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OPINION | WALLY HALL: 2021 was ‘rebuilding’ year for Tide, Saban says

by Wally Hall | August 4, 2022 at 2:13 a.m.

At least now we can be sure what Nick Saban considers a rebuilding year.

That's what he labeled last season at Alabama.

Granted, the NFL raided his cabinet after the 2020 season, but when you have the No. 1 recruiting class almost every year, or a second No. 2, you just yell, "Next."

Recently, on a radio show, Saban called last season "kind of a rebuilding year."

No wonder Crimson Tide Nation has such incredible expectations every year.

Last season, Alabama beat Georgia for the SEC championship, then beat Cincinnati in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs.

Here's a few other things they did last season: They crushed Miami 44-13 in the season-opener, beat Ole Miss 42-21, topped Mississippi State 49-9, defeated Tennessee 52-24. They beat undefeated Georgia 41-24 in the SEC Championship Game before getting their second loss of the season, 33-18, by the Bulldogs in the CFP national championship.

Maybe losing to Texas A&M, Saban's first loss to a former assistant, 41-38, marred the season for the Tide head coach.

Or maybe the feud between he and Aggie Coach Jimbo Fisher bubbles below the surface.

The Tide were 13-2 last season, a winning percentage of .867 and there aren't many head coaches who would turn that down.

At least now we know for sure Saban knows he's the king of the mountain.

. . .

Speaking of Alabama, the longtime voice of the Crimson Tide, Eli Gold, will miss at least the first part of the season for health reasons.

Gold has been the play-by-play guy for Bama since 1988 and had a streak of 409 consecutive games halted in 2020 when he contracted covid.

Chris Stewart, the Tide's basketball play-by-play announcer, will fill in.

. . .

Last Sunday marked 16 years since the late great Paul Eells was killed in a car wreck when returning from an assignment in Fayetteville.

Eells may have been the most popular voice of the Razorbacks in history.

He had no enemies, only admirers.

He was the sports director for KATV, Channel 7, and was named the state's Sportscaster of the Year numerous times.

On air, he was always professional, but he had a wicked sense of humor off air.

He once did a commercial about a bed for Ron Sherman Productions.

The commercial ran for years, and one day we were talking about it. Eells said, "It has been three years since I shot that commercial, and Vicki [his wife] and I were in Mexico, and it came on TV. I didn't even know I could speak Spanish."

. . .

This November and December, most of the world will be watching football, or what we know as soccer, the No. 1 sport in the world.

The FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.

Some of the greatest athletes in history will be competing, and among those watching on TV will be yours truly.

. . .

Pittsburgh head football Coach Pat Narduzzi has hinted that USC used name, image, likeness money to lure Jordan Addison across the country to play for the Trojans.

Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best receiver last season.

Like so many coaches across the country, Narduzzi is wanting guidelines for NIL.

USC Coach Lincoln Riley has said that he takes what Narduzzi said personally.

Well, yeah, he said it about Riley, who shocked the world of college football when he deserted Oklahoma, where he got his first opportunity to be a head coach at just 33 years old.

It has been speculated that Riley wanted no part of coaching in the SEC, where Oklahoma is headed no later than 2025.

Before he ever coached a game at USC the school announced it was joining the Big Ten.

Some people call that karma.

Print Headline: Saban: 2021 was ‘rebuilding’ year for Tide


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