The nights have gotten longer. The furnace of this summer is ticking down, still spitting out 95-degree days amid the searing thunderstorms. Season of change, at least in the atmosphere. We’re not so sure about the rest.
It’s a repetitive dream each time October rolls around: here we are at 3-2, clinging to the fringes of respectability by virtue of not getting blown out by two very good teams. The wins and the losses all seem somehow pedestrian. The leaves aren’t the only thing withering and blowing away: our aspirations for some kind of magical breakout season have taken on the pall of decay as well. Three of the top five teams in the country still loom on the schedule, and we haven’t figured out how to stop beating ourselves yet.
This bye week is desperately needed, and desperately cruel. We’ve got an entire extra week to remain in the top 25 discussion before Nick Saban’s latest iteration of his army of soulless football robots come to churn Kyle Field into grist. Things were supposed to be different now, but ultimately that old feeling of resignation has settled in. People want to be hopeful, but after seeing this team’s efforts against Clemson and Auburn, not to mention Arkansas, there’s that familiar underlying dread that it’s all going to come apart again in October, the way it has over so many seasons lately.
So this might be your time, Jimbo. This could be where you justify those fancy boots and that historic payroll. Make those oil donors feel a little better about themselves and their investment, pat themselves on their well-heeled backs a few hundred times. More importantly, give this fanbase some hope. Make us excited about this football team again. Kick down the door, tear off the hinges, and let ‘em go wild. You came here to win championships, and the surest way to make people think you’re serious about it is to knock off #1 Alabama.
This fanbase is weary. We’re tired of being told we’re a year away, even though we know that this team isn’t playoff-grade. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask for a spark: some jolt that can make us excited and hopeful about the season again. Give us a kick, get everyone buzzing about the team again. Shed that listless, uninspired aura that’s plagued the team over the first month of the season and dazzle some folks.
Give us something to get excited about. That’s all we really want. But we’ll take beating the hell outta Alabama too.