In the buildup towards Monday night’s historic clash between Notre Dame and Miami, there have been numerous occasions where sports media, talk radio and internet message boards have compared the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide to the 1992 Miami Hurricanes. Such comparisons are ridiculous.
There is only one similarity between the two teams—and that is that they both had won the title the previous year and were seeking history in repeating. Beyond that, there is simply nothing even remotely similar about the two teams or the two programs.
Outside the state of Alabama and a few observant media members, the consensus belief was that Alabama was no match for the mighty Hurricanes and that the Tide would be swept away in a sea of green and orange glory. Twenty years later, there are plenty of people who not only give the Fighting Irish a chance to beat Alabama, some people are picking them outright to win.
In the run-up to the 1993 Sugar Bowl, Miami players and media figures did a lot of talking. A lot of talking, and a lot of pretty disrespectful trash talk was thrown about. It could be heard in player interviews and it could be heard in the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Twenty years later, every one of the Alabama players speaking to the media in interviews have heaped praise and respect on their upcoming opponent. There is no trash talk and no bulletin board material being provided by the 2012 Crimson Tide.
The 1992 Miami team was a loosely coagulated, largely unregulated bunch of thugs. Although immensely talented, the team was unprepared and undisciplined and ran through a fairly easy Big East schedule, The 2012 Alabama team is all discipline and all business. It is one of the least penalized teams in the country and doesn’t have any thug factor whatsoever. Its schedule included the routinely brutal SEC murderers row. While the 2012 installment of the SEC West wasn’t the gauntlet it has been in years past, there is nothing “easy” about playing in this conference.
The 1992 Miami squad was still an upstart, historically speaking. Despite having won national titles beginning a decade beforehand, the Hurricane program was still nouvelle riche. They were brash, cocky and couldn’t act like they’d been there because they hadn’t for very long. The Crimson Tide isn’t nouvelle anything. This program has been winning conference and national titles since Calvin Coolidge was President and won its first title two years before Miami football was even a good idea.
If people want to talk about programs seeking to establish themselves among the historical dynasties in college football, then the Miami discussion needs to be had in the same breath as the ones about Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Alabama and Notre Dame programs that had similar runs of greatness. But the comparisons need to stop right there because aside from the strings of championship wins, there is nothing similar between 1992 Miami and 2012 Alabama. Nothing.