Have you ever had 100,000 people screaming in your face at once? Neither have the Rams, but that’ll change after Saturday.
CSU is headed to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to take on the Crimson Tide at home. The Tide headed into this season with a 13-1 2012 record, and back-to-back National Championships.
Their home turf is Bryant-Denny Stadium, where 101,821 crimson-clad supporters will be backing Nick Saban and his team of winners.
Bryant-Denny is the basis of football lore, a legend all to itself. Since winning their first game ever played at Denny Stadium 55-0 in 1929, the Tide have maintained a winning tradition.
“When they hear Bear Bryant’s voice on the jumbo-trons, and they show the great plays, and the history of ‘what is Alabama football,’ it’s kind of like it’s a separate being that goes through that stadium,” coach Jim McElwain said of the place he spent four years. “It makes my hair standup on my arm right now, it’s pretty special. Don’t get caught up in the history; the mystique. Respect it, but don’t fear it. “
Tide fans have been privileged to witness a 225-46-3 home-field record. Since 2007, when Saban came to play, Alabama has an .857 winning percentage, with a 30-5 record. One loss a year for Saban.
“The speed they have is crazy, and they’re big too,” defensive back, Shaq Bell said. “[Alabama quarterback] AJ just sits in the pocket, he’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks we play. We are going to have to play fast, go to the ball like we have been doing and just compete.”
Barring the obvious stature of the team itself, Bryant-Denny is its own obstacle to overcome. The 12th-man may be an A&M-coined term, but it certainly applies to the Crimson Tide’s home base.
Bryant-Denny boasts 157 skyboxes, four jumbo scoreboards and wrap-around display boards on the East and West stands.
That, in addition to the booming narration, courtesy of Paul W. “Bear” Bryant at the start of each game ranks Alabama’s facility as one of the top 5 stadium experiences in the college football nation.
The Rams are the first team Alabama will play at home this season, so the expectation is for a packed house. No one on the CSU football team has played in front of a crowd even half as large.
Prior to Saturday, the biggest crowd they’ve played in front of was 93,652 when the Rams took on the Volunteers at Tennessee, in 1989. Still, SEC fandom is a college legend that the Rams have to be prepared for.
“I spent many Saturdays going to Kyle Field watching the Aggies play, so I know what to expect,” center Weston Richburg said. “But I don’t think it’s going to be a shock to any of my other teammates, they’ve seen it on TV. We will have to handle the noise, but we are excited about it.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2, an honor no members of the current team have experienced. The last time Colorado State was featured on ‘the duece’ was Dec. 22, 2005 against the Navy in the Poinsetta Bowl.
” We are going to go down and measure our program; it’s finding a baseline,” said McElwain. “It’s pretty cool, they came to Colorado State and they get an opportunity to play the best.”Football Beat Reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org