During a trip last week to South Bend I was able to stop by the Collegiate Football Hall of Fame (after
sneaking into ND Stadium through an unlocked gate and getting to walk-out onto the field). I had not
expected to see the hall of fame, so I had not brought my camera. I was able to buy a disposable one
which had 27 exposures. I thought surely this would be enough exposures if I only shot pictures of Bama
items. Boy was I wrong.
Bama was so well represented that I could have shot several more whole rolls of film. Alabama's
obvious mark on college football history is inescapable when you walk through that museum. Even with
the undeniable slant towards the Big Ten and Notre Dame, Alabama's tremendous success is very
prominent in all the displays. I'm really not exagerating when I say I walked around in the museum for
four hours with constant goosebumps. I especially liked one display which was entitled "Football's
Aristocracy" which had a series of photographs of Alabama and Notre Dame.
There was a father (from Pittsburgh) and his teenage son walking through just ahead of me and I
continually heard his son comment on what a real "powerhouse" Alabama has been. The father stated
"Yeah they're as consistently strong as you and me dying."
In contrast, Auburn (and most other SEC schools, except TN) was really just an after thought. Outside of
being listed as part of one the greatest rivalries, they really were only mentioned through Bo, Pat
Sullivan, and Shug.
Sorry I'm going on so long but I have to at least share my favorite part of the whole museum. In the center
of the Hall they have a room that is shaped like a small stadium and field. High on the walls are 10 or 12
projection screens. There, they show a 10 minute segment of time progressing still photos of pre-game,
warm-ups, and the bands before a Michigan game at The Big House. Next there is a 14 minute segment
of footage from actual games (of which Bama's presence is huge) and half-time lockerroom talks. The
best part is when they show a football sitting up-right on the tee just before kick-off. They crank the
crowd noise on this incredible surround-sound system that would make Dolby proud. You really feel
like you're in the crowd; and just as the you see the kicker's black shoe swing to the ball you hear a real
audio clip and feel the rumble of "Roooooooooooooooooooooooll"; and then as the foot strikes the ball;
"Tide!!!!!! Roll!!!!!" bursts your eardrums and shakes you in your bones. I swear I felt like I was at
Bryant Denny. Man, it was awesome. I sure was proud to bleed crimson.