Alabama won its fifth national championship under Nick Saban in January. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, they’ve claimed another title this offseason: the SEC’s sultans of static.
After recent events, you’d have to be the largest Big Al-loving, Bear Bryant-worshipping soul whose closet overflows with houndstooth not to have some Alabama fatigue.
Where to begin with the unnecessary noise? Let it all end.
There was Jalen Hurts’ father claiming his son would be “the biggest free agent in college football history.” There were numerous barbs traded with UCF over the Knights’ self-declared title after last season, with Saban pouring gasoline on the fire by saying, “Self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it.” There was Tua Tagovailoa admitting that he was ready to transfer if Hurts had played well enough to remain the Crimson Tide’s quarterback throughout the National Championship Game against Georgia. And there’s that tricky Hurts-Tagovailoa competition to solve before the season opener against Louisville on Sept. 1.
All this is weird. For a program that prides itself on The Process and meticulous attention to detail, Alabama’s offseason has resembled a hot mess best suited for daytime television. No SEC program needs the 2018 season to kick off faster than the Crimson Tide.
This is one wacky world that needs to stop turning.
Oh, there’s intrigue elsewhere. There are five new coaches within the SEC to track. There are dark horse contenders to consider. There are reasons to believe Georgia’s Kirby Smart has only begun to reveal the monster that will live between the hedges for a long time.
But somehow, Alabama has dwarfed all those topics in recent months. The noise from Tuscaloosa has become too much.
The good news is that silence can be achieved without much effort.
Frankly, Saban and everyone with ties to Alabama should take a lesson from former UCF coach Scott Frost, now at Nebraska, and place an embargo on talk about the Knights’ self-declared national title. UCF’s claim won’t go away. But Alabama won the real championship and owns the real trophy. The Crimson Tide contribute to the Knights’ savvy marketing campaign by giving the issue credibility.
When it comes to Hurts and Tagovailoa, both players, their families and Alabama would be best served by letting the competition be settled on the field without more sideshows. The Crimson Tide’s quarterback question will be a hot summer topic regardless of what Saban and anyone with ties to Alabama says. Added distractions would mean more headaches for coaches to manage in what is already a delicate situation.
It’s bizarre to see Alabama, of all SEC programs, at the center of the conference’s largest offseason soap opera. But let’s not get too carried away: It’s hard to imagine the current static will affect the Crimson Tide’s efforts to win their sixth national championship under Saban. UCF’s national title claim won’t be relevant come the fall. And eventually, Alabama will reach a conclusion on which quarterback is best equipped to lead the program.
Still, that doesn’t mean the Crimson Tide wouldn’t benefit from seeing an end to self-created headlines about UCF’s self-declared national title and their quarterbacks’ transfer possibilities. That’s right: Alabama should become duller, at least until the SEC’s preseason hype machine cranks up again.
More silence would never sound better.