Losing — It's not a word that one would associate with the Alabama Crimson Tide under Nick Saban.
Saban has gone 61-7 (.897) in the past five seasons in Tuscaloosa, which includes a 35-5 mark in regular-season conference play. In 2012, the Tide reached the 10-win milestone for the fifth consecutive season under Saban. With another SEC Championship win and BCS National Championship Game victory last season, Saban is now 8-1 all-time in conference or national championship games.
Furthermore, AJ McCarron has more national championship rings (3) than losses as a starter (2). The seniors on this team have only lost five games in their entire career and three of those losses came in 2010 when most were either red shirting or only saw action in mop up duty. The fact is that most of the players on this team, which includes roughly 55+ freshman and sophomores, have only tasted defeat once and that was at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies in 2012.
Senior Cornerback John Fulton was asked this past week how long the team has been hearing about the loss to A&M. His response — "Since we lost."
Sure, he brushed the loss aside just a few moments later by saying "We won the national championship, so we were alright" but his point was made loud and clear. The team (and fans alike) are tired of hearing about Texas A&M, Johnny Football, the 1st quarter meltdown, 1st and goal from the six and oh, this...
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Even the 2012 SEC Championship and National Championship games are not enough to fully erase these unsightly memories. Compounded on top this misery is the fact the 'Bama players, and the fans, are reminded almost daily by our rivals, the media and of course A&M of the one black on eye on what was a memorable 2012 season. And the only way to close the door on 2012 is to win.
With a W on 9/14 Alabama will silence the haters, humble a much maligned Jonathan Manziel, and firmly position itself for a run at #16 and destiny. Lose and watch all those dreams disappear into a College Station night sky. The season will be defined by one game, and for once, it isn't LSU.
Lastly, the team officially began its preparation for A&M yesterday but rest assured, for the players and coaches who felt the agony of defeat on November 10th, 2012, "preparation" started just moments after the clock struck zero.
"Elephants never forget and they never forgive."