It's merely April, meaning college football is an entire summer's sun away from us, thankfully. We've barely just begun to enjoy baseball. Still, we are in the spring practice season, that actual rite wherein fans probably read way too much about their team's success from a few light practices in April. But hey, college football is college football, and the masses must be fed, right?
That goes double for Alabama football fans. The whole SEC is insanely intense, and Alabama's fans are no different. They expect a title every year. And Nick Saban aims to give it to them, with one caveat. He wants fans to be a little more ... appreciative. Good luck, Nick:
“I tried to tell everyone, you’re only going to remember one thing about [the Sugar Bowl] and that’s the outcome. So there’s no interest, there’s no passion and everybody is embarrassed because of how we played. Well, it’s because you didn’t have any passion for it, you didn’t have any interest in it, you didn’t have any enthusiasm to do it, and that’s across the board. And that’s not right."
Saban is referring to fan apathy during last year's trip to the Sugar Bowl, which some Alabama fans regarded as a disappointment, and which Alabama lost to Utah (another notch in the eternal justification for why the BCS is a horrible, corrupt institution less concerned with fairness than with making bundles of money, but THAT is a conversation for a different time).
What Saban is trying to do here, at a fundamental level, is change the culture at Alabama. It's a pretty remarkable egotistical feat, really. Unfortunately for Nick, no matter how big a deal he is on campus, and no matter how many games he wins or loses, Alabama fans will always be crazy. Same for the rest of the SEC. That insanity runs deeper than any one coach, and it will last longer than one coach's tenure. These people will not have their expectations managed for them. They prefer the mentally unstable approach, thanks.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.