Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 12/22/11
Forty-three days. A month and a half. Longer than summer training camp. Longer than Drew Barrymore and Brittany Spears first marriages. Heck, its two days longer than the first Iraq war. Thats how long Alabama will have waited between the Iron Bowl and the BCS Championship Game. For all its many flaws and they are legend the biggest gripe against the BCS is the long, long wait between the end of the regular season and the crowning of a national champion. It was bad enough in the old days when the season ended the first week of December and bowl games occupied every nanosecond of New Years Day. But at least there was a legitimate reason for that layoff. College kids have finals and families after all. Now, however, the slow-dripping water torture that is the college bowl schedule extends beyond the halfway mark of the college basketball season, so long that some fans have moved on, and football fatigue has set in. At least in the pre-BCS days, you could overload on unhealthy food and football on New Years Day because you knew that was it. From 10:00 a.m. until well after midnight (depending on how long the Orange Bowl halftime show lasted) fans could gorge on college from college footballs finest buffet. Today, its a formal seven course meal stretched out for 43 interminable days. Our players have been working out, Coach Nick Saban said of the wait. We will probably practice four or five times before Christmas and then give the players a few days off and then come back and practice another four or five practices after Christmas and then get into our regular work week for the game itself even though we may not be able to travel to the game until January 4th, which would be sort of in the work week. Part of what made Alabama and LSUs seasons so impressive was the way they came back week after week, pounding opponents by being stronger, faster, healthier and deeper. Now, the national championship game will probably resemble the first game of the season: rusty, mistake-filled, and slow. Its camp practice. Thats what it is, senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson said. You dont really like those too much. According to Tide offensive lineman Barrett Jones, Its weird after you havent done it for a few days just to go through the steps and that kind of stuff. Especially for me, Ive missed a few days this year. To get back out there kind of for the first time full speed in a long time was an adjustment. It will be an adjustment for the fans as well, especially those who went from the highs of watching their teams every week to eating turkey and drinking eggnog for the better part of a month. Enthusiasm has an expiration date. And just as the players have to rev themselves back up to full speed, Tide and Tiger fans will have to shift gears sometime after the New Year. Probably in most players minds they just feel like, Ill pick up right where we left off three weeks ago, Saban said. But that is never the case not for the players, not for the coaches, and not for the fans. Were going back and starting this just like were starting camp over, Saban said. First day of practice: same installments, same fundamentals. We can only hope the same intensity and enthusiasm returns for both teams as well.
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