Are Alabama Fans Nuts?
A lot of the commentary following the (long overdue) firing of Mike Shula has featured statements of varying degrees of intensity to the effect that the Alabama fan base is: a) greedy b) stupid c) spoiled d) ignorant or e) all of the above. They either state or imply that we didn't give Shula a fair chance to prove himself, and that as a result of fan pressure and our desire to win, the job is less attractive than it once was.
My answer is in two parts, taking the second first. A coach who wants to go where there is no pressure to win isn't the guy I want running our team in the first place. I want someone who will get up early, stay up late, get mad when he loses, and change things that aren't working. I want somebody who eats, breathes, dreams (on those rare moments when he does sleep) and lives Bama football. I want somebody who will be as upset as I am when we lose a big game (and somebody who won't let us lose the little ones any more!) instead of telling us "we're close."
As to the first part, there's really only one answer: 0-19. That's our record when we trailed going into the fourth quarter. Well actually, there are two anwers. 2-14. That's our record against the four strongest teams we play every year--Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas. It should go without saying that none of those wins came in this, Shula's fourth year at the helm. How much more evidence does it take? Five years? Six? Ten?
Mike Shula was a very good quarterback for Bama. I enjoyed watching him. He is, by all accounts a good man. No druken binges in strip clubs to embarrass the school. He works hard, and has good character. All of those things are wonderful traits for your friendly local banker or insurance salesman. They don't make him a good head coach.
So to answer my title question, yes of course Alabama fans are nuts. Fan is short for fanatic after all. My son is not named Bryant by complete coincidence! But calling for Shula's ouster is completely rational and well-supported by a considerable body of evidence.