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R.E.S.P.E.C.T.—The Seven Stages of Accepting Alabama Football

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We are so lucky to be playing the greatest football team in history again.

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It is once again time for us to kneel before the altar of Saban and meet our fates. Here is a helpful guide in making this week as pleasant as possible.

REALIZATION

It may seem simple, but all journeys begin somewhere. Before you can attain a complete zen-like respect for the Tide, you must accept the fact that your football program’s entire existence: the history, the tradition, the pageantry...all of that is but a tiny mote of dust in the attic of the vast and elegant mansion of Alabama Football.

EVALUATION

Now that you have an inkling of the insignificance of your team in the scheme of things, it’s time to cinch up the belt and do a line-by-line accounting of all the ways in which your team is inferior to Alabama. Go into as much or little detail as you wish, but be sure to do it with the proper degree of deference.

SADNESS

All of this may be overwhelming, and may even cause some feelings of melancholy. That’s okay! As non-Alabama fans, we are mere mortals, after all. You must simply take caution to ensure that you do not channel these feelings into any behavior that is in any way disrespectful to the Tide.

PAWWLL

If Saban is the sun to the Alabama world, Finebaum is the moon: spinning wildly in a dark and distant place. Listen to his show once or twice, and you may think you have a basic understanding of the complexities of the Alabama fanbase. Listen to it a dozen times, and you’ll realize you’re barely scratching the surface on the psychology of Tide fans.

EDUCATION

You may now believe you are prepared to interact (respectfully) with an Alabama fan. You are not. You need to be sure you know the complete workings of their team. Anything less is disrespectful. For example: they have two All-American quarterbacks, seven All-American wide receivers, sixteen future NFL Draft picks on their defensive line, and their fourth string tight end was a five-star recruit who was also courted by NBA teams out of high school. Are all these things true? Let’s just say an Alabama fan wouldn’t correct you if you told them as much.

COMPLACENCY

This is the most difficult and counter-intuitive step of the process. For one week you must simply abandon all aspirations you may harbor for your team. Your only hope is that they all manage to survive the ordeal unscathed and that the program is not left smoldering in a crater in the aftermath. Look what happened at Ole Miss last week: they scored on a gaudy and controversial touchdown on the first play of the game. Disrespectful! The rest is history.

TUSCALOOSA

You are finally ready to attain the ultimate college football experience: visiting Bryant-Denny Stadium. Smile always, do not make direct eye contact with Alabama fans, and speak only when spoken to. Remember, you’re extremely lucky and blessed to even be there.