Now, two years and 11 months later, following a big blowout victory over highly ranked (and clearly over-rated) Clemson, Sports Illustrated has evidently decided to do it again:
There's a strong sense in which, to Alabama fans, this pub is unwarranted & unwanted. We don't want it, and it really chaps our behinds.
'Bama hasn't really done anything yet. Sure we beat Clemson, and looked good doing it. And, as the mag cover says, we served notice that we're among the ranks of the "contenders" again. But we still haven't beaten Auburn since 2001. We've won our conference division only once in the last eleven years. And some of us are tired of celebrating smaller victories (e.g. recruiting "National Championship," etc.) in place of ultimately consummating the rebuilding process into something real and substantive.
And Nick Saban feels the same way. Here is his attitude concerning the mindset that Alabama can start to feel confident & good about itself:
That man has got a fire in his belly! I love it!
Here's how one guy put it on an internet forum I read:
I think feet and I are in total agreement here. I want people to continue to downplay our excitement by pointing out what a dismal team Clemson is. I don’t want the media on our side right now. I want to beat Georgia and have them claim they were a paper tiger. I want to beat Tennessee and have everyone point out what could be a dismal record by then (Florida, Auburn, and Georgia all before they play us). I want to go into Baton Rouge and beat LSU. After ending the streak in Tuscaloosa (he's talking about the Auburn game here), tell us how Florida is going to show us how the big boys do it.
It's fun to go through a season as the underdog with a perpetual chip on your shoulder. More fun than having an early coronation only to discover later that it was premature.
There’s another sense in which this SI cover is unwelcome to me. I’ve become almost completely cynical when it comes to my view of the mainstream media. They all hated on us when we hired Saban (aside from a select few -— Herbstreit, and maybe a couple others). And I just knew they would start to pump us up again once we started winning. And here it is already. The media is so transparent. They’ll build us back up so they can tear us back down. I’m still harboring some seriously awful feelings for mainstream media.
'Bama is on a mission. And it's about ACTUALLY being back. Not just a magazine proclaiming that we're there.