of that.

And I’d bet Nick Saban doesn’t even give it a second thought either!


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