You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

This week’s edition of the Rountable bids a fond farewell to Memphis Tider as he ceases blogging on his site this week. I completely understand this thing called real life and how it interferes with activities like blogging. There comes a point when you have to pare down things in your life because there are just too many of them. Best wishes, Memphis Tider!

On with the questions:

1.After hearing as much as I have about BJ Scott, Dre Kirkpatrick, Rod Woodson, etc, is it possible that the secondary this year may actually be better than last year’s squad?

I guess that anything is possible and it would seem that the premise is that raw athletic ability will make up for the lack of experience but it just seems that experience is just too important. As talented as they are they are bound to see some things that make them think and as we all know at this point, if you’re thinking you’re not reacting. Really elite football teams react. The most likely scenario is that this groups surprises us by their rapid development as the season progresses. The early conference tests set up well for being tested and learning early.

2. How will all of the awards and honors, especially from his hometown, affect Mark Ingram’s performance this season?

Ingram seems to be a humble enough kid that it shouldn’t affect him. The unfortunate thing is that he is very unlikely to produce this year like he did last – it was, in fact, a record breaking performance, he stayed relatively injury free, and Richardson emerged as a viable option in his own right and that should reduce some of the load and thus opportunities this year. There is a faction out there that will blame his relative woes on a big head if the numbers drop. Tebow remained humble after his trophy and although his numbers were never as good as his Heisman year he remained an effective player. I believe that Ingram is made of the same type of stuff. At least I hope he is.

3. Could you see Greg McElroy as a legitimate early round selection in the NFL draft next year? Why or why not?

Admittedly I know very little of what constitutes an early round pick in the NFL but if McElroy improves some and is consistent (I suppose that would be his improvement) there is a possibility he could be an early draft pick.

4. James Willis was a master recruiter and one hell of a linebackers coach. We haven’t talked much about what the loss of him means to our staff. Tell us what you think the effect will be with him gone to Texas Tech.

What a great question. First Saban has shown that winning is not a function of consistency in staffing so I believe that as long as he’s piloting the ship, the course will remain the same. As far as how he’ll do at Texas Tech, his addition to the staff has to be a boon for Tuberville. Willis’ knowledge of defense has got to help the Red Raiders and surely his recruiting prowess will be helpful. But overall, Texas Tech will probably never be a football “power” and that is mostly for the same reasons that Mississippi State will never be: there is really no tradition from which to build and the location is horrible. I believe that as a coach selling a program you’re better off selling a new program than you are one with a history of mediocrity. Also, and I mean no offense to Starkville and Lubbock, unless you are raised with an affinity for these institutions, there really isn’t much in the way of enticement to spend four or five years of your life there. Sure some would argue that you could say the same of Tuscaloosa, and on many levels I’d agree, but the difference  is that Tuscaloosa is a football town – it doesn’t take very long for even the most football obtuse to realize that – and there is an established history of football excellence here. If you’re going to spend four to five years in a location that doesn’t fit your idea of paradise, you at least want the opportunity to win while you’re there. To conclude and be concise with my response: Willis will do well in Lubbock because he is a good coach, but there would seem to be a glass ceiling on the level of accomplishment that is possible at Texas Tech.

5. Have you ever seen a state whose political views can be switched by football rumors? The Tim James fiasco is absolutely incredible to me how much football can mean to a state.

I must be out of the loop more than I thought because I don’t know all the details. I don’t listen to Finebaum because he’s an instigator and tends to bring out the worst elements in the football loving public of our fine state. As far as I can tell most folks that would seek to be callers on Finebaum’s show are exactly the kind of person that can’t wait to vote for James.  So I’ll provide two responses: First, good or bad, football is our thing in this state. Despite the ridiculous heat that unpacks its bags  and moves in for four to five months this time of year and the ignorance that abounds in this state (the very fact that there is even the remotest of possibilities that Tim James could become governor proves the astounding amount of ignorance) there is no place in the world I’d rather be as September rolls around than right here. Football is what we do.

Second, Tim James represents the worst element of this state, the ignorant masses who attend church every Sunday and still believe that it’s acceptable to hate and oppress, the hypocrite, those with two-story houses in their eyes that stand up and yell about the splinters of their neighbors eyes, those who would gladly lead a prayer in a school unless of course it was a prayer to Allah or in Hebrew, those who teach English in schools and still say “ain’t” and end sentences with “at”, those who believe God and the founding fathers stand firmly with them despite the fact that the only verse of scripture they know  is John 3:16 and couldn’t tell you anything of the fathers other than that they were “Christians”, basically the people that love Rick and Bubba. James  is counting on their vote to become governor. That is reprehensible. He is the definition of a politician and I loathe him for that.  I contend that we need a leader. Someone who will embrace the future and the changes that must take place in this state if we are ever to move beyond where we are now.  Someone who will put an emphasis on education despite the fact that it doesn’t play well politically. OK, I’m done now. I’ll stop before I get really worked up.

This weeks questions were provided courtesy of one of the best college football blogs out there, Third Saturday in Blogtober. As always you can get links to all participants here.

1. Whenever a media outlet evaluates the Tide heading into the fall, the first three questions are always ‘how will the Tide replace Terrence Cody?’, ‘will the secondary be a weakness?’, and ‘what sort of liability will special teams be?’ After these three obvious questions, is there another area not being discussed that could be problematic this fall?

Because the offensive line is basically recreated every single season (unless you have that very rare situation where all five starters return) I will stress over how that unit gels until I see proof otherwise. There is also bound to be some drop off in production at the tight end position with the loss of Colin Peek. Those are the two that concern me in addition to the 2010 pre-season boiler plate concerns.

2. Every season since Coach Saban showed up on campus, at least two true freshman have distinguished themselves either as starters or as standout contributors on offense or defense. In 2007, it was Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson, followed by Julio Jones and Donta Hightower in 2008, and last year it was Trent Richardson and (arguably) Nico Johnson. Who do you see being an immediate asset for the class of 2010?

Because of the lack of depth in the secondary that would seem to be the area that would offer the quickest playing time. Milliner and Fulton could see playing time there based on their supposed skill sets. Generally, I believe it’s hard to predict what freshman, if any, can make an impact. The one big difference between this year and the previous two is that the quality depth is as good as it has been since the early nineties. You’d have to be a very special player at an area of need to break to rotation this season.

3. We’re all hopeful that Alabama goes undefeated for the third consecutive regular season, but ‘unlikely’ doesn’t begin to describe the difficulty of that. If Alabama is going to lose at least one game, the question is not which is most likely, but which loss could you stomach the easiest?

As much as I hate to think about the sickening feeling that I’ll have in my stomach when that finally happens, my first reaction is that the Florida or Penn State games would be the easiest to take. Those are early enough that the team could recover  enough with good performances down the stretch. Plus with Florida, the team could win out and get a rematch that would matter more. Either way, that’s just tough to think about.

4. Lots of people are pointing to the Georgia State game as the functional equivalent of a bye week. Agree or disagree?

I agree so much that it may even be better than a bye week. That is a game that should see the starters exit early and every single player on the roster logging some playing time. It would be even better if they can do it on Thursday, so Saban could keep his routine week in preparation for Auburn. I hate to degrade any opponent but let’s face facts, the scout team has more talent than the Curry’s Georgia State team will have.

5. We’ve been talking about hypothetical expansion for weeks now and the consensus is that the SEC will expand if it feels so compelled by the moves of other conferences. For a few days a specious rumor has been circulating on MSM sources that the Big Ten has extended invitations to Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Rutgers (one version includes Syracuse). If this group of invites were true, would this be enough to cause the SEC to attempt expansion? Why or why not?

I believe that it would. If the SEC has been anything, it has been progressive. I just can’t see them resting on their laurels while another conference makes attempts to steal its thunder.

The questions were provided by yours truly and if you so desire you can read my answers here. To highlight the answers of other contributors, I submit the following:

The first question dealt with future scheduling in light of the recent changes involving Georgia Tech announced last week.

Opinions varied widely on this with most liking the more traditional teams. Todd liked the idea of a revenge game against LA – Monroe.

The second question asked about favorite Tide players from this past year moving up on our own sentimental lists.

Like me Capstone Report couldn’t get enough of Ro. Todd made room in his heart for everyone’s favorite defensive lineman, Terrance Cody. Kurtz, from 3SIB loved Ingram, but not enough to let him overtake Bobby Humphrey. And Alabama Man Dance from the superb Tower of Bammer went back a year to show Rashad Johnson his propers.

The third question asked about conference expansion who you’d pick to become the new pledge class.

Yet again there was a mixed bag of responses for expansion, with about half going for and half against. Everyone’s reasons are as complex as the problem is but there was pretty good agreement with the teams involved: Georgia Tech, Florida State, Texas and Oklahoma plus a few odd teams that fit due to either geography or prestige. There was also consensus that if anybody had to go it should be the Gamecocks and the Razorbacks.

Next’s years chances for success or failure for our two biggest rivals was the subject for the fourth question and there was universal agreement on the ineptitude of our friends to the north. The committee seems to think that Auburn’s chances for success are somewhat bearish based mostly on last year’s performance and their untested quarterback. To quote TJ of Tower of Bammer, “Yeah, yeah, Cam Newton is the real deal, you say. I prefer to make those sorts of judgements after he plays a few games and not base my opinions on players off of whatever youtube videos the barners have been jerking off to.”

Finally we discussed who we thought the biggest surprise in the conference would be:

Roll Bama Roll: Ole Miss will be surprisingly good, if only because Houston Nutt’s teams are always best when no one is paying any attention.  I’m not saying they are going to challenge for the division or anything, but another Cotton Bowl (or other New Year’s Day Bowl) appearance isn’t that far fetched either.

Tower of Bammer:

Alabama ManDance: The officiating! I think it is going to be even worse. And I think the bitching about it is going to reach a fucking fever pitch. Mike Slive is going to have to publicly execute one of those sons-a-bitches, and it won’t even help. Babies will get called for holding, every play will be a unsportsmanlike taunting, and kicking wedge violations will get called on field goals. So many flags will fly it will block out the sun! And you know what? Football will still be fun to watch, people will still get cancer, and bacon will still make you fat and taste good as shit.

TJ: For the 1st time in 5 years, the SEC will not have a team in the BCS Championship Game. The party has to end sometime, right? I have a feeling that the old spectre of SEC attrition will return with a vengeance. Nobody makes it out unscathed and we get to watch Boise State vs Ohio State. Sucks, huh?

Third Saturday in Blogtober: I think Mississippi State has a big year and LSU implodes.

Capstone Report:I believe Georgia is going to be a pleasant surprise this year. Sure, everyone always expects Georgia to be good. And they will be. What I think will be most surprising is that Georgia and Mark Richt will correct the discipline problems and the concentration issues that have plagued the team over the last few years. This means I expect fewer penalties and improved cohesion on the team—that should mean a better chances to win the big games.

Thanks to everyone for participating. We’ll see you on the next addition.

So, with typical PMR form, I’m a little later posting my answers than I intended to be. Here are my answers with a brief round-up coming soon. Please refer to the C&W Blog for a list of participants with links.

1. There’s been a lot of talk about schedules and future opponents recently with Georgia Tech dropping off for 2012 and 1013. This question gets thrown around a lot, but it’s pertinent once again. Pretend you’re Mal Moore. Who do you target for a future home-and-home series or who would you seek for a one-shot, neutral site game?

Having a grandfather that was a die-hard Tech fan makes me pretty upset about this scheduling snafu. When he was a child, my dad used to travel with him to Grant Field from their NW Georgia home, via train, to watch games on Saturday. I was hoping to bring that full circle by going to the game there with my dad. Not that it won’t happen now, it’s just that my dad has slowed somewhat in his game attendance and I’m concerned that the more time that goes by the harder it will be to get him to go.

Anyway, I’m a sucker for traditional games or traditional teams. I’d love to see Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC or Nebraska fill those vacancies. I know, I know, modern scheduling, and time are factors here, but the question is what I’d like, not what will happen.

2. The recently completed season has gotten us all filled with fresh, good memories. A new crop of players have completed their eligibility and endeared themselves to Crimson Tide faithful forever as have some guys that are still on the roster. Have any of the recent players unseated their predecessors for the top spots on your own personal “all-time greatest” players list? If so, who are they?

I love defense first and foremost. I’d rather see a sack or line of scrimmage stuff than a touchdown. I guess I just like the punishment. There hasn’t been anyone more punishing in recent memory that Rolando McClain. His physicality combined with his intelligence and humble nature easily push him to one of the top spots of most loved players. Javier was great too and you’ve got to give a tip-of-the-hat to Ingram. But for my money, they don’t come any better than Ro. Scoot over Biscuit, you’ve got some company.

3. Conference expansion is all the rage across the country, which in my opinion is a response to the recent and foreseeable dominance in the SEC. Now expansion of our conference is being discussed as a possibility. Are you for or against expansion of the SEC and why? Whether you are pro-expansion or not, list the teams you like to see added (and/or removed) to the league roster if expansion takes place.

This is a little complex. First off, I’m fine with the status quo, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the times, they are a changin. You either improve or at best you stagnate and that is the first step to rotting. If any other conference is going to grow beyond twelve members, it is absolutely imperative that the SEC does so as well and if you’re going to do it eventually you’re better to do it sooner rather than later. Sure we all love the way it is, but it won’t always be that way. The Beatles were great when they were churning out stuff like, “She love you” and “I want to hold your hand” but they would have soon been left in the dust bin had it not been for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonly Hearts Cub Band” and the White Album. The conference has got to change if it wants to remain where it is.

So if it’s going to grow, let’s add some real power. You start with traditional rivals from the ACC: Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech. You can throw Miami in to make it an even sixteen team conference. That way we stay regional and true to our roots. I understand the attraction of Texas, Texas A & M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State but, a) it’s not regional and 2) something tells me you’ll never get them away from where they are; the Big XII ain’t great but they are far and away the most competitive conference after the SEC and those four teams, along with Nebraska, anchor it. I could be wrong, and often am, but I don’t see any of those four leaving unless the conference completely dissolved.

One final thought on this; I am totally in favor, however far fetched it may seem, of five or six “super-conferences” banding together and forming their own football league completely independent of the NCAA. The NCAA is too broad and detailed in its rules and as a result is arbitrary and capricious in meting out punishments that harm the wrong individuals. Sure the smaller, less traditional football schools won’t like it but it would be better for the “football” schools and we really don’t mind if Auburn rides our coat tails once again (ZING!). There never has and can never be an equal playing field when it comes to football. Is it fair that a school like Boise State doesn’t get the same opportunity as an Alabama or Texas? When it comes to football, absolutely! Football means more to people in Alabama, and Mississippi,  and Louisiana than it does to people in Idaho or Utah and the attendance, revenues and passion confirm that. Just because they have a few good years doesn’t put them on the same ground as the football powers and those powers shouldn’t be penalized so that an artificial “even” playing field can be created. We have that already and it’s called college basketball. Sure the Big Dance is great, but 95% of people don’t give a crap about college basketball until the Dance comes along. Regardless of what anyone says, I just don’t believe that translates to football nor would I want it to. Alright, I’m going to calm down now.

4. Pre-season indications (which are admittedly totally my own prognostications) are that our two biggest rivals, Tennessee and Auburn, are going to suck and be somewhat improved respectively. Agree or disagree?

Since I wrote the question, I’d have to agree. I generally don’t read others’ answers prior to writing my own, but I’m picking up a consensus opinion that people (and by that I mean anyone other than Auburn fans) believe that the Teagles are going to stink this year.  No one doubts UT’s level of sucktitude but all the signs are there: depleted roster and virtually no experience where it matters coupled with new coaches and systems combine for a long, long year on Rocky Top. But down on the Plains things aren’t as transparent.

Auburn started last year with two conference wins (on their way to 5-0 out of the gate) and managed to lose five of the last six against conference foes, including blowing fourteen-point leads in the last two. This was primarily because there was no depth on the defense and therefore that side of the ball played appallingly bad. The offense wasn’t the problem and despite the loss of a senior quarterback, the Tigers could actually be better this season at the signal-caller spot due to the arrival of super-hyped petty larcenist juco sensation, Cam Newton. Let’s just say they are as good as they were on offense last year, which I don’t believe is that big of a stretch, they will almost certainly be better on defense. Chizik is a good defensive coach and he’s got the hardware to prove it. I’m sorry, and I’m not trying to be a heretic here, but I think that Auburn will be improved. At least, unlike Tennessee, they have the possibility of it. Maybe it’s just me wishing that the game that takes place the day after Thanksgiving will have ramifications beyond that of bragging rights in our state.

5. Tell us what team will be the biggest surprise, good or bad, in the SEC this season.

I’m going with State. They aren’t sexy and the things that are required are not necessarily there on paper, but I believe that Mullen can coach.

Here are this weeks questions. Please send a link and I’ll compile a synopsis by the weekend. I’ll also post my own answers in a day or two. Enjoy and have a great week! – PMR

1. There’s been a lot of talk about schedules and future opponents recently with Georgia Tech dropping off for 2012 and 1013. This question gets thrown around a lot, but it’s pertinent once again. Pretend you’re Mal Moore. Who do you target for a future home-and-home series or who would you seek for a one-shot, neutral site game?

2. The recently completed season has gotten us all filled with fresh, good memories. A new crop of players have completed their eligibility and endeared themselves to Crimson Tide faithful forever as have some guys that are still on the roster. Have any of the recent players unseated their predecessors for the top spots on your own personal “all-time greatest” players list? If so, who are they?

3. Conference expansion is all the rage across the country, which in my opinion is a response to the recent and foreseeable dominance in the SEC. Now expansion of our conference is being discussed as a possibility. Are you for or against expansion of the SEC and why? Whether you are pro-expansion or not, list the teams you like to see added (and/or removed) to the league roster if expansion takes place.

4. Pre-season indications (which are admittedly totally my own prognostications) are that our two biggest rivals, Tennessee and Auburn, are going to suck and be somewhat improved respectively. Agree or disagree?

5. Tell us what team will be the biggest surprise, good or bad, in the SEC this season.

Follow me on Twitter