What Will Please Tide Fans In 2010?

My friend Gentry Estes, Alabama beat writer for the Mobile Register, had an interesting note this week. He found the early odds for the 2010 national football championship listing the Crimson Tide as the favorite to win. Alabama was listed as the 7-2 favorite, followed by Ohio State at 13-2.

It probably pleases Alabama fans to see the Crimson Tide picked as the favorite to win the national championship. But before getting too giddy, remember than Bama was not the favorite of these same oddsmakers for the 2009 crown. That honor would have gone to Florida—which like Alabama this season was attempting to repeat as national champions.

The average person carefully reading the sports section of the daily newspaper and 'BAMA Magazine and BamaMag.com would likely do better than the oddsmakers at picking what will be next season's top ten teams. That's because the fans wouldn't include Boise State and Oregon (both 12-1) or TCU (tied with Oklahoma for 10th at 18-1).

The oddsmakers are those guys who make the spread on college football and basketball games, all pro games, and things like which team will win the coin toss at the Super Bowl. They aren't any more knowledgeable about sports than the serious fan, but they are much more knowledgeable about separating those fans with a sentimental interest in games from their cash.

Alabama fans have looked at the Crimson Tide schedule and know that it includes road games against Arkansas (30-1), South Carolina (100-1), Tennessee (75-1), and LSU (25-1) and home games against Penn State (25-1), Florida (16-1), and Auburn (50-1). And those fans know that six Bama opponents have open dates before playing the Tide.

Naturally, those Bama fans would agree with the oddsmakers' assessment that Alabama should repeat as national champion.

Beyond that it would get dicey. Quick! List everything you know about Nebraska (15-1). "Suh is gone" does it for me.

The 2009 season was as good as it gets for Alabama. The Crimson Tide got "Heisman Trophy" off its to-do list with sophomore Mark Ingram winning that prestigious trophy. Rolando McClain was top linebacker of the year with the Butkus and Lambert awards. Bama had a record six players make first team All-America (Ingram, McClain, Mike Johnson, Terrence Cody, Javier Arenas and Leigh Tiffin).

Alabama trounced Florida to win its 22nd Southeastern Conference championship.

And best of all, Alabama won its 13th national championship.

In the Rose Bowl, where Crimson Tide tradition was born.

Against Texas (14-1 odds in 2010), a team Bama had not beaten in eight previous attempts.

Last year Alabama was starting the season with an untested quarterback, Greg McElroy. It reminded of Alabama prior to the 1966 season. The Tide was coming off back-to-back national championships, but Coach Paul Bryant was worried. "We don't have a quarterback," he said; and then added, "unless you count Stabler."

Kenny Stabler hadn't done much to that point, but led Alabama to an 11-0 season.

Prior to last season, we suggested that Bama fans wouldn't expect McElroy to lead Alabama to an 11-0 season. Alabama fans would want a 14-0 season.

That was supposed to be a little joke, but McElroy and his teammates and coaches delivered.

So is there any reason to pose the question: What will it take to please Bama fans in 2010?

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