Several hours after Monday night's BCS championship mismatch between Alabama and Notre Dame, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban explained why his celebration time would be brief.
"if you appreciate something and you understand what it took, I think that you may be more committed to what you need to do in the future to continue to be successful," he said. "Every opponent that we play next year will certainly have it targeted on their schedule to beat us, so we'll have a lot of challenges for ourselves. The team that we have next year is 0-0."
Alabama has a chance to make college football history with a third consecutive national championship, and its regular-season schedule is beyond favorable:
Aug. 31 Va. Tech in Atlanta The Hokies had won 10 or more games in eight consecutive seasons before sliding to 7-6 in 2012.
Sept. 14 at Texas A&M Johnny Manziel took down the Tide his first try, but Alabama has an open date to prepare this time around.
Sept. 21 COLORADO STATE Former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain went 4-8 in his first season with the Rams.
Sept. 28 OLE MISS The Rebels have to play at Tuscaloosa two straight times due to a quirk in the SEC's bridge schedule.
Oct. 5 GEORGIA STATE GSU is moving up to the Bowl Subdivision after capping its 1-10 FCS finale with a 51-7 loss to Maine.
Oct. 12 at Kentucky The Wildcats went 0-8 in the league last year and have beaten Alabama once since SEC play began in 1933.
Oct. 19 ARKANSAS Alabama blasted the reeling Razorbacks 52-0 this past season, and that game was played in Fayetteville.
Oct. 26 TENNESSEE Saban is 6-0 against the Volunteers as Alabama's coach, winning each of the past three meetings by 31 points.
Nov. 9 LSU The Tigers have lost 10 juniors to the NFL draft, and Alabama has a week off to prep for this one, too.
Nov. 16 at Mississippi State Alabama has rolled in the past five series matchups by scores of 32-7, 31-3, 30-10, 24-7 and 38-7.
Nov. 23 UT-CHATTANOOGA These two teams last met in 2009, with the Crimson Tide taking a 35-0 lead with 40 minutes remaining.
Nov. 30 at Auburn This could be Alabama's third-toughest game, and it would have to be closer than the recent 49-0 debacle.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...