By Jason from Tuscaloosa
As crimson eyes look to the opening of the 2008 season, many have asked; how important is the opening game? The answer is, more than you think. As the process moves forward, this opening game can be the spring board to the next level. The first step was the actual hiring of coach Saban, the next of course, was the establishing of a good recruiting base and winning the recruiting wars. The next is the chance to win a marquee game on the national stage.
As the “process” moves on, this step could be the biggest. A win Saturday and this team could finish the season in the top ten. A loss Saturday and it may be a continuation of the ills that afflicted this team at the end of last season. Confidence in sports or any competition is important, especially for this team. The Tide will start several freshman and first time starters Saturday night. Their development and positive maturation process will depend a great deal on their first taste of big time college football.
Winning the Clemson game sets the stage for the rest of the season. A win shows that this team has moved forward and can win a game on the road in an unfamiliar place. It also will show that this team can beat a top ten team. This is supposed to be one of Clemson’s better teams in years on paper. A win Saturday night will be a foundation that these young players and the rest of the team, for that matter, can build on and take with them on the road in the SEC.
A loss can do more damage than you think, especially to young players who are still finding their way and unsure of themselves. A loss Saturday night and those old demons from last year start creeping back into the psyche of this team. The thoughts of how are we going to lose this one and what went wrong this time return. Before you know it, you are caring a losing record into the front half of the schedule and struggling to have a winning season.
A win over Clemson would be next step in the “process”, but it could be the biggest step in moving up the ladder to the top of the conference. The next is to win on the road in the SEC and break bad habits. Winning cures everything, but a loss opens up old wounds. To build the program that Alabama wants and tradition dictates you must win these types of games. It is time to take the next big step. Roll Tide!!!!!!