PHOENIX, Ariz. - An oasis in the desert may just be the thing that gives Bama the next best thing to the home field advantage.
The Half Moon Sports Grill in Phoenix is home to the national championship welcome party, to be hosted on Sunday night from 7:30 until 11. It's also the home of the Alabama Alumni Association's weekly meeting.
The bar's staff said there's a huge crowd every weekend to watch the Alabama game. During bowl games, there's standing room only. And for the national championship? They're expecting huge crowds.
"Every Saturday that Alabama plays we are able to actually set up and get a huge crowd in here for the games," Half Moon Sports Grill general manager Alyssa Miller told us.
For the Iron Bowl alone, around 150 fans showed up, wearing their crimson and white. And for the game on Monday, the bar will be pulling out all the stops, changing their average restaurant seating arrangement into family style, allowing them to fill the restaurant up to the fire code limit.
"That way, even people who don't know each other within the group, they sit together, and it has more of a camaraderie and atmosphere where everybody is together and cheering and chanting and having fun," Miller said.
It's that spirit that defines Alabama fans. At least, according to Phoenix Alabama Alumni group founder Brian Katz, it does.
"Oh good grief, yeah, no one out here knows what football is all about. No one knows it better than the folks at Alabama," Katz said.
And that reputation for loving football is known to the locals.
"We do host other alumni groups, but nothing compares to what our Alabama group is and what they bring in," Miller said.
Ever after a decade of serving drinks to Tide fans, Miller said, "I honestly can say they are one of the nicest groups we have... You have your group of sometimes football fanatic fans, and sometimes they can be ignorant and mean to you. And you're just trying to do everything you can for them. We never have that problem with the Alabama group."
Maybe it's just a business strategy, but this native Midwestern and Phoenix resident told us, "Any type of southern football is always the best football," Miller said.
So, at least at the Half Moon, Alabama can expect a home field advantage all the way in Phoenix.