Alabama's Barrett Jones (75) plays with AJ McCarron's hair during Media Day for the BCS National Championship college football game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Miami. Alabama faces Notre Dame in Monday's championship game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Alabama center Barrett Jones recoiled in mock horror upon hearing a particular word in a seemingly generic question in the days leading up to the BCS national championship game Monday.
That word was ‘‘dynasty,’’ and it came in a question about the Crimson Tide’s chance to claim a third national title in the last four seasons with a victory against Notre Dame.
‘‘You know I’m not allowed to answer those kinds of questions,’’ Jones said with a shake of his head. ‘‘You know what would happen if coach [Nick] Saban watched this interview and saw me use the D-word?’’
The group of media circling Jones dissolved into laughter, but there’s nothing funny in the world of Alabama football about being presumptuous. That, you see, would work against Saban’s endless quest to create ‘‘the right kind of psychological disposition,’’ as he termed it Sunday.
‘‘We have a game to win here,’’ Tide defensive end Damion Square said. ‘‘Everybody remembers you by the last thing you did, so to be speaking that way before the game is not smart. If we lose this one, that D-word won’t even matter.’’
Here’s another word you won’t catch Saban’s players uttering: ‘‘repeat.’’
‘‘Aw, that’s a really bad word,’’ Alabama guard Chance Warmack said. ‘‘That’s a complacency word, ‘repeat.’ ‘Repeat’ means, ‘I’m not going to work hard today.’ That’s what ‘repeat’ means. So we definitely don’t use that word.’’
The Tide has banned the
R-word from its collective lexicon. That’s how concerned players and coaches were about the possibility of another disappointing championship follow-up.
After defeating Texas to win the 2009 national title, Alabama suffered three losses and was forced to settle for a thrashing of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl the next season.
But in going a combined 24-2 the last two seasons, including a victory against LSU in the BCS national championship game last season, the Tide has excelled at taking a simple approach.
Crafted in Saban’s all-business image, Alabama players spout variations of his many maxims with alarming fervor.
‘‘Each team has its own story and its own motivation to be successful,’’ Warmack said. ‘‘The reason why ‘repeat’ is such a bad word is it kind of discounts the team before that team. We’re all different in our own way, so when you use the word ‘repeat,’ it kind of groups everybody together.’’
Asked to name the last dynasty in college football, Warmack
offered up USC, Miami and
Nebraska. With a victory Monday, Alabama doubtless would be the recognized heir in a staggering run of seven consecutive national championships for the Southeastern Conference.
Just don’t expect to hear any such talk from the Tide until after the expected slugfest.
‘‘For the football fan, it’s pretty neat to think about those kinds of things,’’ Jones said. ‘‘But we try to not think about them. If you start thinking about legacies, you just get so caught up in a body of work, and this game is not about a body of work.’’
What is it about, then?
‘‘It’s about one game and one night and two teams,’’ Jones said, ‘‘and one coming away as a