The Faces of a Season: Alabama vs. Western Kentucky
The 2012 NCAA football season has finally found its way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Fans from all over Alabama, the Southeast, and the United States gathered in the Druid City on September 8th, 2012 for the first home game of the season. September 8th, 2012 also marked the beginning of “The Faces of a Season” project, designed to document and showcase the faces of Alabama fans at each home game of the 2012 season. I want to see and then show you all the stories these faces tell as they experience the 2012 home football schedule. Will this be a season of happiness and excitement, culminating in another trip to the National Championship game, or will this be a season of disappointment and anguish, culminating in another trip to a lesser bowl game?
The faces that populated Tuscaloosa on September 8th were faces that were excited but seemed to be going through the motions at the same time. Coach Nick Saban chastised those who didn’t take Western Kentucky seriously, and it was clear that a lot of fans had trouble getting really excited for the game, especially after what happened in the season opener against Michigan. A going through the motions-business like atmosphere was noticeable early in the day. The Quad was relatively quiet compared to what it could be like. Alabama has played a lot of games against competition not considered up to snuff so the fans have gotten into a particular groove when these encounters come around on the schedule.
As kickoff got closer, though, the faces changed. They did become more festive and excited. Some for the fact the game was near. Some for the fact the alcohol was taking effect. Whatever the case may be, the majority of the faces told the story that they were ready to see what the rest of this season holds. They were ready to see if this season was going to be another championship season. Most must also remembered what happened in 2010. That season started with high expectations until it ended with 3 losses on the record, including a soul crushing loss at home to Auburn. I remember the faces at the end of that season. I remember mine. As an Alabama fan myself, I hope I don’t have to revisit that.
The game was played, and the outcome was predictable. Alabama walked away with a 35-0 victory over a talented and spirited Western Kentucky team. Mistakes cost Western Kentucky a chance to keep things competitive, but they did do an effective job at times. They slowed Alabama’s running game and then generated 6 quarterback sacks against the Crimson Tide’s offensive line. It was a win for Alabama, but it was one that had mistakes. It also was a costly victory. Running back Jalston Fowler suffered what looked to be a severe knee injury late in the game. His status for the rest of the season as of this publication is still unknown.
I imagine the faces of the next home game will look similar to the ones at the Western Kentucky game. Alabama’s next game in Tuscaloosa will be against Florida Atlantic University. It’s another game against what will be considered a lesser opponent after playing a stronger one, although some will now say Arkansas isn’t exactly a strong opponent anymore. Whatever the case may be, each face has a story to tell. I’ll be there to try and find them. If you want to see more faces from the Alabama/Western Kentucky game, I invite you to check out the full gallery at http://www.dsmithimages.com/site/misc-galleries/the-faces-of-a-season—western-kentucky/1/