I'm a University of Georgia graduate and fan but I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Alabama program and the way the Crimson Tide go about their business. I wrote this post on my blog a few days ago but wanted to also share it here to get the thoughts of 'Bama fans.
What is it that makes Alabama so dominant?
Like every other team in college football, the Crimson Tide can only have 11 players on the field at one time. At Alabama, along with everywhere else, a touchdown only counts for six points and a field goal is only worth three points.
Yet, in the past five seasons, Nick Saban has guided his program to a 61-7 record. He's won three national championships in the past four years and it will be a surprise if they don't reach the championship game again this year.
The amount of success Alabama has attained is astonishing, and it doesn't look like it will be stopping anytime soon.
Things will keep rolling for the Tide because Saban and the university have created a system (a "process", if you will) that gives Alabama a significant advantage before they even take the field against most opponents. Simply put, the Crimson Tide win games before they even play them.
It's clear the University of Alabama is committed to succeeding on the football field. The financial commitment the school and the athletic department have put into the program provides Nick Saban and his staff the opportunity to build the best program in the country.
My friends over at Saturday Down South have been going through a series about the current "Arms Race" in college football that looks at the incredible football facilities that are being designed and constructed around the powerhouse programs of the game. The Crimson Tide rank near the top in that arms race.
From locker rooms, to weight rooms, to lounges, to film rooms, Alabama has some of the best facilities in the country. This state-of-the-art equipment attracts the most talented players and staff to Tuscaloosa and it gives them a chance to prepare and perform at the highest level.
This is part of the process that helps set the entire Crimson Tide machine in motion.
The best coaches want to work in environments that give them the best opportunities to succeed. Great facilities are a big part of that equation. In turn, the best players want the opportunity to play at programs that have outstanding facilities and the best coaches.
When Nick Saban and his staff host recruits and give them tours of their phenomenal facilities, it's easy for a recruit to envision himself being part of that program. When the school can decorate the halls of its facility with the NFL jerseys of former players, a five-star recruit can see himself being the next in a long line of Crimson Tide players who have gone on to the next level.
All of this serves as a huge advantage for Alabama and it's a big reason why the program regularly brings in some of the top recruiting classes in the country every year. Success breeds success.
But the recruiting and the facilities aren't Alabama's only advantages.
Nick Saban is known as one of the best game-planning coaches in the history of college football. When given extra time to study and prepare for a team, Saban is nearly unbeatable. His ability to create a scheme that prevents an offense from doing what it does best is a huge element of his team's sustained success.
When it comes to X's and O's, there are few better than Saban. He and his staff work tirelessly to create a system and approach that is unstoppable when executed correctly. They put everything in place and then ask the players to carry out the plan.
For the players, it's really not that complicated. It's about executing. Over, and over, and over. Beating a team by always making the sound fundamental play and never making a mistakes. It works. And 'Bama hardly ever makes mistakes.
They don't make mistakes because they put in the work. The work in practice, the offseason, the weight room, the film room, even when it comes to nutrition. At Alabama, it's all about execution in every aspect.
This is a program that is committed to execution seven days a week. It's why they've won two straight national championships and have become the gold standard of college football. It's not only about the success the Crimson Tide have on Saturdays, it's about the work they put in during the days, weeks, and months leading up to those games.
Those are the times when Alabama builds its winning formula. Those are when the championships are won.