, Alabama (PressExposure) May 01, 2009 -- The Alabama Crimson Tide's 2009 season is one of anticipation after finishing one of the most successful seasons in quite a while, a 12-0 undefeated regular season. One win away from the BCS title game, Alabama fans saw 2nd-year coach Nick Saban and the Crimson tide fall in the SEC championship to eventual national champions Florida. It was a hard loss to stomach, evidenced by another loss a month later in the 2009 Sugar Bowl 17-31 against Utah.
Expectations are high because being in the hunt for the national championship is what everyone associated with the university has been used to in the storied history of Alabama football. With multiple national championships under it's belt, the Crimson Tide hired coach Saban to bring another one home as soon as possible. Most Alabama fans would tell you it seems closer than ever to seeing that as a reality.
Coach Saban has been building something special that may just result in that glorious goal. A determination and fire was seen all year until they came up against those destined Florida Gators. It obviously just wasn't in the cards but this year could very well be the year. Tim Tebow and Florida have much more pressure to repeat than Alabama could ever feel. It may produce the type of looseness and yet focus that coach Saban could use to produce that kind of championship year of 2008.
The recruiting class this year for Alabama was outstanding and some of those players will step up immediately and be difference makers but it is the return of upperclassmen with leadership that coach Saban will be heavily relying on. Leaders like Rolando McClain and Mike Cody who have those intangible qualities you just can't teach are capable of lighting a fire under the rest of the team. The question is who else will provide the spark that sets fire to the rest of the team game in and game out in 2009. The defensive side of the ball doesn't seem to lack in toughness and determination but the big question may be where will leadership come from on offense?
Determined leadership and gritty team-ship-mindedness usually begins at the quarterback position and last year's squad had that in John Park Wilson. Unfortunately, that was last year. 2009 is one of those years for the Crimson Tide where a new leader must be found to forge into the land of milk and honey. Wilson fell just short of seeing that dream realized. This year, Greg McElroy could be the Joshua who leads his people to victory after victory and the ultimate promised-land that Alabama fans have been waiting far too long for, a BCS championship bowl game victory. Things are indeed looking promising. If this year is like last year, there isn't any other team more capable of being in the mix for another national championship. For the university of Alabama that would be a welcome sight.