Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama Fans Have High Expectations as 2013 Season Looms

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama Fans Have High Expectations as 2013 Season Looms

Article excerpt

HOOVER | Even as Alabama head football coach Nick Saban expressed his respect for the challenges of a Southeastern Conference schedule in the upstairs ballroom of the Wynfrey Hotel on Thursday, Crimson Tide fans gathered in the lobby couldn't contain their optimism.

The Tide fans, hoping for a glimpse or autograph from the coach or a favorite player, weren't too worried about the opponents the team will face this season.

The sentiment among Tide fans who turned out for the 2013 SEC Media Days was one of optimistic expectation, barring the loss of a key player or some unforeseen circumstance.

And they don't just expect a winning season.

Alabama fans seem to be in agreement that this year could bring another crystal football to the Hall of Champions in the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility.

"I think they can repeat as national champions if they can stay away from serious injuries," sad Marc Stewart of Anniston. "I just expect a lot this year."

Stewart, 59, said he has attended every national championship game Alabama has played since 1978. That's a total of six -- 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011 and 2012.

He referenced the tumult that the Alabama football program experienced between the retirement of head coach Gene Stallings and the hiring of Saban to say that the inconsistency he saw on the field then no longer exists.

That, Stewart said, is why he wouldn't be surprised to see a 16th national title -- or more -- written soon into Crimson Tide lore.

"Now, I think we're stable in our coaching staff and the players are committed and I'm looking for another couple of championships in the next few years," Stewart said.

Michelle Edwards of Phenix City said her main concern was the team getting too comfortable with its success.

"Now that we have those national championships under our belt, I hope the players don't just expect the next one to come," said Edwards, 40.

But that's not stopping her from expecting another national title this year or halting her wedding plans. Despite the success of LSU in Tuscaloosa in recent years, Edwards and her fiance, 52-year-old Chuck Grimes, plan to wed on the Quad before the Nov. 9 kickoff against the Bengal Tigers. …

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