Good morning, college football fans—and the rest of you too.
It's nearly over and I am sorry. By the time the BCS Bowl has been played on January 10, there will have been thirty-five bowl games played this year. It wasn't always that way. In the sixties there were eight. By 1970, there were eleven and it has grown from there. Some people think there are too many bowls these days. Not for me. The more the better.
I cut my teeth on Crimson Tide football and I can't remember a year when I've been prouder. Oh, don't get me wrong. I love a National Championship and an undefeated season. Who doesn't? Last year was fabulous. The next one (number 14) will be fabulous.
But the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day was pretty sweet. My team, who lost with grace three times this season, won their bowl game like gentlemen, with class and humility.
Greg McElroy, who just quarterbacked his last college game, always gave his team credit for successes and took personal blame for mistakes. He made blocks when he needed to and when no one would have expected it of him. I'll miss him. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, two of the best running backs in college football, never displayed one iota of personal competition but supported and cheered each other on. These things spell winner.
My favorite moment of the season did not occur on the field but on the bench. Greg McElroy had just suffered a concussion and didn't seem to have a lot of information about his identity and location. He sat on the bench beside star wideout Julio Jones, who had also been injured. Julio sat quietly with his arm draped around Greg's shoulders. I don't know if he was giving or seeking comfort or if he was just trying to stop his quarterback from hunting his helmet and attempting to head back on the field.
But I thought, "There sits a couple of champions and that is why I love this game."
As writers, we've all taken a sack or two and we aren't always able to get up again without help. I am thankful that when I have needed the help, it's always been there for me.
And that is why I love what I do—and all of you.
Happy New Year.