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OTHER ITA SITES:
Alabama Football Tickets - Are They Still Worth Obtaining?
Alabama football tickets are cherished both in Tuscaloosa and around the rest of the state. Few college football programs are more steeped in tradition, perhaps none have a more loyal and rabid fan base and their program is seemingly always stocked with talent. Many have believed over the years that Alabama represents the standard by which college football programs should be measured.
So what’s happening with the Crimson Tide in 2006? They appeared in recent years to be pointed in the right direction, and Coach Mike Shula was rebuilding the program after scandal had rocked the entire area. However, with their most recent loss to Mississippi State, a team that was considered the doormat of the conference, the Crimson Tide now sits with a 6-4 record and games against LSU on the road and Auburn at home are still to come. The Crimson Tide are in danger of not being invited to a bowl game yet again, and fans in Tuscaloosa have had it.
How did the Crimson Tide get sink to the bowels of mediocrity? A few things stick out more than others:
Bad Coaching Decisions
Since the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant retired in 1982, the Crimson Tide have “rolled” through several coaches. Some were successful but were run off, such as Bill Curry, for not being “Alabama” true bloods, while others were basically a disaster. What was a model of stability became a merry-go-round of management, and two scandals in particular smeared the program and landed Alabama on NCAA probation.
The first scandal occurred under Mike Dubose, who led the team to early success in 1999, winning the SEC championship. However, Dubose’s regime soon crumbled amidst losing seasons and accusations of sexual harassment and recruiting violations. Dubose wound up paying a settlement as a result of the controversy, and after a stunning loss to Central Florida, he was fired. He left Alabama with five years of probation, however, and the Crimson Tide have still not recovered from those sanctions.
The leadership at Alabama needed to make a “safe” hire in the wake of Dubose’s situation. They thought they had done so by agreeing to terms with Dennis Franchione from TCU, but he lasted only two years in Tuscaloosa. However, in their search for stability and for a boost in sales of Alabama football tickets, Mike Price was hired from away from Washington State after years of success in Pullman. Much to the chagrin of Crimson Tide fans everywhere, however, the Price Era was a failure before he ever coached a game. Price was accused of spending time and money at a strip club in Florida while he was there playing golf, and other sordid accusations followed. Price was fired after five months on the job.
Erosion of Talent
The sanctions that resulted from Dubose’s violations took effect in 2001 had a crippling effect on recruiting, and the Crimson Tide were short of great players because of their scholarship limitations that were part of their sanctions. That limit on players coincided with the rejuvenation of Alabama’s arch-rival, Auburn, who took full advantage of Alabama’s shortcomings and loaded up with many players Alabama had been targeting.
Over the course of a few seasons, Alabama was left with an under-talented roster that contained little depth, while their SEC foes feasted on the sudden surplus of available area recruits, and this situation is what leads to the Crimson Tide losing to teams like Mississippi State.
Mike Shula needs a bit more time to rebuild the program. If his strong recruiting continues, perhaps he can turn the program around once again. If not, Alabama football tickets will only become easier to find.
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Travel Part B