By Ray Hamill — When it comes to college football, November rarely disappoints.
It’s unpredictable and unforgiving, full of drama, debate and intrigue, with an assortment of thrilling rivalry games, and all at a crucial stage of the season.
It’s essentially a March Madness for the Fall, as uncertain as the weather it brings, and acting like an upstart Thanksgiving grinch when it catches you by surprise and ruins your team’s holiday playoff ambitions.
You see, college football is unique for many reasons — better traditions, rivalries and atmosphere, among others — but none more so than the singular importance of every game, and no other sport puts as much on the line every time the players take the field.
Especially when it comes to November, with just four invites up for grabs for the most elitist of all playoff parties.
That’s the beauty of it all, and what makes the stretch run of the college football season so much fun.
And so unique.
This year, as per usual, Alabama is November’s frontrunner, looking as dangerous as ever, and perhaps even more so.
Two years ago, the Crimson Tide didn’t give up a touchdown in the month of November. This year, they may not give up a point.
Their defense is that good.
Their program is that good.
If you’re not an Alabama fan, you probably don’t like Nick Saban much (I know I don’t), but if you know anything about the college game, you can’t help but admire what he’s achieved.
He’s moody, dour, unpredictable and whines a lot, but he is a simply brilliant college head coach, and what he has done — and continues to do — is truly remarkable, especially doing it within the contemporary sports landscape, where it is so difficult for a team to remain dominant in a highly competitive sport such as college football for any period of time.
Say what you want about it being easy to recruit at Alabama. It’s also pretty easy to recruit at Michigan, USC, Florida, Ohio State and several other big-name programs, yet those teams aren’t averaging a national championship every other year like Saban’s Alabama.
He continually gets the best out of his players, and has now won an incredible five of the past nine national titles (six in his career).
If Saban and Alabama win again this year — and there are not too many people out there who would bet against them right now — it would be a second repeat championship in the head coach’s 12-year era with the team.
To put that in perspective, only two other teams — USC (2003 and 04) and Nebraska (1994 and 95) — have managed that feat dating all the way back to the late 1970s, when Alabama previously did it.
With Saban at the helm, we are witnessing one of the all-time great dynasties in its prime right now.
Love it or hate it, it’s difficult not to admire it.