[Note: when I refer to Alabama in the title, I’m referring to the state of Alabama, not just the “Crimson Tide,” Auburn also won the national championship two years ago, although I know the two schools hate being lumped together. Tough shit, they’re a lot more alike than different.]
In 2010, the University of Alabama won the national football championship, and everyone said “This is good for the state.” In 2011, Auburn won the national football championship and everyone said “This is good for the state.” In 2012, Alabama won the national championship again, and everyone said “This is good for the state.” And now, we have a team from Alabama winning the national championship for the 4th year in a row, and everyone is saying—–you guessed it—–“This is good for the state.”
Well, it’s been 3 full years since the first championship and we’re still waiting…Alabama has just as many problems as it did three years ago, two years ago, one year ago, and yesterday. Nothing has changed, and, if anything, the problems may have gotten worse.
Problems such as sky rocketing income inequality, poverty, crime, obesity, and a general deteriorating quality of life. And they can promise this latest championship will be “good for the state” like they’ve promised the last 3 national championship victories would be but Alabama is still dead-last in nearly every category. [Where’s that renovated downtown for Tuscaloosa? and that new monster-shopping mall for Auburn? not to mention any huge new employers to the state?] But maybe our wonderful political leadership, including Governor Good-for-Nothing, was just waiting on the fourth national championship in a row to get off their ass and recruit businesses to the area.
In an article last year, I said that new businesses don’t really consider college football when looking to build in an area, and what the state should do is 1. Snowball this record-breaking football talent into a p.r. blitz for a professional football team…even though it’s doubtful they could get one, just the thought of Birmingham being on that level (a pro-football team can instantly turn your modest city into a major one) is enough to make higher-paying businesses take a second look. 2. Don’t just actively recruit new employers to the area (although they could have done a lot better job of that too), but build something for them to come to. If a national championship really means so much money to a school, and the state the school is in, then why not renovate parts of Tuscaloosa that could desperately use it, including its crumbling infrastructure? And why not build some grander, newer outdoor malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and retail experiences for Auburn as well?
None of this has happened, because the political leadership in Alabama hasn’t made progress a priority. They’d rather go around passing laws to harass Mexicans and teachers than actually work to improve the quality of life for anyone, and bring in new businesses——ironic for a bunch of ultra-Republicans that are supposed to know all there is about economics. I’ve heard that Alabama being the college football capital of the world would be “good for the state” so many times I almost believed it, but the only people who have benefitted from it, so far, are the players, Nick Saban, and Katherine Webb, the hot girlfriend of a player. The everyday folks of Alabama haven’t seen a dime of that money or good will, and it’s time they said so.