And it began in SEC Country naturally.
Anytime you see a 47-year-old wedding photographer from Australia spend $8,000 to fly himself and his Alabama graduate wife to the States and salivating over getting a glimpse and maybe an autograph from the Crimson Tide royal family, you know SEC fans are rabid. And maybe something else, too.
Antony Hands was among hundreds who crowded into the hotel lobby getting autographs or just a momentary peek at their favorite Alabama players.
He did get signatures from Landon Collins, Amari Cooper and Christion Jones. And has Hands met Nick Saban yet?
“Oh, God no,” he said, practically swooning.
He carried a colorful, handmade sign he made with seven bucks from Wal-Mart that read: “I Flew All the Way from Australia to Meet Nick Saban.”
I just flew from Austin, but was feeling no less passionate about the experience.