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In a well deserved acknowledgment, the SEC named Alabama’s senior quarterback, John Parker Wilson, the conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Wilson looked like a true leader on Saturday night.

On another note, it’s hard to watch or listen to a media outlet in this state this morning and not hear about the Tide. It’s even harder to peruse the internets and not see Alabama as a major topic on conversation today. I’ve heard or read national championship more time than I can count this morning and the phrase, “undefeated LSU and Alabama meeting in November is huge” has been uttered more time than a few.

Let’s do a good job and keep this in perspective. There are seven more gamers to be played
starting with an undefeated Kentucky team this weekend. Kentucky is unranked and has a chip on their shoulder because they are not getting any respect.

Ole Miss, who Alabama faces in a little less than three weeks, just defeated Florida, at home.

Tennessee, who seems to be headed toward oblivion, will not roll over and die when Alabama comes into town at the end of the month. In fact, nothing would make Fulmer happier than to upset Alabama as it might save his job and will certainly be a point of pride.

Arkansas State would love nothing more than to upset Alabama on homecoming and will put forth their best effort.

I don’t believe that I need to say anything about LSU.

State has a two game winning streak against Alabama and always, always plays out of their minds against the Tide.

And Auburn. If you don’t think that Tuberville can whip those guys into a frenzy to play Alabama then you haven’t been watching football.

There is a long, long way to go. Just as the team needs to focus on the the next game, so do we. It’s nice to dream and speculate and it’s wonderful to celebrate, God knows we’ve needed that win to charge us up. But let’s keep focus.

There is nothing at this point but a good Kentucky team that can beat Alabama unless the Tide gives their best effort. Let’s be ready to fill Bryant-Denny on Saturday and cheer as if that is the only game left to play, because in truth, if we (every last one of us)  don’t, it just might be.

Roll Tide! Beat the Wildcats!

Alabama 41 Georgia 30

I haven’t read anything yet and my knowledge is only of the game itself (with occasional stats) and Gameday Final (before I passed out). These are the thoughts that I had and wanted to put them down in a rare Sunday post.

  • The first half would have to constitute the best half of football I have ever witnessed. Five offensive possessions, four touchdowns and one field goal. Those thirty-one points, in theory, were enough to win the game. Georgia made a hell of a run, and certainly never gave up, but the deficit was just too much to overcome. They would have had to play a perfect half in return and that was just a little too much to ask.
  • The first half was so bad from the Bulldog perspective that Baby Jesus himself cussed in the post first half interview. Priceless.
  • John Parker (I’ll forever drop Ross’ Brother) played the game of his life. If some were correct in that the Georgia defense would force him to win the game, he responded and responded well. Perfect management. His overall numbers might not be as good as Stafford’s – although the two-to-zero interception numbers loom large – but he did exactly what he had to do. He looked sharp, threw good balls and threw it away when he had to.
  • Penalties do matter. Two early penalties by Georgia kept drives alive. It is impossible to say what that meant to the outcome but if your Georgia and you’re playing “what if” this morning you’d have to think about that. Discipline in football matters.
  • Julio, without question, won the battle of number eights.  Green is a great player, but I’d have to say that Jones looked less like a freshman than A.J. did.
  • The loss of Ellerbee hurt. I felt surely that he would return, as I watched him jog to the locker room.
  • The defense played good enough. The first-half effort was phenomenal and Knowhson was never a factor (has he had a worse game as a starter?). They moved the ball when they had too in the second half and that makes me question Alabama’s ability to stop the pass. Had this game been close, the Bulldogs ability to move the ball would have hurt. But you have to think that the game plan was to negate Moreno and force the pass. The run d and the lead did just that. UGA also seemed to be in a lot more max protect in the second half.
  • Maybe Richt needs to worry more about coaching and leave the comedy and jabs to others – it just doesn’t suit him. (I couldn’t resist that, sorry).
  • Was last night the funeral for the black jerseys?
  • This is the biggest win since at least the ’99 season when Alabama beat a second ranked, Darth Visor coached Florida team in the swamp. This Georgia team is good. They will win most, if not all, of their games this season. I’ve got to pull for Florida in the cocktail party because if Alabama can make it back to Atlanta (that’s still a big if, but it looks more plausible today) I would hate to play the Bulldogs again.
  • The SEC West beat up on the East yesterday. I recall someone saying the East was clearly better. It doesn’t look that way today.

Roll Tide! I can’t remember being more nervous and excited by a football game. I was screaming Rammer Jammer in my living room just like I was there. This is what Alabama football is about and what I remember as a younger person.

I’ve consumed more written press on the Alabama/Georgia contest this week than should be allowed by law. My desk is littered with penciled notes on tiny pieces of paper from all the thoughts on I’ve had on this game. This game has it all: traditions, top-ten match up, uber-coaches, electric atmosphere, grizzled veterans, and super star freshman that have a visceral buzz around them.

I’ve decided not to write about any of that and just say this:

If you are a fan of Alabama or Georgia then these are the moments you live for. Win, and at least for a little while, the world will be yours. Lose and.. well, I’ll leave it at that.

From one perspective you can say that tomorrow will be a wasted day. I won’t get much done and all of it, from the moment I rise until toe touches ball, will be lived in anticipation.

But I am certain of this: I will live enough in the following three hours to make up for weeks and weeks of calendar watching.

This is it. Get loud!

Beat the hell out of the dawgs!

With thanks to my friend Tony at Alabama Gameday for hosting.

What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we overrated? Underrated? Just right?

I’ve been skeptical long enough, and while I still believe that it is only the end of the season poll that matters, I’ve come around that we are what we are. Alabama deserves the 8th ranking that it holds in the AP Poll and should be the same in the Coach’s Poll – I believe them to be better than both Texas Tech and Wisconsin.

Look, here’s the deal. After this weekends game Alabama is either going to be, depending on the outcome of the game, between 15th and 5th, and that is where they belong. If they win, they are a top five team, no questions asked. If they lose, even by a big margin, their body of work, based on five weeks of games, merits a top-twenty spot.

Look at this way: through four games it is safe to say that Alabama is a good team. They are strong on the offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage, they have a strong running game, better-than-average special teams, and a quarterback who, while not being a Heisman Candidate by any stretch, is going to manage the game and keep his team out of trouble. Barring injury, the ceiling for this team is a second trip to Atlanta and an after New Year’s Day bowl and the floor would be 5-3 in the conference but probably more like 6-2 with a New Year’s day game. All that hinges on major injuries though.

That is a lot of words to say that Alabama is easily a top 15 team and with a win, at home, against the preseason numero uno, would have to be in the top five and into the conversation for the national title- mind you I didn’t say in but in the conversation.

What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most? What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?

The obvious answer was the ground game but overall it was the way they won. They won with big plays on both offense and defense that broke the spirit of the opponent. That’s the forth win of the season and there is not a thread of a distinct pattern in any of the victories. Clemson was won with smash-mouth workman like effort. Tulane was put away early with special play form the special teams (see what I did there). Western Kentucky was stifled with killer defense and a very balanced attack. Most recently Arkansas was killed with the big play.

To me the diversity is the sign that this is a good team. In ’05, the last good team Alabama fielded, the defense was stellar and other than a few early looks the offense put up just enough point to win. This team is nothing like that. It could come from anywhere.

Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.

Glen Coffee on Offense – set a new Alabama record with 16.2 yards a carry.

Javier Arenas on Defense – pick six and excellent corner blitz. I’m more and more impressed with this kid.

Alabama has dominated the first quarter, outscoring opponents 64-0 in the first quarter. How do you think this team will handle its first taste of adversity this season?

Much talk will be made of the fact that this team has not faced adversity yet. While I agree to an extent – they have not had to battle when behind on the scoreboard (one of only five teams in the country that can say that by the way) – I would also argue that in three of the games, the opposing team had the opportunity to gain momentum after a turnover or a score and in all three occasions Alabama answered with a sustained drive to score immediately or as in the case of Clemson, after exchanging possessions. This team can answer.

Setting aside Georgia, now that the season is well underway, how do you feel Alabama stacks up against what you’ve seen of their big opponents?

When you talk about prognostications and Alabama’s chances for success the rest of the year naysayers will point to JPW and youth as reason they can’t make a strong run. To that I say that Chris Leak is not playing football today, but wears a ring that he won just two short years ago – you don’t have to have super talent, you just have to lead and keep form giving it away. The youth have now played 1/3 of the season with half of that coming outside the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium. They only get better. Tennessee is ready to tailspin. Auburn’s OC doesn’t have a clue and all of a sudden the OMG!!!11!!! Best Defense of All Time just gave up 400 yards. At Home. As of today, Alabama will be favored in every regular-season game they play but two (this weekend at Georgia and at LSU in November).  That is much different than when the season began and very well could be much different next week – that’s why the games are played and that’s why I love this sport.

That could all change but that’s how I see it today.

I guess when your fan base gets hyped up over gimmicks, like this, this, and this and that generates a little attention, then it’s easy to become a little myopic. Just like the hot girl in high school, it appears that the Georgia fans have started to believe that everything is about them.

Ian posted on his blog yesterday that Saban “responded” to Mark Richt’s call for a “blackout” by wearing a black shirt. First of all, Saban has worn the black shirt before for his press conferences. Second, he was probably at work, wearing the shirt, before Richt ever thought about calling for a blackout. And third, are you dumb enough to think that Saban would actually give the Dawgs bulletin board material anyway?

Ian was having a little fun and now the bulldog nation is apparently believing that it all has to do with them (the comments are actually much more condemning than the blog – which is generally excellent, by the way).

Let’s get a few things straight Dawg fans:

  • Black is, if not the most popular color for clothing then it is a close second. I’m wearing black today as is my office mate and we aren’t trying to “blackout” anything or respond to the Georgia plans. I just picked something out of my closet today. There are a lot of people that are going to wear black. It has zero to do with you.
  • Black is not even your primary color. It’s red (as if I have to tell you that). Alabama fans often wear white and the team always wears it on the road, and before this coming Saturday, we’ve never tried to “whiteout” anything. Fran did ask fans traveling to Oklahoma to wear white to the game in Norman in 2002, which was nice because it was hot as balls.
  • This is a gimmick (copied from South Carolina I might add, so it isn’t even an original- in fact Vandy has already done it this year). Nobody, and I mean nobody associated with Alabama is worried, or intimidated by this. I mean come on, you’re the preseason No. 1, and Alabama was ranked 24th. You played in the Sugar Bowl last year and Alabama played in Shreveport. For Pete’s sake, you’re a six point favorite at home and your breaking out a gimmick with absolutely zero upside.

Granted, I believe it to be a somewhat cool gimmick. The stadium will look neat with most of the folks in black. But beyond that, it’s not going to have the same magic as it did last year because it isn’t new or a surprise.

Look dawg fans, you’re supposed to win. You’re the number three team in the country and you’re playing at home. If you win it won’t be because of any black jerseys. It will be because you have superior athletes that are well prepared to play and execute a game plan that was prepared by an excellent coaching staff.

And just what if? What if you loose? Are the black jerseys a jinx? Was it an omen that your blackout failed to produce the desired results against a team that very few of you claim to respect from a state that most of you look down your nose at?

No, I like the blackout. I think it’s awesome. And speaking for me, I think that most of us Alabama fans are just kinda laughing about how you all believe this has some kind of magical effect. We think the idea of wearing a special jersey to get pumped up to beat a team you have a three-game winning streak and is ranked below you, that you are predicted to beat, is kind of funny.

Then again Alabama doesn’t believe in changing jerseys and they sure as hell don’t feel the need to celebrate in the end zone either. But then again we know how you all feel about that…

By the way, keep that flea bitten mongrel y’all call a mascot off my yard. If that slobbering beast defecates on my grass again I’m gonna kick it.

After a great Saturday that saw Alabama win, Tennessee, Auburn, and Notre Dame lose, and me keep a good buzz with a day of great fellowship, food, and wine, I rested yesterday and watched the U.S. Victory in the Ryder Cup. I didn’t see too much football coverage, catching only one evening news cast, where I learned that Alabama was now ranked #8, and watched only a couple of plays from the replays of Vandy/Ole Miss, LSU/Auburn, and Alabama/Arkansas – by the way, what happened to home field advantage in the SEC?

I was planning on coming into work this morning and getting a great start on the tasks-at-hand and generate some good momentum towards a very productive work week.

Yeah, right.

Are you kidding me? It’s Alabama and Georgia week! A big-time match-up between traditional SEC stalwarts who also just happen to be top-ten teams.

I get here and despite my self-warning to not look at news I’ve learned that:

The story lines will only get better as the week progresses. There’s the stats – which you’re going to need to study for discussion later. I’ve also noticed a general trend from the Dawg fans to dismiss Alabama and to be honest I’m fine with that – Alabama does not deserve your respect (wink-wink). That’s not surprising coming from the silver britches.

Let me clue you in on a little secret here; I hate the University of Georgia. I loathe them and the only reason I don’t hate them worse than Tennessee is because Alabama doesn’t play them enough. I hate them for their arrogance mainly- which is oddly enough the same reason most people claim to hate Alabama fans. For the first time since the heady days of Herschel, fans of Georgia have found themselves somewhat relative again in the college football world. Granted, they have had some success, coming in only second to LSU in overall wins, head-to-head wins, conference championships and national championships. In that same time they always seem to lose an unexpected big one and probably more infuriating is that Richt’s record against Alabama is 3-0, but hey, they aren’t the only ones to hold streaks over the Tide.

My family is from Georgia, and while I’ve been in T-town since I was able to know what football was, my roots go back to a deep-seated loathing of Georgia. It’s what I’ve known since childhood.

Ironically, some of the best college football blogs are written by Bulldog fans. But that doesn’t change to fact that I hate them (the team, not the blogs).

This week will grind by with but one overriding thought: 6:45 Saturday night on ESPN. Let’s get it on!

There is nothing better than spending a day on the Quad and topping it off with a game in Bryant-Denny Stadium, especially  if it is a big game against one of Alabama’s chief rivals. To me it is one of the greatest things in life. I unabashedly love Alabama Football and attending games is, to me, the best way to experience all the good things it has to offer. The travel that away games offer and the opportunities to experience how football is “done” in other places always make road trips worthwhile.

It safe to say that I love going to football games. However, every once in a while the stars and planets align and the networks get out of their own way long enough to provide one on the biggest joys that I know: Spending All Day In Front Of A Television Watching College Football. And I mean all day.

Tomorrow just happens to be one of those days and I’m more than a little excited about it. At the worst there will be two hours in the morning, before Big and Rich offer up the awful refrains about them coming to our Sitay,  that do not contain some football, but other than that there will be high quality football that involves massive rooting interest the rest of the day. Tomorrow it will be good to be alive (unless Alabama starts the day by throwing one away).

Let’s take a quick look:

9:00 am: College Gameday (brought to you by the home depot) (ESPN) -coming atcha live from the proud home of the booger eater nation. The over/under for signs about Alabama, despite the fact that they aren’t playing in the highlighted game, opens at 6. Just what will our orange and blue clad brethren do to make us cringe at the thought of us sharing a state with them- don’t worry they won’t disappoint.

11:30 am: Alabama at Arkansas (Jefferson Pilot) – despite the fact that we got Daved, after three straight weeks of night games, I’m pretty pumped about having this game kickoff first. First, it’s an excuse to drink before noon (as if I needed one). And B, I don’t have to worry about how the team is going to perform while watching other teams that our team will eventually play. This is so much more preferable than these other games being time killers while anticipating the main event. Plus, the Tide should roll. Let’s face it, no one outside of Fayettenam is picking the Hogs. Not that Alabama can sleepwalk through this one but they should win the game.

2:30: Florida at Tennessee (CBS) – for the first time this yea  I get to listen to Uncle Verne bungle his way through names that my pre-schooler has no problem whatsoever with. Plus, the shine is off the Clawfense and the bloodlust in me that longs to see the injured Volunteers gutted and left on the field to die a slow death that ends in the firing of the most loathsome figure in the SEC allows me to do something I rarely do; cheer for the Gators. The Vawls aren’t going to be undefeated when they meet Alabama in about five weeks, so I’d rather they be defeated over and over and over again (wouldn’t you love to see a soulless Vol squad Croomed prior to playing Alabama?) Go Gators!

There is a good possibility that I’ll have to switch from beer at around this point. It’s still little warm for bourbon but I might just get crazy.

6:45 LSU at Auburn (ESPN) – after a few minutes to reload (or pee) the prime-time showdown of the Tigers, one Bayou and one Eagles, takes place on the Plains. Which reminds me, what kind of idiot named the area around Auburn the Plains? It was obviously someone who had never really seen plains. I mean, I’ve been across West Texas and Oklahoma. Those are plains – Auburn just has pastures. Let’s try this, The Lovliest Village in the Pastures. There, that’s more like it. I digress, I’ve already sent an email to my lone Cajun friend and instructed him to have his team beat the hell out of Auburn. I realize that if Alabama ends the streak this year – and I believe that they will – that it would be sweeter if Auburn were undefeated and it kept them from Atlanta, but let’s be honest here. Auburn is not going to go undefeated. Not with the offense playing the way they are playing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting on the bandwagon here and saying that they are horrible because I don’t believe they are. It’s just that snitching-ass Tony Franklin’s offense has not taken hold. They have played consistently poorly over the first three games. And yes, State’s defense is good, but they aren’t LSU good. I’m not sold on LSU’s offense yet either but they have more pieces of the puzzle than Auburn does and their defense is equally or practically as good.

I believe that LSU will win, but an Auburn victory would not be surprising either. I just know that I’ll be pulling for LSU or at least against Auburn. I just can’t see it any other way. Alabama has to play both of them eventually and they both can’t win and in my den no one will see me bowing to the TV during Chinese Bandits, so I’m pulling for the Tigers that have no confusion that they are Tigers here.

7:00: Georgia at Arizona State (ABC) – this could be one of those games that surprises you but you have to think that the Dawgs will represent the conference well and bring home a W. At either rate I’ll watch this one on commercial breaks and that will be about all I’ll see of it – with the slug fest that AU-LSU will no doubt be this game will probably end prior to the one in Auburn despite the 15 minute head-start.

Sometime around 10:00 I’ll stagger to bed, or I might just pass out in my recliner. Either way, two things are certain about Saturday night. We will know much more about the conference and I will have spent one hell of a day doing something I love.

I’m looking for two tickets to the Alabama-Georgia Game next weekend (9/27) in Athens. Obviously, I’m willing to pay for them but if it is any incentive I’m completely willing to negotiate a use of this space in return. This is a platform that is viewed everyday by more than a few college football fans. I’ll write a profile about you, say how great you are or promote a cause for you (within reason). I’m willing to advertise a product or service for a period of time as well.

So, if you have got two tickets and can’t go and would like an Alabama fan and his spouse to be in your seats cheering for you or you just don’t want to deal with Atlanta area traffic give we a shout.

You can email me at: picmerollin(at)gmail(dot)com

The fine folks at 3rd Saturday in Blogtober are hosting this week. Without further ado:

1. What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we overrated? Underrated? Just right?

While it’s nice to be 9th in the AP it still seems a little high and once again the Coaches have it about right with 13. Clemson’s reemergence into the poll helps state the case for a top 15 ranking as does ECU’s struggles with Tulane.  We’re still about two to three weeks from being to able to scrutinize the polls effectively.

2. What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most? What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?

You shouldn’t leave a game against the likes of Western Kentucky shocked unless it’s because something bad happened. I was thankfully not shocked – unless it was the realization that the band is seriously sticking with this “Queen” thing.

3. Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.

I’m going with the running backs on offense. Coffee, if I have to single out just one, but, fumble aside, they all played well. When was the last time you remember this many running backs playing this well? Outstanding.

On defense, I’m choosing Arenas. He is really an asset as a defensive back.  It’s just hard not to really like this guy.

4. Who on each side of the ball has been the biggest surprise to you so far?

On offense it has to be Mark Ingram. Julio is obviously the crowd favorite and while I believe him to be a great talent, he has not even remotely had the impact that Ingram has had. He is the punishing runner that every team in the conference wants. He’s not a glitzy as Moreno – at least not up to this point – but he is a definite talent.

On defense it is without question Terrance Cody. All the hype was about Harris and Lawrence, and while they may very well develop into great players, Cody’s impact has been immediate and huge. We were schooled from the beginning that Saban’s scheme called for a big tackle to anchor the line. Cody’s sheer size pointed toward him being that important cog in the the Saban defensive machine but that same size also led to speculation that he might not have the required conditioning. He’s held up well and honestly I cannot wait to see how he performs against the best center in college football. If Cody can win that battle more times than he loses it this weekend there will be a lot of worried offensive coordinators in the conference. He is a difference maker and what’s even better is that he is allowing other to make a difference as well. I’d bet that Rolando McClain calls him before bedtime every night to make sure he’s tucked in and comfy.

5. The last three weeks were fun, but now it’s time for conference play.  What area of play concerns you now that we’re getting into the more physical stretch of the schedule?

Offensive consistency. Offensive consistency. Offensive consistency.

I believe we were all lulled into a sense of well being once Andre Smith returned the line last weekend. We’ll see how that plays out over the next three weeks. If the offense can make it through that stretch with consistent production, even with a loss to Georgia, then you would have to believe that this team could compete – mind you I didn’t say win but compete – for the division title and that would be a huge, huge step up. This is shaping up to be a year of mediocre offenses in the conference. Alabama seems to have the ingredients to have one of the best offenses in the SEC this year they just have to show some consistency.

Charlie Weis, the head football coach at Notre Dame, is not in a hurry a to have knee surgery, after tearing both his ACL and MCL in a collision on the sideline his past Saturday.

I’m thinking that if the whole story were known that there aren’t a bunch of orthopedic surgeons lining up for the chance to spend months in depositions and weeks in courtrooms. After all, it was good old Coach Front Butt who has spent a sizable portion of his recent off seasons suing doctors for malpractice.

Good luck with that Coach Weiss.

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