Back Alabama’s Championship Consistency

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Alabama’s Championship Consistency

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Alabama wins with an unwavering mindset and determination. The direction is always forward.

After another perfect season, one where Alabama went 13-0, beat five top eleven teams and won two College Football Playoff games by a combined score of 83-38, this is a program back and ready for more. The 18th national championship, for the Crimson Tide, was as much a continuation as a celebration. That is the standard that has long been set. It's an expectation that remains, despite overwhelming attrition. Even with losing eight of the 38 picks in the NFL Draft, plus offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, the goal is to make history once again.

Alabama wins with an unwavering mindset and determination. The direction is always forward.

The challenges, however, are obvious. It's easy to take for granted all that the Crimson Tide have done and not fully appreciate all that it takes to remain college football's leading contender year after year. Somehow, Alabama is 163-17 under Saban over the last dozen seasons, with a half-dozen national championships in that span. Last year's team went 13-0 and had eight first-team All-SEC honorees, all of whom are now in the NFL.

"The penalty for success when you win a national championship is you won because you had a whole lot of good players. They were well coached, so you had a lot of good coaches," Saban shared. "When you lose some of those players, and we lost six first round draft picks and ten guys overall in the draft, and you lose some of those coaches to better opportunities, the challenge is you've got to rebuild with a lot of new players who will be younger, have new roles, less experience, and how do they respond to those roles? That's why rebuilding is a tremendous challenge. That's why it's very difficult to repeat."

Despite the overwhelming odds, Alabama still finds a way. The results largely stay the same. Even with the aforementioned losses on the depth chart and within the coaching staff, the Crimson Tide will almost certainly be college football's pre-season number one team. They are an overwhelming favorite in the toughest conference in the game. A special commitment underlines all of those headlines. Through all of the personnel changes, Alabama's superpower is its stability.

The expectations don't change. Neither does the evaluation.

"Consistency in performance usually defines success, and that means you can play down in and down out at a high level and you can sustain that level because you can persevere through good plays and bad plays and refocus and be able to play the next play, and that's the philosophy that we use with our players," head coach Nick Saban explained. 

If players are at their very best individually, the overall team will have a true collective strength. That is part of the foundation of the Alabama dynasty. Through roster turnover and coaching changes, it's an important mainstay year after year. Excellence is most often the end result; every player that has stayed four years under Saban in Tuscaloosa has won a national championship. It looks like more of the same is on the horizon. 

"I think the mindset for our players is be the best player you can be," Saban continued. "I always use the example with our players to understand the scoreboard should not determine how you play in the game, whether you're 14 points behind or 14 points ahead."

The process is one based on perspective. Alabama stays focused on Alabama. And there are generations worth of achievement to follow. Improvement, for coaches, players and the team at-large, can always be made. For all of the big games that the Crimson Tide have and will play, their most consistent competition is often their own potential. More is the ultimate measure. That is why one win or one national championship, even, isn't ever enough. 

It's an outlook, think December and January, that continues to come with extra games

"Who the opponent is should not  determine the level that you play at, because if you're controlling what you can control, you want to be the best player that you can be, and you want to do that every single down because that's what create values with you," Saban added.

A mix of proven veterans and heralded newcomers are ready to pace Alabama's next run towards the record books. It's there they will find the story and the script.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports