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United States World Cup Results as a Barometer for Alabama Football


Is Alabama screwed in '06?

Now that the United States has been knocked out of the World Cup, my undivided sporting attention is firmly focused on the approaching Alabama football season.

The United States has alternated between good and bad performances in the past five World Cups. I decided to analyze Alabama's records in World Cup years to see if we can determine how the Crimson Tide will perform in the fall based on what the United States accomplished at the World Cup.

The sample we have to work with is small, but a pattern has emerged.

When the US performs poorly in the World Cup, Alabama tends to follow suit. Alabama also tends to have success when the US does well at the World Cup.

1990
US soccer team eliminated in the 1st Round
Alabama football record: 7-5

1994
US Soccer team advances to the 2nd Round
Alabama football record: 12-1

1998
US soccer team eliminated in the 1st Round
Alabama football record: 7-5

2002
US soccer team advances to the quarterfinals
Alabama football record: 10-3

2006
US soccer team eliminated in the 1st Round
Alabama football record: ?????

Can any good news be gleaned from this seemingly random collection of statistics that points toward a mediocre 2006 for the Crimson Tide?

Yes. It. Can.

Another pattern emerges when you look at the football season the year after the US tanks at the World Cup.

In 1991 Alabama's record was 11-1 and they finished 2nd in the SEC.

In 1999 Alabama's record was 10-3 and they won the SEC Championship.

It appears as if we need to brace ourselves for a mediocre 7-5 or 8-4 season in 2006, but that we'll be in the hunt for an SEC Championship and maybe more in 2007.