You can enjoy Alabama while ignoring Nick Saban

Does this men keep you from enjoying Alabama games?

Does this men keep you from enjoying Alabama games?
Photo: Getty Images

As a life ethos, I don’t watch Alabama unless it’s the title game. Not the SEC title game, THE title game. I take that back, I watch the title game and as much of the Tennessee-Alabama game as my girlfriend can stand. They’re too good even for their loaded conference, so save for a title game or upset bid or two, their talent is only really pushed once they enter the NFL.

That’s mostly the logic I use to avoid them, but also when Nick Saban talks I just see a decomposing skeleton spewing venomous snakes, their fanbase is obnoxious, and I once got unceremoniously dumped by a Tide fan. Extreme personal bias included, Bama can go fuck themselves.

That said, once those players aren’t ruining my Saturdays with lopsided victories and are no longer featured in nauseating pieces about Saban’s genius and how happy they are to be playing for him, I very much enjoy their really good and often very fun to watch players. Please don’t at me with stories about the guys who’ve done terrible things. Every program has them and that’s not what this piece is about. (You can at me with justifiable disagreement about hating your team as there will be no nice things said about Saban or the university.)

I wrote about Tua Taglovailoa’s progress for Miami recently and found out Jaylen Waddle does a little penguin waddle after touchdowns that’s awesome. I didn’t watch a lot of Waddle because Alabama’s dominance is a constant source of depression, so I don’t know if he’s always done that, but the celebration — and his ability to go from 0 to end zone in 3 seconds — are added reasons why it’s jubilating to discover these guys.

It’s impossible not to hear about them, so when a skill player really gets hyped, it’s like waiting for a movie to get released on streaming or DVD because you didn’t want to pay for it in theaters because the guy who runs the theater is a prick. “Oh, shit, I heard Najee Harris was supposed to be really good, let’s watch that!”

(I had an analogy with Skittles and tasting new flavors for the first time, but that came off weird, and I never wait to try new Skittles flavors. The yogurt-covered ones are surprisingly good, by the way.)

The Tide are playing in another SEC title game Saturday, but I didn’t want to write a preview piece because people don’t read those and I’m also not voluntarily watching Bama highlights. Let me read up on the NFL draft, see which players are projected in the first round and, once they’re in different uniforms, give them a watch.

There are parts of me that are even happy for the Mac-churian Candidate, Mac Jones. (If he turned out to be an assassin on the side, I wouldn’t be surprised.) I hold a similar disdain for the Patriots, so him going from Bama to Bill Belichick was like graduating from Darth Vader to Palpatine, but damn if he isn’t already a pretty good quarterback.

He’s currently on my fantasy team, as is Jerry Jeudy, and even though I can never pick the right week to start Mac, and Jeudy has been a bum since returning from injury, I’m happy with them. I was less so with Julio Jones a couple of years ago, but that’s more because I keep thinking Matt Ryan will bounce back from his mental breakdown in Super Bowl 51. (I spent way too much on Kyle Pitts for Matty Ice to be this washed.)

The only good thing about Derrick Henry going to Alabama is they were so deep he didn’t have to put starting running back mileage on his body all throughout college. It’s wild how giggly and excited fans of those players get, yet Saban’s general demeanor on the sidelines and at news conferences is that of an unimpressed father, trying his best to give all children an inferiority complex.

Saban’s lack of self-awareness is probably healthy because therapists always tell you to be happy with yourself, but he does a commercial with an animated duck and still has all the warmth of a Serbian prison cell. Bryce Young is probably going to win the Heisman, and another needle will pierce my spine because the history of college football has been inundated with crimson since Saban traded his firstborn to the devil in exchange for coaching immortality.

You can watch Alabama hopefully lose to Georgia this weekend, and when that doesn’t happen, again in the playoff and I’m assuming in the final. Or you can wait until their unquestionably great talent gets to the league like I do.

If you can’t beat them, please don’t join them — just try to find another way to enjoy them. 

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