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Thanks to Gerry Dorsey for this week’s fascinating questions:

1. what team will be the biggest surprise in the sec in ’08?? the biggest disappointment??

I’m sticking with my prediction that Ole Miss is the sleeper in the conference and I will add that I would not be surprised to see the Cocks (hehe – he just said cocks – absolutely never gets old) do well this year. The Vawls are this years train wreck waiting to happen; no defense + new offense = disaster.
2. we appear to know who our qb is going to be for the season barring something crazy, but not all offensive skill positions are so certain. as the season progresses, who do you see stepping up to be this squad’s most productive rb?? and wr??

Terry Grant is due. But I also believe that Saban likes the committee style running back so I look for either Jimmy Johns (my bad, couldn’t resist) Roy Upchurch or Glen Coffee to make their mark this year. As far as receiver look for Nikita Stover to lead all categories, but I believe there will not be a lot of difference between the group as a whole. You should notice a trend here – I believe that if this offense is successful it will be because the ball is spread around and keeps the defense guessing. We’ve been used to one running back with all the carries and one WR leading all others by a large margin. I don’t think you’re going to see that this season and if you don’t the most important stat, W, will be greater that it has been lately.

3. obviously “the saban” is lord and savior, and created the heavens and the earth, but if you were forced to trade saban for another active coach, who would it be and why??

Similar to Gerry’s answer for the trade-a-player question a few weeks ago, I’m standing pat. There is no one else I want. I think that Saban is the perfect coach at the perfect time for Alabama. To give a little bit of an answer I’ll say that I like the way that Mark Richt is running things at Georgia and I think that Tubberville is doing about as well at Auburn as any coach can, and he is to be commended for that but I quite happy with who we have and neither one of those guys would come to Alabama now anyway. Our next coach will be coordinator somewhere with a lot of success or a mid major coach with the same characteristic. But I hope that in at least 5-7 years, minimum.

4. some people view bama fans as insane. while “insane” is an awfully strong word, many bama fans have a disturbing obsession with their team. what is the most significant/unique/valuable/weird piece of bama paraphernalia you have and why??

As soon as I wake up on a game day before I do anything else I place my crimson flag with the white scripted A in its place on the front of our house. Only football games, whether home or away; so this happens twelve or thirteen times a year, but it is the most crucial thing I do that day and I am obsessive about it. If I am at the site of the away game I call my wife and make sure she has it up (she hasn’t traveled much since the children arrived- that’s changing this year and I’m not sure what I’m going to do – well, there goes any hope for productive work today.) Also when out of towns guests are stating with us, they are awakened by “Yea, Alabama” very loud. Hungover or not.  In ’99, after I put the flag up I would go get Hardee’s biscuits and got to my dad’s and we’d read the paper, eat, drink coffee and discuss the game. We won the SEC that year. I guess I’ve got to start that again. OK, I’m very OCD about game days. Game days are the best.

All that pissing and moaning I did yesterday;forget about that. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Yeah the situation is bad – for Jimmy Johns. For most of us it will be forgotten, completely, in about 66 days. No matter what happens, opposing fans are going to make fun of our school and us likewise. There is nothing we can say or do that will prohibit that. They are still going to deride the Saban – I mean look at the facts, the man give $1million to the school for scholarships and rival fans say it’s a make-up for a mediocre season.

Saban can’t win. If he keeps everybody and tries to help them, his efforts as a disciplinarian are laughed at. If he cuts everybody then he sacrificing “good kids” for the sake of winning. No matter what he does he can’t win… unless he actually wins.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: we are talking about college football and college football only. At the end of the day, it’s all about wins and losses. You could be Nelson Mandela and if you don’t win enough football games you are not going to make it as a coach.

I do tire of the superior attitude that is projected by the Aubs right now but something happened yesterday that put it all back into perspective:

I got an email from a friend. The email began as a mass email to several people when the news of Johns’ transgressions broke. As is usually the case when this happens recipients started adding their two cents and replying to all. Well, one of the repliers was an Auburn fan and his addition to the conversation was to express his glee that Alabama had what he referred to as thugs. Only thugs wasn’t the noun, it was the adjective describing the noun, which in his case was the n-word. He also expressed satisfaction that Auburn didn’t have any of those and closed it all with a heart felt “War Eagle”.

So in 2008, there are people that describe fellow human beings, in emails to dozens of people that they don’t know, as racial slurs that have been taboo for a long time. And they are Auburn fans. Nice!

See, it wasn’t near as bad as I made it out to be.

Thanks Auburn. Just when I think it can’t be any worse, you do something like this. And totally redeem yourself.

War Eagle indeed.

The Jimmy Johns situation is bad on so may fronts that it’s hard to get a hold of and the least of these is the end result of football games. Shock is probably the best word to describe what the feelings are right now; I just don’t believe that this has happened. It’s just so bad on so many levels. A good bit of the day yesterday was spent reading as information became available, reading comments and the inevitable shots and attempts at humor on other sites and blogs, and listening to sports talk radio which I rarely do. When information overload was reached I went and hit some golf balls at the range and took my wife out to dinner where we discussed, you guessed it, the Jimmy John situation. After a little time away from it I’ve been able to collect my thoughts. Here they are:

I feel bad for Jimmy. He has screwed his life up and not to say that he can never overcome and be a responsible citizen one day but his road to doing that is much tougher. I played golf last week with a former player who was in town for the Bridge Builders Golf Tournament. This guy had it all together. He had played ball and then gone on to get a graduate degree and is a, seemingly, successful businessman now. He had is life together and was here to support a good cause and offer advice and guidance to other young people and on top of that he was a lot of fun to be around. I admire that. Then to see someone with so much talent waste so much of his life. For lack of a better word it’s just sad.

I place blame solely on Jimmy Johns. It is easy to see where Saban might have had clues or heard rumors but I in no way believe he knew this was going on. You can say what you want about Saban but I believe that he cares for these players. He wouldn’t be where if he didn’t. You can talk about the money all you want but Saban would have never made it this far if he were in it for the money. There are a lot easier ways to earn that much money than to work through the ranks of coaching. He obviously cares about these kids. Like most parents who have kids that are on or get involved with drugs there was probably very little he could have done. He can’t kick him off the team for rumors and he can’t search his room for drugs. I’m sure that if Saban ever asked Johns about anything it would have been denied.

I don’t blame Shula either. He had nothing to do with this and to say so is just a cop out. I will say though that the seriousness of this does make me want an explanation from Saban. I believe that we have a right to know how someone that was doing something this bad could be associated with the team and what is being done to make sure that it never happens again.

One aspect of this is the disapointment from the realization that things are still not completely right on the team. Johns’ actions are very selfish. They were all about his benefit and his risk was greater than just him. Maybe not as far as jail, but he has damaged the team none-the-less. He might have thought he was protecting his team mates by keeping this to himself and not including them, as reports have indicated, but that it s cop out too. His actions have affected not only his team but also our university and its public image. I would hope that at this point in Saban’s tenure that all of that selfish attitude would be gone. I guess now I will have to hope that this is the last desperate act in cleansing bad elements from the program, but I’m much more skeptical about it.

This incident is a huge black eye on the image of our school. From this point on and for quite some time we’re going to be known as the Cocaine School. You might as well get ready for it because it’s coming. And I don’t mind the teasing as much as the fact that there are people now who will see this incident and believe that this was an accurate reflection of our program. We’ve just gone from Bear Bryant worshipers to Coke heads. I don’t mind being called a Bear Bryant worshiper but for someone that has never seen cocaine, much less used it, that is going to sting. I’m not a prude or a goody-two-shoes either. I have drank way too much way too many times amoungst many other bad decisions I’ve made, but I’ve stayed away from hard drugs, thank heavens. The association with a hard drug is something that shames me. The last ten years have been tough to bear. I was hoping that we were moving past that. This is a big fat reminder that we aren’t out of the woods yet. In fact, I’m not sure I can even see the light.

The real troubling thing is that there is probably some truth to the drug thing. While I’ve never done coke, or seen it, I know that I’ve been close to it. It used to be a deal with some of the musicians and some of that crowd, which isn’t surprising. However, within the last year and a half I was personally aware that it was in at least some of the frat houses. And I think it’s tolerated because it basically stayed there. Those kids are spending their parents money on it and if they keep it close to the house and don’t bother other folks with it then no one really says anything. I am sure there are incidents where kids are in the open with it but they are few and far between. I don’t think I’m being naive here when I say that unless you’re moving in certain circles you aren’t going to see it. Sure every once in a while a kid gets hurt or killed but it’s just dismissed as one bad seed. The sad fact is that there are a lot of bad seeds.

I don’t believe that that kind of problem is exclusive to the University of Alabama but I also believe that the elitist attitude of privileged 18 to 22-year old kids is a little bit stronger here than most schools and that has been and will continue to be a problem. There has to be an element here that says cocaine use it OK. Really more so that using cocaine is cool. As long as that attitude persists the problem will not go away. I don’t beleive that for one instance that we can clean up campus and make it a lilly-white home for teatotallers and virgins, nor would I want it to be, but a place where cocaine use is not cool shouldn’t be that much to ask for. Let’s face it, Jimmy Johns didn’t bring coke dealing to Tuscaloosa. It was here before him and I can guaran-damn-tee you that he didn’t go out looking to get kids hooked on coke to earn extra money. It probably started as a conversation with him and a kid with long bangs wearing a long-sleeved shirt with shorts with boat shoes, who said, “Hey Jimmy, you know where I can get some coke?”

That’s the point Jimmy should have thought about the NFL money in a couple of years and said, “hell no.”

But he didn’t and know he’s going to have to serve hard time while Johnny Frat-Boy’s dad gets him out of any problems he might get into while at school and then he’ll get a sweet job from a friend of the family when he get his degree six years from now.

Jimmy was at fault for his actions. There is just a lot of others out there that don’t have to answer for theirs. That’s not right. And that is not representative of this university. Except that now it is. Jimmy Johns assoctiation with this school might have been brief but his legacy will last a long, long time.

My emotions, my wife noted, are very similar to what I go through after a loss. I believe that’s accurate. I feel like my pride has been wounded. Usually the answer to that is more football – Let’s also take a minute and  not act like this isn’t about football- sure, it’s bigger on the scheme of things but were it not for football this would be another nameless drug arrest that we would never hear about. Obviously, this will sting a little bit longer because there is no football for two more months. Sure, starting practice will ease the pain and a win will be a big distraction, especially over a big rival, but no matter how good this season turns out, no matter how many games this team wins, after every win you’re going to hear someone make a comment about cocaine, and while that isn’t us, it’s at least some of us, and that will make every win, at least for me, a little bit hollow.

I’m tired, I’ve got too much work to do, I don’t want to do it, and with everything that went on last week with the blog it’s just been a little overwhelming. I’m behind on the Worst of Times and I’m goin to have to speed it up to get all ten done with enough time to do the Best of Times. Alright, enough crying for the “whah”mbulance.

Here are this weeks round table questions: (Special thanks to 3rd Saturday in Blogtober for moderating this week). [Ed.: Why can’t it just be thanks? What makes any thanks more special than any other thanks?]

1) Thanks to Roy Kramer legacy scheduling, Bama is in it’s “road year” when most of the great games will be on the road and season tickets basically are buy one (Iron Bowl) get seven free. You get to swap one home game for one road game. What’s your call?

Kentucky for Georgia. Are you kidding me? That’s a no-brainer. That took like 2.6 seconds. Next! (I’d normally trade anything to keep from going to Fayetteville but that is a very winnable road game.)

2) After Clemson, our Non-Con schedule is pretty weak. You are able to trade any one them for any BCS team in the country. Who and why?

I’m a sucker for traditional match ups and after going there and really enjoying the fans and the games – well, other than losing both – I’d have to go with Oklahoma. Note to Mal Moore: Schedule another series with the Sooners.

3) You can bring back one player from Alabama history to play in his college condition. Who do you want?

I try not to read the comments of other bloggers before I write my own but I did see where TideFaninTN went with Biscuit, who I was going to pick, so I’m going with Derrick Thomas instead. He was a close second anyway and I sure do miss the way he blew up a play (I was about to say a la David Pollack, but to be fair Pollack did it a la DT).

4) Frankly, the idea of non-traditional food at a stadium is borderline sacrilegious. Still, the change is coming whether you like it or not, so it might as well benefit you. Gone will be the stale soft pretzels and nacho cheese. You get to pick one thing to replace it.

I’m sure that I’m going to be called a heathen or communist but I just don’t get all that torn up about losing the possibility of paying three times too much for the 13-year-old Brookwood High School softball player  to hand me an hours old mediocre hot dog and stale popcorn. First, we eat much, much better at the tailgate (can you say Chicken-on-a-stick?) and I’m usually full, second, I generally look at food during the game as a barrier to maintianing the buzz I’ve worked hard all morning to generate (the balance between pre-game drinks and the contents of a flask during the game is such a fine, delicate art that I cannot begin to do it justice here), and third, it’s just not good food. Period. I am however, very excited about the return of Coke. Bourbon simply does not work with Dr. Pepper or heaven forbid, Pepsi. I am officially not answering this question out of my sheer and utter devotion for the poured covertly-under-the-seat, mixed-with-a-shaker-handle, sweet, sweet nectar-of-heaven; bourbon and coke. It’s as much a part of football as the actual football. Anyone that says differently is just wrong. [Ed.: I’m sorry for the rambling; there are just some things I believe in.]

5) Since we would never wish injury upon another player, let’s say the President calls and says you can send one player from an opponent’s team to Guantanamo Bay before the game. Who do you pick and why?

Whoever the cookie cutter, replacement defensive lineman that has been plugged into the Auburn defensive line this year is. Where does Tubby keep getting these guys and why can’t Alabama’s O-line ever seem to block them. Brodie Croyle just cried out from fear and pain as I typed this.

That was fun. I feel much better.

[My new name for the roundup/link type posts]

I spent all weekend in front of the television and only saw him make one shot. Alabama’s Michael Thompson did indeed make the cut at the U.S. Open and took it a step farther by finishing 72 holes at 8-over tied for 29th and the low amateur. Congratulations Michael and best of luck to you as you start your pro career.

This is not as good as it sounds. Alabama senior signal caller Ross’ Brother (John Parker) Wilson has been named to the Johnny Unitas  Award watch list. According to the folks that give out the award it “takes athletic performance into consideration as well as off-the-field values of good character, citizenship, scholastic achievement and strong leadership.”

Which sounds nice in theory until you look at the other senior quarterbacks up for the award and find the name: Rhett Bomar, who in my opinion sets the bar for “off-the-field values”. In addition to the absolute best bangs in the conference, Ross’ Brother also is the owner of a DUI citation, which he received as a redshirt freshman (I think). I haven’t gone into details of the other watch list members but I’m thinking that the status of the award has taken a hit.

To clarify, I’m certain that both Bomar and Wilson have learned from their transgressions and are walking the straight and narrow and should be congratulated for that but if you’re going to give an award that claims to hold character in high regard then I think the candidates should have led unsullied lives up to this point. Besides, we already have a system to reward those who have screwed up and (cough, cough) straightened themselves out. It’s called elected office.

Also to clarify, in the event that Ross’ Brother leads the Tide to many victories or a few vivtories over certain rivals, I will propose that my wife have another child, just so that I can name it John Parker, be it a male or female.  I will also go on endlessly about how I have always loved the guy and knew that he was the man all along; as well as refer to him by his given name.

If he had his way. Doug Gillette continues his interesting look at what would have happened in past seasons if the old bowl system had implemented a “plus one” game to determine the national champion. In this installment he looks at the ’03 season. [Ed. Note: I’ve shamelessly ripped of Doug enough where I feel the need to provide a link and acknowledge his greatness plus this is a semi-sorta mea culpa for referring to his Georgia Bulldogs as Johnny-come-latelys in my post about the ‘07 Alabama-Georgia game.]

And finally, Haiku:

The temps are getting higher

Cleared players lower

Saban knows what he’s doing?

I’d like to begin by thanking those of you who made positive comments on the “Stuff Crimson and White People Like” post at Every Day Should Be Saturday that Gerry Dorsey and I worked on. I have always liked that site a lot and got a big kick out of seeing something I had been a part of writing on there. Don’t be too hard on Holly about the pictures. I gave her the option of doing what she wanted; we wrote the post a month or so ago and didn’t know they were going to publish it until Wednesday night. It was a hectic week and there was no way I could have come up with pictures that quick, plus despite her Orange loving ways, she is pretty talented and has a great sense of humor and I felt confident that she would do an admirable job and was actually glad to have her do it with the time constraints. I might have picked a different Bryant pictures (OK, I certainly would have) but I loved the Auburn “championship ring”. She has always been gracious in helping me and regardless of her allegiance I consider her a friend and a good (no great) sport. She’s welcome at my tailgate any time.

I also got confirmation, via the comments, that Houndstooth bras and thongs exist. Now we just need some verifiable proof in the form of pictures, preferably modeled on a lovely young female.

Now, on to the round table; I’d like to thank all of this week’s participants, in no particular order:

Roll Bama Roll

DBH Dance Party (Who for the record is not a Bama Blogger – btw I loved the Kenny

Fisher youtube. Part of the derivation for my blog comes from his quote)

The Tide Druid

Uncle Rico’s Time Machine

3rd Saturday in Blogtober (Crimson King)

Alabama Gameday

You’ve already seen my answers as I gave them with the questions on Monday. So we’ll just dive in to some of the responses.

1. Other than the contest against Little Brother, what do you think is a “must-win” for Alabama this season?

As much as I hate to say this, but how about Arkansas State? Seriously people, the embarrassing November collapses to State, LSU, and Auburn are bad enough, but did we really need the added humiliation of a home loss to one of the worst teams in the worst conference in the country? No, we didn’t. And we’re right back in the same situation with a trap game against an “inferior” opponent late in the season that should be an easy breather. The Indians Red Wolves have a back to back 1000 yard season rusher in Reggie Arnold and a mobile quarterback in Corey Leonard, the kind of combo that got the Warhawks an upset win last season. Just ask Texas, who escaped with a 21-13 win after allowing 397 yards (57 more than the Longhorns could gain) and ten points in the fourth while being shutout in the final quarter, and Tennessee, who gave up 178 yards rushing (130 of them to Arnold) in their 48-27 win, how seriously we should be taking them. And honestly, we need to be taking everyone on the slate seriously, since finally actually beating all the teams we are SUPPOSED to beat in a season is the first step we need to take in order to get back to contending for the SEC. Todd – Roll Bama Roll

Here’s what makes that question so hard to answer: at Alabama, every game is a must-win. At this time last year, we were all sitting around wondering if Week 2 at Vandy was a must-win. Of COURSE it is! There’s a story one of the bloggers — and I can’t remember which one — told about going to a random Kentucky basketball game like last year, and wearing an Alabama hat (without really thinking about the implications). And what happened to him? More than one UK fan took the opportunity to heckle him … about Kentucky’s overtime win over ‘Bama in 1997. The point, simply, is that every game is must-win in Tuscaloosa. It’s the best and worst part about the job. Will Heath – DBH Dance Party

Like me, several of the contributors think that Mississippi State is a game Alabama must win, especially this season. LSU was a close second.

2. Every year there seems to be a player that no one is really talking about pre-season that garners accolades by the end of the year. Who will that be for Alabama this year?

Mike Johnson. He struggled at RT (why must we keep saying that year after year?!?! WHY?!?!!!11), but he’s a mean run blocker and the move to LG should really make him an asset on the offensive line, and hopefully he can garner some hype for himself. Todd – Roll Bama Roll

Earl Alexander at WR. He had himself a very good A-Day performance, and we desperately need a few Receivers to step up and fill the shoes of Hall, Brown, and Caddell. He is tall, quick, and fairly strong, and doesn’t seem to be garnering much attention with the likes of Burton Scott and Julio Jones getting all of the media coverage. The Tide Durid

i’m going to go way out on a limb and say lb eryk anders. i’ve already mentioned this guy once over on pmr, so i’ll stick with him. he’s not all that big (6’2″ 225lbs), but has pretty good speed, and is obviously at a position in need of someone to step up. he also looked pretty solid getting 2 sacks in the a-day game…whatever that’s worth. you heard it here first. Gerry Dorsey – Uncle Rico’s Time Machine

John Parker Wilson, or as I refer to him, Ross’ brother was also a popular choice for this, but I’m going to have to be technical here and say that if you are on pre-season all-conference teams (hey, third team counts) then you aren’t an unknown. I will give this: if he flourishes there will be an element, especially in our fan base that is shocked by that.

3. In your opinion, how many true freshmen will start against Clemson? How many will start against Little Brother?

We may actually see more against Clemson since it will probably be a testing out period for a portion of the game. Sure, we do want to win, but it is only one game and we need to figure out who can step up during a pressured situation.As for the Iron Bowl, I really hope that we see the exact number needed for a victory, whatever it may be. The Tide Druid

We believe Julio Jones is ready to play now, and will against Clemson. For the sake of argument, we’ll add 2 more freshmen to the mix for the Iron Bowl, assuming they get playing time earlier in the year. Tony Orlando – Alabama Gameday

For the opener against Clemson I could see as many as seven and as few as three true freshmen starting.  Julio Jones and Jerrell Harris are obvious picks and will be starters as long as they stay healthy through the summer and fall practice.  I would also basically pencil in Mark Barron at safety as well.  As for the others, I could actually see Don’ta Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Alonzo Lawrence, and Marcel Dareus getting the stating nod because of the need for their positions.  While Coach Saban and Staff were a huge, and I mean HUGE factor in bringing the number one class for 2008 in, the pitch of potential early playing time was actually truthful, reasonable, and probable.

As far as the starters for the game against Little Brother, several true freshmen could be starting by then.  It’s tough to predict at this point because of injuries or suspensions (hopefully neither), but playing the hypothetical game I will say there could be nine to ten possible true freshmen starters.  Obviously this number is going to seem high, but it’s June and what difference does it make right now???  It’s all fun and games, but I’ll be right.  Or way off.  Anyway, the seven already mentioned and then possibly Corey Smith, or myself if we don’t find a punter, and maybe Tyler Love at one of the guard or tackle spots.  I also do believe that Burton (BJ) Scott will be a starter in the slot as well, sharing reps with Marquis Maze and putting a lot of pressure on LB’s and zone defenses.    Capstone King – 3rd Saturday in Blogtober

4. Pick one player on offense and one on defense and give a match up with an opponent that you are really looking forward to watching this season.

Ah, so many to choose from.  I’ll keep it Alabama related for now and then I’ll venture out.  I really, really want to see Eric Berry match up with Burton Scott.  Talk about the talent clash on that play.  Any and every true football fan who know who these guys are regardless of team affiliation should get at least a little excited about the idea of this match up.  Berry is quite possibly the best defensive back in the league along with a couple others in the elite group going against a for sure future All-SEC player.  Seriously though, need I say more about it?  As far as defense goes for Alabama, I just want to see Terrence Cody go one-on-one with any offensive lineman.  I don’t really care who it is as long as it is one-on-one.

As far as seeing a player from a different school besides Alabama, I would have to go with Greg Hardy from Ole Miss.  This guy had a great season last year and it all got started in the game against Alabama where he had to of had 15 tackles for loss.  I know some of you might be thinking there are better match ups, but I just have to see if Hardy is the real deal or if it was just momentum he carried after going unblocked for four quarters against Alabama.  Line him up against some of the SEC’s best offensive lineman like Andre Smith and I want to see if he’s got the moves then.

*Note, Hardy abused Mike Johnson until he was benched for Chris Capps and he was abused as well (go figure).  Hardy rarely faced Big Dre in last season’s game. Capstone King – 3rd Saturday in Blogtober

Kareem Jackson vs Mohamed Massaquoi. Jackson’s efforts against the Vols last season was one of the highlights of the year, and the Dawgs have a solid receiving corps this year. Let’s see if he can have another game where his defensive efforts help snatches victory from what looks like certain defeat before the game even starts. Todd – Roll Bama Roll

It’s difficult to say you’re looking forward to a match up between linemen because it’s so hard to focus on linemen and still watch the rest of the action. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing how Alabama’s front matches up against opposing offensive lines. As Joe Kines proved in 2004 and 2005, a solid front can make up for a number of glaring deficiencies elsewhere.
Offensively, weirdly, I’m looking forward to the coaching chess match as much as anything else — I’m interested to see what manner of personnel groups McElwain and company put on the field, and how they come up with ways to get them the ball with a chance to create something. Yes, I’m a geek. But you knew that already. Will Heath – DBH Dance Party

i enjoy watching physical specimen go up against each other. therefore, these match ups are based less on the likelihood that they will actually see a lot of each other on the field, and more on my level of interest.

rolando mcclain vs. knowshon moreno

julio jones vs. eric berry

Gerry Dorsey – Uncle Rico’s Time Machine

5. What, if any, SEC school’s head coach will be out after this season?

Steve Spurrier. Having been to Columbia, South Carolina numerous times, I can tell you that it is a nice place to visit and possibly live (I never got to see the suburban areas, so I can’t speak for them. And yes, I know the Danny Ford boys might be disappointed in me for saying such a thing). But, it is not a football hot bed, nor will it ever be a football hot bed. He’s over the age of 65 and has really looked worn down and tired of being at a program that isn’t moving up as quickly as he had hoped. Adding all of that together, it just seems that he may step down in the next year or two. The Tide Druid

The seat is getting warm for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, but he will be given time to either win, or quit. Tennessee is the obvious choice; Phil Fulmer got to Atlanta last season, but the days of winning the SEC in the courtroom or the league offices – instead of on the field – are over.

However, don’t be surprised to see Tommy Tuberville leaving town at the end of the year. He wants out; they want him out. Only his buyout stands in the way. If that issue gets resolved, he’ll be out quicker than you can blow a duck call. Tony Orlando – Alabama Gameday

Fulmer was the really popular choice

Well, that wraps up week three. Thanks again for the great responses. Have a great weekend.

This weeks Crimson & White Roundtable Roundup will be up a little later as I still have to get it edited. There were a lot of good responses. Come back later and check that out.

The Zapruder Film it’s not. Ian Rapoport has gotten his hands on the surveillance tapes from the Legacy on the night that Rashad Johnson was arrested. First of all, it gave me really bad flash backs into multiple experiences in bars around here during my tenure of frequenting clubs [best line I ever heard: “just don’t hit me in the face”] and to agree yet again with Cecil Hurt, if you want to say that Rashad was somehow at fault you probably could and if you want to say security went too far, you could say that as well. In my opinion it’s much ado about nothing and more importantly it’s over, so it doesn’t matter what the Warren Commission that forms on Finebaum (and the Opening Drive, and the Roundtable) have to say about it.

He fought the law, and he (as well as us) won. Speaking of Johnson and news that isn’t being talked about enough, all of Johnson’s charges have been dropped, which means, much to the chagrin of Auburn and Tennessee fans, this incident is over and there will be no misdemeanors much less felonies. Britton Colquitt has seen the way Johnson parties and thinks he a pussy.

If it weren’t for the completely obnoxious coverage that includes Mike Tirico and Chris Berman together, on the same broadcast, I could watch the US Open non-stop for four straight days. In sunny California today, Tide golfer Michael Thompson will try to make the cut. Thompson shot an opening round 73 and is six strokes off the lead at 3-over solidly tied for 49th. I would think that he needs to shoot as well or better today to continue playing into the weekend. Hit them well Mr. Thompson.

It’s getting better. Cecil Hurt runs down Alabama’s improvement in the NCAA cup. The good news is Alabama is up from last year and should finish solidly in the top 30. The bad news, if you wan to call it that, is that’s about middle-of-the-pack. I think that most of us believe that Alabama can and should do better.

If I weren’t married and completely in love with my beautiful wife, and she weren’t a Vol fan that lives in California, and I actually had met her in real life rather than just corresponded with her in a few emails about blog posts I would totally heart her. Considering all the obstacles I’ll just say that I enjoy her wit and talent and hope to work on something else with her in the future; Holly is still piloting the Good Ship Swindle and today is not Friday, it’s Corrections Day. This weekly feature is one of the funniest things I read on a regular basis. Check it out when it’s up later (here is last week’s version). Even if she is a Vol.

Finally, a little music:

A live version of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals’ “Magnolia Mountain”

“Steady my soul and ease my worry, hold me when I rattle like a humming bird humming”

Enjoy your Friday.

Many thanks to Captain Swindle and Miss Holly at EDSBS for doing a fantastic job on our submission for Stuff ____ People Like. Also big thanks to my partner in crime, Gerry Dorsey.

This is the fourth installment in my chronicles of the worst Alabama football games I have personally attended. The goal is to gain a little perspective about where we (as a fan base) have been and contrast the bad games with the good games in the past (and future).

To recap No. 10 was the losses to Mississippi State in ’06, UCF in 2000, and ULM in ’07. No. 9 was the loss to State in ’98 and No. 8 was the defeat against Georgia in ’07.

To give credit where it is due, this was an idea I “borrowed” from Doug and Kanu.

No 7. Auburn(9) at Alabama(0), Bryant-Denny Stadium, November 18, 2000

To describe the 2000 season as anything other than a dismal failure would be foolish and in many ways this version of the Iron Bowl was a perfect analogy for the season; it was a miserable game played on a miserable day. You would think that coming into the game 3-7 after beginning the season as a consensus top 5 team  that a loss wouldn’t be that bad. But it was – and then some.

Coming off the 21st conference championship in school history and the first visit to a new fangled BCS Bowl game at the Orange Bowl, in only its second year of existence, the expectations were through the roof – and  that’s in comparison to the normal sky-high expectations around here. To say that the whole season was a disaster would be an understatement. Alabama lost to all its non-conference foes – for the first time in like, forever- every member of the division except Ole Miss, and all its rivals -going so far as ending the 30-year winning streak in Baton Rouge after leading in the fourth quarter. Mercifully the team also lost its head coach – but only after their creator had abandoned them first- which turned out to be the best thing about the season.

In spite of everything that had gone wrong, I still had hopes that a win could be pulled out against the in-state rival and a little dignity could be salvaged. Right. This was to be the first time that the Tigers had ever played in Bryant-Denny and eons since they had traveled to Tuscaloosa for a contest. Also the usual complement of out-of-town college buddies were coming back to town for the game and this would be the first time I ever went to an Iron Bowl with my dad. In spite of overwhleming evidence to the contrary I believe that the team can win every game. And as that week began, I believed just that. This is the game that everything is thrown out for. This is the game where miracles can happen and legends are born.

As the weekend approached the weather reports were more and more gloomy. Cloudy and cold with a strong chance of sleet that turned into a certain chance of rain by game time. The weather it seemed would match the mood in Tuscaloosa. All of my friends arrived on Thursday and the typical night of boozing left me wobbly on Friday, which I had wisely taken off work but still did not help me recuperate enough to actually enjoy Friday night.

Game day dawned cold and gray. About the time we struggled to the tailgate the sleet started. The bad thing is had the sleet continued it would have been better than turning to rain. See, sleet bounces off your clothes and fall harmlessly to the ground, unlike the rain, which began thirty minutes before kickoff, as if on cue. Now, I’m not going to compare the cold to Lambeau Field, because obviously, if it was raining it was above 32 degrees. But it wasn’t by much and here in the South, where cold is a relative term, 33 with high humidity and a breeze is brutal. You can’t get warm. It’s something about the dampness in the air that seeps through the layers you are wearing and prohibits any warmth whatsoever.

So as kickoff neared I was only mildly excited about the game; the prospect of sitting in the miserable conditions only slightly eased by the slim hope of grid iron glory. Oh, and I failed to mention, my wife was four months pregnant. Not happy, glowing pregnant but I’m tired and I want to lay down and my back hurts pregnant. So needless to say I was concerned with her well-being and comfort, which was also a relative term on that day. To her credit, she was a trooper and did not complain at all- she was the one who chose to go to the game after all- and I think that our upper-deck seats being about three rows behind the drip line played a big part in that.

To be honest, my only real memories of the game were that the team was not very good and this was perhaps the most boring game I had ever seen. Neither team would score a touchdown and Auburn only iced the game late with their third field goal of the day. It just sucked. There is no better way to put it.

I recall that as the game neared completion and the Orange and Blue clad fans began their choruses of their cheap, dime-store knock off of Rammer Jammer that I was thinking that soon this would all be behind us. The whole thing was mercifully ending.

Afterwards I didn’t want to discuss the game at all. I just wanted some time to pass. The long downward spiral had ended and in some strange way that was the best thing about that most miserable of days.

It’s 82 days until Alabama kicks off the 2008 campaign, a lot of the new recruits are in town and integrating into the team, the mercury is soaring into the nineties, and there’s only baseball to keep you occupied, oh, unless you want to talk football that is. You do, huh? Well, let’s talk football then.

I present to you my five questions for the Crimson & White Roundtable. This is open to any Alabama blogger. Email your responses to me (picmerollin –at- gmail.com) and I’ll post a roundup on Friday.

1. Other than the contest against Little Brother, what do you think is a “must-win” for Alabama this season?

I believe that winning the LSU game would help with perception that Alabama is returning, but as far as the must win game, I’m going to have to go with Mississippi State. The return to feared status as an opponent cannot begin until Alabama wins the games they are supposed to.

2. Every year there seems to be a player that no one is really talking about pre-season that garners accolades by the end of the year. Who will that be for Alabama this year?

This may be the easy answer based on spring practice reports, but I’m going to go with Darius Oscar-Wayne Hanks (I absolutely love the hyphenated middle name). At 6’, 190 lbs, he isn’t that physically dominating specimen, but he does catch passes and I believe that Saban wants to play the receivers that will catch passes.

3. In your opinion, how many true freshmen will start against Clemson? How many will start against Little Brother?

I’m going to say none against Clemson. I know everybody wants to plug in Jones, Scott, Lawrence, and Harris, but they were at the prom a month ago. I think that all those guys are starting by season’s end plus as many and two additional (not considering any injuries that, God forbid, end a season of an upper-classmen early)in late November when the Booger Eaters come to town; to summarize, none in August, 6 in November.

4. Pick one player on offense and one on defense and give a match up with an opponent that you are really looking forward to watching this season.

I’m excited about Rolando McClain and Knowshon Moreno – Georgia will work to limit that match up but expect some solid licks when it happens. On the other side, I’m going with say Antoine Caldwell and Sen’Derrick Marks (nose guard for the booger eater’s).

5. What, if any, SEC school’s head coach will be out after this season?

I’m sticking with my crystal ball vision of this being Fulmer’s last season in Knoxville. Think epic fail in orange.

Well, that’s it. Remember children there are no wrong answers, only cretins who disagree with your opinion and curse you in the comments section all the while calling you classless.

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