Alabama fans will occasionally talk about "where we're used to bein'" in relation to the national championship game, and it's true that 'Bama fans of a certain age grew up cheering for a team that annually competed for national titles, even considering the SEC something of an afterthought (Cecil Hurt described this beautifully in a recent radio segment).
However, Tide fans like me know enough to know how precious championship shots are — I watched my team compete for & claim a national title in 1992, but they haven't been very close since. Off the top of my head, in fact, here are the times Alabama had a real shot at a national title since '92:
• 1994 (12-1). Undefeated going into the final weekend of the season, Jay Barker & Alabama fell 24-23 to Steve Spurrier's Florida team (the core of which went on to win 12 games in '95 & then the national title in '96). They ultimately finished 12-1, having won more games than any senior class in Alabama history.
• 2005. With Nick Saban's meteoric success in the past two seasons after replacing the fired MIke Shula, a number of analysts & talking heads have treated the '05 season as though it never really happened. But I was there — it happened. That '05 team had a rock-solid defense and was ranked as high as third before losing to LSU in an overtime heartbreaker in Tuscaloosa. The team didn't really recover emotionally, got smoked the following week in Auburn & finished 10-2 after a Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech.
• 2008. We all know what happened here.
That's really it. We haven't come within sniffing distance of a ring any other season. Which makes this week's youtube such a challenge — there certainly isn't much youtube available of Alabama in the Rose Bowl (the last trip there is one most of us have tried to forget) and no video exists of Alabama beating Texas (cuz, ya know, it's never really happened).
Lucky me: I can rely on those obsessive 'Bama youtubers to post video archives. Here, then, are the highlights of the last 3 national championships in Tuscaloosa, which includes arguably the greatest single play in Alabama history. Please to enjoy.
And, of course, there's this video, which is worth the price of season tickets, just to see it 7 times in the fall. Yes, obviously, it's fashionable to mock Alabama fans as "living in the past" or whatever tired line people like to trot out, but this one always gets my blood pumping.
This is Alabama football. Roll Tide.