Poking Alabama can be an invitation for pain.
Oh, when will teams learn? Year after year, some want Bama. From sea to shining sea, inside college football and beyond the sport, some muster enough courage to call out King Crimson Tide’s name.
Usually, this is a horrible idea.
Usually, this profile in courage ends with the challenger’s hopes resembling shattered glass.
Usually, this simple order is the best one to live by when considering wanting Bama: Just don’t do it.
But Saturday presented more examples of some walking on the wild side. The father of Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano sent a warning to “Goliath” Alabama before the Crimson Tide turned the Volunteers into a puddle of goo. Later, Penn State fans chanted “We Want Bama” during the Nittany Lions’ victory against Michigan, as if their team wouldn’t become the latest gnat on the Crimson Tide’s windshield if the programs meet in the College Football Playoff.
We’ve decided to break down recent examples of “wanting Bama” by their types of ridiculousness. Because, really, wanting Alabama is insanity.
RIDICULOUSLY CRAZY: Vanderbilt defensive lineman Nifae Lealao says, “Alabama, you’re next”
When it happened: After Vanderbilt beat Kansas State on Sept. 16, 2017.
Why it was ridiculous: Aren’t people who attend Vanderbilt supposed to be smart? Clearly, Lealao’s brain short-circuited when he singled out Alabama following the Commodores’ 14-7 victory against the Wildcats, which seemed like a decent win at the time. Lealao not only poked the bear, he took a taser to its backside, and he didn’t have to speed to outrun the beast when the Crimson Tide made a rare visit to Nashville on Sept. 23. The result? Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0.
RIDICULOUSLY MISGUIDED: James Guarantano writes on Twitter that son Jarrett won’t be afraid of “Goliath” Alabama
When it happened: Before Alabama torched Tennessee 45-7 on Saturday.
Why it was ridiculous: OK, it’s fine to have confidence in your son. But for goodness’ sake, know the situation. Tennessee had as much of a chance against Alabama as a deer against a wolf that hadn’t ripped into fresh meat in a month. Perhaps the younger Guarantano wasn’t “scared” when seeing the color crimson. But keep that talk within the family or within a text-message thread among friends. Stay far, far away from the powerful Twitter machine when your words might serve as a match meeting gasoline and make you look silly.
RIDICULOUSLY NAÏVE: Washington fans make signs that say, “We Want Bama”
When it happened: Before the Huskies faced Alabama in the 2016 Peach Bowl.
Why it was ridiculous: We’ll give Washington fans somewhat of a pass here. Perhaps moving images of Alabama’s dominance hadn’t traveled to the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest before Nick Saban’s team tossed Washington into a whirlpool at the Georgia Dome last December. After all, Tuscaloosa is a little more than a short jog from Seattle. But come on, what were they thinking? Did Washington fans think their team could hang with Alabama? Did they think the best the Pac-12 had to offer could stand chin-to-chin against the SEC’s biggest, baddest monster? Move to the back of the line, purple people.
When it happened: Browns fans on Nov. 20, 2016; Trail Blazers’ Twitter account on Oct. 14, 2017.
Why it was ridiculous: Sometimes, ridiculous can be hilarious. Browns fans held signs saying, “We Want Bama” last season. Then recently, Portland’s Twitter account shared the same message. Of course, neither the Browns nor the Trail Blazers ever will have a chance to match wits with Alabama. (We wouldn’t want to see what the Crimson Tide defensive line would do to poor DeShone Kizer.) But you must tip your cap to these creative efforts at “wanting Alabama.” You’ll never see an NBA team tweet “We Want Mizzou” for a reason.
RIDICULOUSLY FORTUNATE: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson wants Alabama before the most recent national championship game
When it happened: After Clemson beat Ohio State in 2016 Fiesta Bowl.
Why it was ridiculous: Sometimes, the unwise get lucky. Watson said he wanted “the best of the best” after the Tigers’ rout of the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl. Yes, he had a strong game to lead the Tigers past the Crimson Tide last January during a thrilling national-title game. Yes, he threw for 420 yards and produced 4 touchdowns in a memorable performance. But without that “pick-play” touchdown that placed Clemson over the top in Tampa, Fla., Watson would have lived a much different ending. And he would have learned what most understand after they “want Alabama” and receive their misguided wish.