Why Saban's Alabama Team Gives FSU Fans Hope in Jimbo Fisher.

After a brutal loss to Oklahoma, it was difficult for me to feel confident in the changes going on with FSU football. I've always cheered and revered Jimbo Fisher as Nick Saban's protege, and pointed toward Alabama's incredible success over the past three seasons, since Saban took over, as reason to believe.

Following the nastiness in Norman, I was compelled to take a look back at Alabama's rise to BCS championship contention. And what I discovered was kind of shocking.

In 2007, Saban's first season as Head Coach, Alabama went 7-6 (5 of these wins, I believe, were ultimately vacated). This included a loss to FSU, a game in which Xavier Lee dominated. Which is hilarious.

It also included a loss to Louisana-Monroe. At home, in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Do you think any of the Crimson Tide faithful thought Bama would be putting tears in Tim Tebow's eyes, just two seasons later, and bringing home a national championship? Unlikely.

Obviously these are different teams, different coaches, different situations. But Jimbo Fisher hasn't been shy about his devotion to the Saban playbook. And this playbook, in its first year, delivered a pretty awful season for the Crimson Tide.

In its second year, it led Alabama to be ranked #1 by week 10. They competed for an SEC championship, but lost a close one to UF (and then lost their BCS bowl game to Utah. But whatever.)

We all know what happened in 2009, and what will likely happen again in 2010.

Unfortunately, if FSU is on a similar trajectory, Christian Ponder won't be under center for any real part of our success. I still have hope that we can compete for an ACC championship, and perhaps an Orange Bowl victory. Only time will tell.

But one thing is for certain: a team that went 7-6 and took a home loss to a borderline FCS team in 2007, was in the national championship conversation within one season. Given Fisher's commitment to excellence and player development, similar to Saban, I think FSU fans have a lot of reason to hope, if they're willing to give things a reasonable amount of time to develop.

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