Well, I am hosting this week's edition of the Crimson & White Roundtable, along with other Bama blogs from around the blogosphere.
This week's question is as follows: Do you put any stock into the superstition that anAlabama coach won't turn out well if he wins his first game? Bryant lost his first game, Stallings lost his first, and Franchione lost his first. Shula, DuBose, Perkins, and Curry all won their first games as Alabama's head coach. If this is the case, since Coach Saban is playing Western Carolina to start off the season, is this a sign of bad things to come?
If you don't put a lot of stock in this, give us a couple of your gameday superstitions, if you have any.
No, I don't really believe that superstition. There are too many variables involved to believe that a coach's fate (and ultimately the success of the team) lies in one game against what is usually weak competition. If the superstition is true though, we're doomed with Saban because I don't see us dropping a game to Western Carolina. Even if we did lose to them, we'd be doomed because we lost to Western Carolina.
I actually looked at the first opponents of all the post-Bryant coaches in a recent post and in light of this question I don't really see any pattern there that spells out a coach's success based on that first game. People talk all sorts of crap about Curry but he still has the best winning percentage of any post-Bryant coach. I don't think he was better than Stallings, but he won an SEC Championship, had a 10-win season, beat Tennessee and Penn State three years in a row and took two out of three against LSU. That's not a bad bit of history. Yes, I know he also lost to Auburn three years in a row, but I think we'd all be rejoicing in three years like now given the last decade (and the last five years against the Barn.)
As far as my gameday "superstitions," I don't really have any of those either. I guess that makes me a bad sports fan or something. I do usually wear some sort of crimson colored shirt to the games whether it's an Alabama jersey or just a crimson colored t-shirt that has nothing to do with the university. Oh, and I don't drink before Alabama games. I like to be completely lucid during games.
I'm really not sure which direction to go on this. We all see what happened when Fran left here (77-0 was awesome), and what happened after Stallings, and what happened after Bear.
I personally am incredibly superstitious. In 2005 my newborn daughter had to be in the room watching the game with me. That happened all the way up until the LSU game, when I was invited to watch at a friend's house. It absolutely killed me.
I think that Saban is strong enough to withstand any "curse" that may be placed on winning your first game. I mean, we are playing Western Carolina here. There's also the fact that Saban coached at LSU, which means he could still have some of the voodoo witchcraft vibes left over, killing any and all curses that may still haunt the Capstone.
All joking aside, I do not believe this will have any bearing on whether or not Saban will turn out as a good coach. As far as my personal superstitions - I wear the same "I HATE ROCKY TOP" shirt for every game. The shirt has holes and stains all over it and looks like it should have been tossed out years ago. My fiance hates the fact that I still wear it because I look homeless when I do, but it is what it is. Also, my mother cannot be in the same room with me during games (this started when Alabama was playing Mississippi State in basketball in late Feb of '04 - we had a lead, she came in the door, we began to lose the lead, she left, we pulled away). It's been like that ever since. I tried to go along with the Bama Bombs thing that the Bices would do from "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer," but I tried it before the Florida game, and then decided, once we lost, that I had jinxed the team. So no more Bama Bombs.
Well, it's Western Carolina. What can you say? The curse is broken here.
One gameday suspicion of mine is that my mom has to jump in the shower when it's close in the fourth quarter. This started with the '96 Iron Bowl. With a little over two minutes left and nearly 80 yards to go, Alabama was behind by six. The offense hadn't made a first down the entire second half. So, my mom, pissed off, goes to take a shower. Immediately, Bama gets a first down. One thing leads to another, and it's 24-23 Alabama. She did the same thing after Texas Tech scored the touchdown in the Cotton Bowl, so it's now a irrevocable part of my paranoia.
I was actually unaware of this. Now that I know I don't put any stock in this superstition. I would say the difference between these two groups of coaches is that the group that lost the first game probably played tougher competition than the group that won their first game. I wouldn't say that a win over Western Carolina would be a sign of bad things to come. If we can't stop the Arkansas rushing attack in week three then I will say that will be a bad sign for the rest of this season, but I don't think we can project Saban's future success or failure based on the first game, especially if that game is against Western Caroline. Unless, of course, he loses that game I'm not sure I could take comfort in the fact that Bryant, Stallings, and Franchione also lost their first game.
This week I'm a stick in the mud because I don't have any gameday superstitions. My boss believes that we shouldn't do the wave because he contends that every time we do something bad happens. I have a friend who tries to be the first person in his seat on gameday. I have no data to support the assertion of either of these two that these superstitions produce viable results. I'm not a superstitions guy. They take to much work.
I don’t think it matters if a coach wins his first game or not. A coach is a coach and he wants to win every game more than the last one. So to think that he won’t be any good because he wins or losses his first game doesn’t make a lot of sense. People don’t label a coach for winning or losing their first game, they label a coach for his success or failures in the end.
If Nick Saban loses to Western Carolina there will be more media coverage than ever. People will say that Alabama spend X number of dollars and can’t be Western Carolina.
That’s not going to happen though. I fully expect the Crimson Tide to come out marching, and take out the enemy.
As far as game day superstitions goes; I used to wear the same pair of shoes to each game I went to. But between the dirty stadium rows, and people stepping on my feet in the concession stands, and as they were going to sit down, those shoes quickly became filthy. I also realized that I’m not superstitious and that wearing the same shoes was stupid to begin with.
I don't put a lot of stock into that first loss theory. Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas both won their first games at Alabama, and look at the success they had as coaches. Jennings 'Ears' Whitworth lost his first game and still stunk it up as Head Coach. The poor guy was forced to keep Red Drew's staff when he got here. Stallings and Bryant both took over messes. They won because they were great coaches.
On the flip side, I don't think winning the first game is a curse at all. They left or failed for other reasons. Perkins had some faults, but I know that one of them wasn't losing. As for Curry; when you hire a coach with a .423 win percentage at Georgia Tech, you're asking for trouble. DuBose had a number of issues that did him in. We fans are to blame for that man being coach though. We all know why Mike Shula failed, so I won't talk about him.
I can't say I really have any strange game day superstitions, maybe one the day before game day. On the Friday before, I usually try to be as clean and as good a person as I possibly can be. If I do something I consider to be bad, then I somehow feel that the karma will come back and cause me suffering in the form of an Alabama loss. I I also refuse to smack talk the days before the game for that karma reason alone; even though I tell myself that karma isn't real.
I dont think if Saban wins the game it is a portent he would fail as Alabamas coach. Likewise, I dont believe if he loses it means he is predestined for success. It is an interesting coincidence. And in sports we are always looking for signs and symbols. We talk about the Curse of the Bambino for Boston or the Curse of Billy the Goat for the Cubs. They make for great stories, but I doubt the curses have anything to do with the incompetent personnel decisions which have afflicted the Cubs for over a generation. As for Alabama, whether Shula, DuBose or Curry won or lost their first game, they were going to suck because they werent qualified to coach major college football. In 1959, Bryant lost to Georgia. The loss didnt predestine Bryant to greatness, it was his actions and his talent which did. In 2007, Saban faces Western Carolina. Win or lose, Sabans actions and abilities will be a greater influence on the future than the portents of circumstance.
I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock into the whole "lose your first game and you'll be a winner, win your first game and you'll be a loser" myth, since it isn't taking into account the years before Coach Bryant. Ears Whitworth lost his first game and then proceeded to lose just about all the rest of them, posting an 0-10 mark his first year and going 2-7-1 each of the next two years. You could say he's the exception that proves the rule, but that would dicount guys like Xen Scott (29-9-3 overall), Wallace Wade (61-13-3 overall, with four conference titles and three national titles), Frank Thomas (115-24-7 overall, with four conference titles and one national title), and Red Drew (54-28-7 and one conference title), all Bama coaches that had successful careers after winning their first game, and I personally have never heard the expression "the four exceptions that prove the rule." So yeah, probably not a lot to that one. Plus, the idea of Western Carolina having that much influence over the destiny of a coach who's already won a national title is simply absurd.
Besides the obvious "you went to the bathroom and we scored, so you have to stay in there the rest of the game" spur of the moment ones that always seem to pop up, my only real gameday superstition is my somewhat embarassing "I Cheer for Bama!" shirt that I always wear underneath whatever else I'm wearing (because it's scandalously small and even though the sight of these mighty pythons would be a welcome sight for any and all, I'm humble like that) on Saturdays. I'm starting a new one this year, though, by wearing the hat I wore to A-Day for every game. I bought it specifically for that purpose and kind of wish I had gotten a different hat because I'm still not entirely certain I like it, but will wear it anyway so I can say that hat has seen every game Coach Saban ever coaches at Alabama. If all goes according to plan, that hat will see some big wins.
Alright, aside from all that, our boy Jermareo was drafted #36 by the Golden State Warriors last night and was then sent to Charlotte, where he'll get to play for Michael Jordan's team. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me. Read more here.
Alabama to Weber State. Wow. If you wanna read about a sissy, go here.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#28: Alabama 40 South Florida 17Aug. 30th, 2003 in Birmingham, AL
Ok, so you look at this game and go "alright, we've done ok. He's serviceable."
But when you really look at it, we were down 17-7 (and it would've been worse, had Charlie Peprah not had a 51-yard pick6) in the 2nd quarter. So we had to come back from a 10 point deficit - at home - to South Florida.
We won 40-17, but we should have taken this as a sign of things to come.
¶ 8:34 AM
Did I just write suspicion instead of superstition? Writer, edit thy self. # posted by Newspaper Hack : 12:53 PM
I misspelled a ton of things, don't feel so bad :) # posted by Brandon : 12:29 AM
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