In last year's absurd Alabama preview, I suggested that 'Bama is really the same team every single year, in as much as four specific aspects - the mildly effective, fresh-faced, Bama-banged quarterback; the physical embodiment of the platonic running back ideal; the immovable front seven; and the undersized wide receiver/IED - are present every season, regardless of results. Re: the "platonic running back ideal," I focused on the guy I then assumed would be next off the assembly line:
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But it was intriguing enough that one of the editors of an Alabama-centric annual coming out this summer asked me to submit a piece on the unspectacular consistency of the Alabama running back. Digging in the archives, I expected the production from the position over the last 25 years - since Bear Bryant retired and bit it in 1982 - would represent more or less a straight line.
That article's not going to happen, because any notion of consistency among Alabama running backs is sort of a myth. Since it's a busy day here in the non-blog world, and since I did the work, and since it's no longer a proprietary editorial secret, you should know it looks more like this:
The years with asterisks (1985, 2001-02) are years that combine the averages of the two leading rushers, whose stats were very close. What we can learn from this:
b) Shaun Alexander (1998-99) was pretty awesome.
c) A whole stable of guys under Dennis Franchione (2001-02) were pretty awesome, though you probably don't remember any of them.
So what we really have here is a great example of very limited personal observation forming an opinion that can't be backed up over any extended period of time. Such shortsightedness is what the Internet is for, of course, but it won't do in print. Let it stand here as random trivia on a slow day.