"What we really need is a weekend. ... A drama-free weekend."
Admittedly, the year 2010 has already been an exhausting one. There's been the national championship drama, the beginning of clinical rotations, and ... well, you know what else. On the whole, a draining first few weeks in this new year.
Not that it's been all bad — in fact, my goal at the outset of this post was to count all the ways 2010 has been good to me. I do have a family I truly love, an extended family that I got to see (admittedly under strained circumstances) this past week. And, of course, in the fall we'll have this.
Anyone who knew Matt Miller for more than 5 milliseconds knows how much that meant to him. So I feel completely comfortable moving on with weekend links, talking about trivial matters of which memories are made.
— First, on the football program: the university is, of course, looking for ways to boost admissions and this championship (and the resulting increased visibility) might be a good way to do it. Here's the part where I should probably mention that the whole reason Alabama started to promote its football program in the first place was a thought by the administration at that time that football might be a good way to promote the university around the nation. And, since we missed this last week, we must remember that coach Saban insists "this is the beginning."
So how do we, then, begin again? OTS correctly noted that the last time we were in this position, we didn't handle it so well.
All in all, it was simply a wasted opportunity. Fresh off of a national championship with our main rivals in disarray, we should have went off on a run of dominance for years to come. Instead, we squandered it all away. Recruiting fell apart, the coaching staff fell apart, facilities became outdated, and then the NCAA capped it off by coming down on us with major sanctions. Three years removed from a national championship, we suddenly found ourselves with a weak staff, relatively little talent on hand, having to cope with NCAA sanctions, and having to compete with newly reinvigorated rivals. The Dubose era followed, and it went from a golden opportunity to a train wreck. As a result, as good as it felt, the harsh reality was that the 1992 national championship was of mere passing historic consequence.
And now, seventeen years later, Alabama once again finds itself with the same golden opportunity. Fresh off another national championship, Alabama now has the opportunity to once again establish itself as a national powerhouse for years to come. But as promising as this opportunity seems, nothing will be given, everything must be earned. And if Alabama doesn't do a better job of seizing the opportunity this time around, then this national championship, too, will be of mere passing historic consequence.
— To business, then: Gentry has a look at 'Bama's 2-deep for 2010, as it stands today; Spencer White takes a look at some of the holes that need filling; BSR has first look at the scholarship numbers for 2010.
(Ohbytheway, one story that completely slid under the radar because it happened the same day as the incredible Lane Kiffin event in Knoxville: Jackson Jeffcoat, the No. 1 recruit in the nation according to Rivals, actually canceled his visit to Florida because "they told me they had no scholarships left." Seriously.)
— Because the decade is now officially over, time for everyone to start stealing my ideas. Remember my "Program of the Decade" entry? Chris Low totally swipes it; Ivan Maisel gives out Coach of the Decade honors, as well (note: Mr. SEC has a list of the Best SEC Coaches At This Moment). Meanwhile, in a sign of things to come, Scarbinsky decides to create an argument where there isn't one by saying Auburn had a better decade than 'Bama (duh). Interestingly, in spite of Auburn owning the decade, AU & UA finished with exactly the same number of conference championships (1) exactly the same number of division championships (2) and 'Bama finished with double-digit wins four times (as opposed to Auburn's 2). So while Auburn had the better decade — more wins and a gaudy 7-3 mark vs. us — it wasn't the landslide you'd think.
— A few other footnotes: a sculptor in Fairhope is working on a new "Iron Bowl" piece; Mal Moore lost his wife last week; and you may have noticed that Tennessee hired a coach. Good for them.
That's all for now. Hopefully we'll have some basketball at the start of next week. And something resembling normal life again. If there's such a thing.
Some Webb to close out the week ...