For most programs, an 11-2 season isn't a cause for soul-searching. Alabama isn't taking its 0-2 finish to the 2013-14 season lightly, however. Several players from the team have been open about their disappointment in missing out on a chance for a third-straight BCS national championship.
Many echoed AJ McCarron's comments after the Sugar Bowl that teammates didn't "buy in" to head coach Nick Saban and Alabama's preparations for Auburn and Oklahoma. Former linebacker Adrian Hubbard was among those who felt that effort waned. Via AL.com:
"I think the people who didn't buy in are eliminated from our team," Hubbard said. "At Alabama, we do things a little bit different than everybody else. Our standards are a lot higher than everyone else and next year will be a great year for Alabama."
Alabama's disdain for losing starts at the top with Saban, Hubbard said.
"When you lose, it reignites the fire," Hubbard said. "Everyone hates losing around there, so when it happens, no one's happy. When you win, everyone's happy."
Wide receiver Kevin Norwood cited "distractions" that took focus away from the team, though he didn't give any examples. Alabama had some disciplinary issues last year, notably the dismissal of four players from the team last February. Ultimately, Norwood settled on the team "not doing the little things right." He added, "all of it's going to catch up eventually, and it did."
Alabama appears to have already turned its focus to bouncing back next season. After the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, these signs were pasted inside the Crimson Tide locker room. Via r/CFB:
On paper, there are plenty of reasons why Alabama should bounce back (as much as one can truly "bounce back" from an 11-win season, at least). It is on pace to land the No. 1 recruiting class in the land for the fourth year in a row, per 247 Sports' composite team rankings, and prized transfer quarterback Jacob Coker, who backed up Heisman winner Jameis Winston at Florida State last year, is rumored to be joining the Crimson Tide and could immediately fill the void left by McCarron.
The talent is present, yet again, for Alabama to make another national championship run. If the difference between 11-2 and 14-0 is in their psyche, the Crimson Tide appear to be well on their way to rectifying their 2013 "woes."