So I’m like two-plus weeks late on this, I know, but I’d still like to take the time to thank Sports Illustrated for this:
Yes, that’s right, thank them. I love this cover. I know that puts me in the kind of minority amongst Auburn fans usually reserved for African-Americans in the NHL, and not without reason: the media slurpage of all things crimson has, truly, gotten well out of hand. I know that. This tweet from Jeremy says it all.
But I was thrilled when this cover came out anyway, and I’m thrilled now. For several reasons:
— Dude, even SI knows slapping the word “DYNASTY” over the top of a team that’s won one (one) championship is patently ridiculous, a moonshot so over-the-top mid-90s Jim Carrey thinks they should tone it down. They asked themselves how far they could go to send the Tiders into a maximum cash-spending tizzy without losing their journalistic credibility … and then said “Ah, screw it, we need the money,” and went one step further. To me, it’s self-parody. And it’s funny.
— The odds are overwhelming that it’s going to get even funnier. Since ‘Bama’s back-to-back titles in ’78 and ’79, you know how many teams have managed to repeat as even split national titlists? Two: Nebraska in the mid-90s and USC in 2003-2004. That’s 2/30. A 6.67 percent chance. Think, too, about all the potential juggernauts that have fallen short of that standard: ’02 Miami, ’05 USC, ’09 Florida … and that’s just this past decade. Does a Tide team that has to replace far more than any of those teams really strike you as the kind that can just roll through a third straight undefeated regular season?
Sure, there’s a chance this SI cover is going to look prescient in another 12 months. Chances are much, much better that after those 12 months we end up inducting it into the OMGBAMALOLZ Hall of Fame alongside this classic:
“Can anyone stop Alabama?” Oh, someone can, we just don’t know who. And when we find out, we’ll be sure to let SI know. I already can’t wait.
— Best of all: a cover like this actively makes it less likely ‘Bama repeats. Not singlehandedly, much, but the more and more ‘Bama hears that they’re unbeatable, that the 2010 season is a formality, that their goals aren’t the already-lofty “SEC West title” or “league championship” but a national DYNASTY, the more likely it becomes they fall from that perch. Hype makes fools of us all, and even ‘Bama isn’t invulnerable. We’ve still got an entire spring and summer of said hype to build, too, and to have it start at this kind of fever pitch the instant the previous season was over … well, what more could an Auburn fan ask for?
I’m telling you: there was some good to come out of the Tide’s win in Pasasdena, and I’ll bet dollars-to-doughnuts this cover winds up as a shining example of that good.