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1.What is the most important thing we learned about the Alabama team in the wake of the Duke game?

There are three lessons that were learned this week. None of them are new and all are equally important. There seems to be further evidence that this version of the Alabama Crimson Tide shows up to play every week regardless of who the opponent is. That’s the first lesson and it is a carryover from Week 1 when the opponent was hapless San Jose State. The second lesson is that this offense only seems to get more impressive. A new week, bigger offensive production. The final lesson is that the defense still has a lot of room for improvement. It might turn out that it is a good and capable defense, but at this point it is certainly not a dominant one.

2.What is the biggest area of concern in respect to Alabama’s performance in the upcoming game against Arkansas?

Without having read anybody else’s weekly answers, it is safe to say that this is a big ditto: the defense. It would seem that tackling, coverage and run stopping all need to improve for the upcoming contest with Arkansas. There will be legion Alabama fans grimaced in agonizing butt tensioning when Mallet and company take the field.

3. Which is more dangerous: Ryan Mallett and the Razorback offense or the Arkansas defense?

Giving credit where it is due, the Hogs stop unit appears much improved (when you’re at the bottom there aren’t many other places to go than up) but without question it is their ability to score points. Georgia is not playing good football and seeing the same quality of offense from Alabama as the Bulldogs this week would be really surprising. The Hog D is in for a much stronger test. The defenses for both teams will be tested as they have not been this weekend.

4. How important is the Arkansas game for Alabama’s prospects both in the SEC West and the conference as a whole?

The most apparent answer is huge, but if you take a deeper look it’s not that simple. Arkansas, like Alabama, is basically untested at this point. After Saturday there will still be eight conference games to play (seven for the Hogs) and that is a lot of opportunity for both good and bad to happen. A win by wither team will take some pressure off but that’s going to be the same for every divisional foe each team faces. You always hear about “controlling your own destiny” and wins make that easier, but all hope is not lost with a loss by either team.

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Nine months after my last post, almost exactly two years after my first post, and the week of one of the absolute best things about college and Alabama football seems like a pretty good time to try out the internets again. So here I am.

In way of a brief explanation, as I shared with you about this time last year, my last official gig ended and I went out on my own. Things are going relatively well on that front but running a business is incredibly time consuming. Also, last winter I became a dad again (for the third time) and lack of sleep coupled with increased duties with the other two take up a lot more time. Finally, Alabama had a pretty good year last year and my level of contentment with “the process” allowed me to focus on other outlets.  I do this because I enjoy it and it fills a creative need but lately when the desire to write struck there seemed to be something else that “needed” to be done. I realize my tiny voice is one that is easily lost in the din but I do appreciate all the inquiries into my whereabouts. Thanks to you all.

So, I understand there is a game this weekend. What’s going on with that?

  • Tennessee wants to wear orange. While Saban tends to say things like jersey color don’t matter – and they don’t – I’m not at all surprised that the request was denied. Of course the Vols are going to say we’re doing the fans a disservice, but the fact remains that a.) Kiffin raided the coaching staff, b.) said coach has been lying to recruits, and c.) this is still Tennessee. So screw UT. Why extend to them any courtesy at all other than letting them have a locker room? They wouldn’t, and haven’t done the same for Alabama. I understand from off-the-record comments that Saban is not a fan of the Volunteers and I believe that the way Alabama has been prepared to play, and has executed against UT in his tenure lends that some credence so it makes sense that UT was not granted the concession. I say no quarter asked or given in this rivalry. They’ll probably end up in those gaudy orange pants anyway. Orange sucks, people! (Update: As usual, the guys at Bama Sports Report put it into perspective)
  • McElroy Struggling. G-Mac has, without a doubt, had two bad outings (against competent defenses) after some pretty good outings (against less than stellar defenses). I’m not ready to bench him though. I’m not even ready to verbally abuse him by comparing him to other, less-than-good quarterbacks, like another Alabama blog writer who tends to overuse the word “nevertheless” and speaks of the team in the first-person.  I don’t think McElroy was quite as good as the early season success showed, nor do I think he is as bad as his last outings would indicate. Despite Monty Kiffiin’s (bow in awe, people) vaunted defense I think we’ll see a little more regression to the mean this week. Meaning we won’t see as much forcing to Julio, a little more Colin Peek and Marquis Maze, and a steadier reliance on play-action. McElroy will be alright. Aight!
  • Tennessee Overall. I’ll preafce by saying this: anything can happen. Anything. UT could come in here and play the game of the decade and beat Alabama. But it isn’t very likely. This is not a good football team and there is no way around that. Tony Barnhart called this out as a trap game in the summer. But part of his premise was that UT would be winless in the conference. As you all know they aren’t. Beating a dreadful Georgia team hurt them more, in the context of this weekend’s contest, than anything. There wasn’t much chance that Alabama would overlook this UT team anyway but the big win in Knoxville ten days ago only served to make sure everyone was paying attention. As Mike Strange points out, UT’s first half  body of work doesn’t look near as good as it did. SEC Offenive Player of the Week aside, Crompton is not a good QB and the Alabama defense should make that very evident. Hardersty is a great back, but Alabama’s run defense  is no slouch either. The defense’s ability to nuetralize Crompton and make the game one-dimensional should effectively negate Hardesty (and super-frosh Bryce Brown as well). Things get a little more dicey with Alabama’s offense versus Tennessee’s defense. While statistically, they are a good defense, Auburn – yes the same Auburn that was just run over roughshod by Arkansas and Kentucky – lit them up like a Christmas tree. As I said, anything can happen, but if Alabama holds onto the ball and McElroy takes just one step back towards averages, we should be singing “Rammer Jammer” by mid fourth quarter.

After one of the best games, and overall experiences surrounding a game, this past weekend in Baton Rouge, I’m not sure why all the negativity I’ve been reading and hearing this week has gotten to me, but it has.

Finebaum, amongst others, thinks that LSU and their fans are scum. I’ve read and heard a few comments from some Alabama fans echoing the same thing.

Doug thinks that, between the two, Alabama fans are “douchier” than Auburn fans. First off, you’ve got a problem if you use a form of the word douchey to describe anything. That’s tantamount to saying assier or dickeyer, or any other word that works perfectly in one form only to be bastardized by someone trying to sound cool.

There are mass comments about how Florida is way better than Alabama and the Tide doesn’t really have any big wins, especially now that Clemson’s season is officially in the toilet. Alabama has only beaten four teams with a winning record -although they usually miscount or give the overall record of Alabama’s opponent (as if that is that much different for any team at this point in the year) and use that as justification that they are no good. Then they throw the fact that both Florida and Georgia hung half-a-hundred on LSU and since it took Alabama overtime to win the game they must not be that good.

These same people seem to forget that Florida lost to Ole Miss, at home. The same team that Alabama went to sleep on in the second half and still won against. These people forget that football is a game played on a field and regardless of what the stats say you still have to compete. I don’t give a damn how good Florida looks now. They lost a game. You don’t get do overs. Saying their playing the best football now is like a guy bringing rubbers to his girlfriends house six weeks after he knocked her up. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are now, the damage is done.

This Alabama team will never set any records. Offensively or defensively. They just aren’t going to set anyones hair on fire. But what they will do is play physical football for sixty minutes. A little more if need be. Alabama looked as bad in the first half in Baton Rouge as they have all year. They turned the ball over three times. One of those resulted in seven points and the other two kept ten to fourteen off the board. Alabama tied the score up by halftime and never trailed the rest of the game. Despite the worst performance of the year by the rush defense and the three turnovers they still won the game. Isn’t that the sign of a good team; you put forth less than your best effort and you still win?

Out in Lubbock, Texas Tech, who I will add is impressive, puts it on an Oklahoma State (a two-loss) team whose biggest win is to a two-loss Missouri team, and all of a sudden their the gaining style points and first place votes. Mike Leach is the best thing since sliced bread and all the quaterbacks in the Big 12 are just so awesome. Not saying they aren’t good but John Parker Wilson would look like a Heisman candidate against those defenses. Of the four teams from the Big 12 South that are soooo good, the best defense (total yardage) belongs to Oklahoma, who slides in at 51st  in the nation. The other three, Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma State, check in at 57th, 60th, and 84th respectively. Those stats are compiled against more FCS teams (4) than BCS conference schools (3) out-of-conference -two of the three BCS teams were Washington and Washington State who are a combined 1-18 and the other against Arkansas who is in a dead heat for worst in the SEC – and exactly one Top 25 team in TCU.

Again, I’m not saying those schools are bad, only that their body of work shouldn’t give anybody any reason to declare them the best in the country. Remember Missouri and Chase Daniels’ run to the Heisman? That should be notice to all that putting up a gazillion points is not the mark of a great football team. Only one that can put up a bunch of points.

Back to LSU and Baton Rouge. I’ve been there for games a half-a-dozen times and believe it or not, I have never been beaten up and left for dead in the swamp. And that includes a visit to the student section wearing a crimson pullover.

I sat in an LSU section the other night and had a blast. When the game was over almost every single person that was sitting near me and and I had spoken with shook my hand. Granted, I didn’t act like a jackass and there were a few, “Florida is gonna beat the hell out of y’all” type comments offered up but no one threatened me with bodily harm.

Some of the best experiences around the sport of college football, win or lose, have taken place at LSU. I will definitely be going back.

So I’m always puzzled when people talk bad about Baton Rouge. I thought about it a lot and I have come to the following conclusion:

If you go into a place, and this goes for any stadium in the conference, and either expect to be treated badly, so much that you are defensive about everything that happens, or you are a jackass and invite reply, scorn, and ridicule by your jackassy actions, then you are not going to have a good time.

Yes, if you go to Tiger Stadium and you wear colors of the opposing team someone will yell “Tiger Bait” at you. Your personal feelings on the appropriateness of that have no bearing on the situation. Your reaction does. Smile and yell “good luck” or even better, “Is that Jambalaya y’all are cooking?” and everything will be fine. Shoot them the bird or tell them what you think of cajuns and things will go badly.

Here is another example. If you live in a state where the predominant fan base pulls for one of two schools from that state and you spout off about being the proud fan of a school from another state and people will give you a hard time or act “douchey” to you. Mainly because they don’t give two continental dams about your school, especially if your school holds any type of streak over theirs and all they read from that fan base reminds them of not only that streak but also how inbred everyone from your state believes them to be.

There are 92,000 fans at an Alabama game and other than a love for a football team I share genuine similarities with about 100 of them at absolute best. Almost half of them voted differently than me. More than 90% have different views on faith, what to do on a first date, what type of beer is best, what vehicle they drive and how they feel about gay marriage (well OK, everyone in Alabama hates queers – I’m kidding, just 99% of them). So to sit there and say that ,”all Alabama fans are,” or even “most Alabama fans are” is just asinine. Let’s face it somewhere right now there is a wife-beating, child-abusing, meth-dealing lunatic wearing something with Alabama on it and talking about how much he loves the TIde. He does not represent me nor I, him. But we are both Alabama fans. Now you can extend that analogy to every school in the SEC, except Vanderbilt.

The son of my grandmother’s next door neighbor was the biggest, sorriest redneck loser I have ever seen. Although he never failed to address my grandmother as ma’am, he was a sorry human being by almost any definition imaginable. He love the Georgia Bulldogs. I could choose him as my image to personify everything Georgia related. I don’t – because I know that there are many things better to associate the Bulldogs with.

The point is that folks need to stop using absolutes when discussing college football. LSU is a different experience, but that does not make it bad and there are assholes in every fan base. There are also quite a few gracious ones too. They are the type that no matter how bad you dislike a school, demand your respect. I’d prefer to focus on them. Then again, I’m an optimist.

Thanks to Todd over at Roll Bama Roll for hosting this week.


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

I’m still feeling good about the position. If the team can keep winning, everything will take care of itself.

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?

Alabama tried, and finally did establish a passing game this weekend. Tennessee countered with a pretty fierce rush but McElwain and company countered with roll outs. Also, hats off to John Parker; he took a few early hits but never lost his poise.

I was also presently surprised with Alabama’s defense against the screen pass (minus the touchdown). That is an area of improvement over the struggles from earlier in the season.

For a team that stunk it up on punt returns earlier in the year, the Vols did a great job on neutralizing the threat of an Arenas return. Drunk or not, minus the shank, Britton Colquitt is one helluva punter.

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

I’ll go with at least three on each side: John Parker, Roy Upchurch , and Julio Jones when we had the ball. Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower, and Javier Arenas when they had the ball. This was truly a team effort on all fronts.

This is probably an excellent segue into the fact that my wife is expecting our third son late this winter and as we already have two other boy children, names are getting harder to choose. At some point during the game, my wife tells me that our newest addition was turning flips inside her and she figured it was a response to her nervousness over the game and the noise and general rowdiness coming from me and the other two boys. Sometime during the fourth quarter, in what has become an almost daily occurrence in our home, she turns to me and says,  “what are we going to call this child,” and in as serious a face and voice as I could muster in that moment, without hesitation, I said, “Javier Julio Tyrone.”  She thought for a moment and  said, without cracking a smile, “Javier Julio Tyrone, child of the covenant, I now baptize you in the name of….” (for those of you who aren’t Presbyterian, or other infant baptizing denominations, that’s what the minister says right after he has asked you the christian name of the child and before he sprinkles water on its head, and is in front of the entire congregation on Sunday morning.)

4. Arkansas State got a BCS scalp at Texas A&M to open their season,
while we’re still living down the humiliation of a loss to their
fellow Sun Belt member La.-Monroe.  We’ve worried about a letdown all
season long and, considering a similarly dominating win over UT
preceded the November death spiral last year, are we in danger here?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Alabama is certainly in danger. Arkansas State will not be bothered at all by 92,000 plus. They expect to beat the Tide, or at least compete with them. Alabama will have to play four good quarters of football to win this game.

With that being said, beating A&M might be the worst thing that could have happened to Arkansas State. Alabama will take them seriously. I think the same was true of Ole Miss and their win over Florida, prior to playing Alabama. It is cliche to say that any team can lose to any team even though it’s true. But having a win like that is a hard-core, eye-opening fact, that gets players attention more than just coach-speak. Alabama must take this team seriously, as they have to do with every team on the schedule, but evidence that not playing your best game can cost you should work in the Tide’s favor. They won’t be “sneaking up” on Alabama – at least that’s what I hope.

5. Looking around the SEC, which team is the most undervalued in the
league?  Who is the most overvalued?

Undervalued is a little easier and I’m going with Ole Miss for that distinction. They have been in every game they played – one score from winning all of their losses. A not-so-close second is Auburn. Yeah, I know things seem bad down there, but if you turn down Finebaum long enough to see the facts, other than the WVU game, you can say the same thing about themas Ole Miss. There is talent down there, especially on defense. Burns is gaining experience and if they can win the game this weekend, they could be very dangerous down the stretch. They should give Georgia a good game at home and will absolutely play lights out when they visit T-town the weekend after Thanksgiving. Think I’m wrong? Think back to 2004 when they were undefeated and Alabama had defined mediocrity. The Tide gave them everything they wanted, taking a lead into halftime and being a score from tying it up on the last drive. Just because they are 4-4 and Alabama is 8-0 starting November doesn’t mean that the streak is over. I won’t rest easy on that one until Alabama is ahead and the clock reads 0:00.

For overvalued, I’m going with Alabama or Florida.  Florida still sports a home loss to the Rebels and despite a couple of impressive wins since, then they still have holes. I just don’t believe that Myer’s spread is a pound-it-out type offense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly good, but have you noticed it’s feast or famine with the points. They get in rhythm and it’s like turning on a faucet with the handle broken off, you can’t stop it. On the other hand, if they don’t get going to begin with, they don’t seem near as potent. The Gators do have a much-improved defense and a collection of incredible athletes but you don’t want to peak against Kentucky and in light of what Georgia just did in Baton Rouge, the win over LSU doesn’t look near as good.

Alabama has yet to be punched in the mouth early, if you don’t count Tulane, and, despite a few good performances lately, I’m not sure if the pass protection is good enough to make a two-score rally. Let’s face it, if passing is predictable, I’m not sure the tools are there. On the bright side, Alabama is not going to see anything from defensive lines they haven’t already seen, so I think they can run the ball on anybody, but no one has said, “we dare you to pass” by selling out on the run. The effective passing this team has done has been when they wanted to, not because they had to.

What Alabama does have is an earth-mover of a line, a couple of sure-handed receivers, a couple of better-than-average tight ends, a handful of work-horse running backs, and an experienced if not flashy quarterback. No one’s talking about Heisman for any of these guys and they aren’t going to put up sixty points but who else in the conference can claim all the elements Alabama has on that side of the ball.

While I believe that the axiom about college football that “every game means something” is not only true, and is also one of the main reasons that it is the greatest sport on the planet, it is true that you really have to get to a certain point of the season for that high-stakes drama to really get you involved. That’s why that even though my beloved Tide is off this week, I’ll still be glued to the television all day tomorrow.

Below is the cheat sheet I’ve made for myself for a day in the recliner with the remote in one hand and a beverage in the other. Chores you (and my spouse) ask?  That’s what the other three seasons are for – this is football season.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring this to your attention first; If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be in one of those “House Divided” marriages that are all too common in our part of the world and unfortunately advertised with one of the worst license plate designs ever, then check out Holly and Doug’s dramatic masterpiece on the relationship between a Vawl and a Dawg. Part one is at Holly’s place and parts two and three are at Doug’s.

The object was to get this post up yesterday and start off by recommending that you watch Clemson at Wake Forest last night. I was hoping for a Clemson victory to give the Tide a little more street cred but that didn’t work out so well. This was a total show of offensive ineptitude that came close to giving the epic in Starkville, between State and Auburn, a run for its money. Clemson’s offensive line is terrible. Just terrible. You could have an all-universe backfield (and they are not far form it) but without a line there are no holes to run in or time to target receivers. I’m thinking Bowden is on his way out.

Moving on to Saturday:

Mimosa and Bloody Mary Games

The day starts off with a doozy in the Red River Shootout. This is the first time in a few years that this game has had this much importance (11:00 cdt, ABC), but it is not a stretch to say that the winner of this game will have made it through the first stop on the way to Miami.

Thirty minutes later you can flip during commericals to ESPN for Colrado at Kansas – the Jayhawks are unbeaten- or to Raycom for South Carolina at Kentucky. I’d like to see the Wildcats win and make Alabama look a little better.

Be checking the bottom line scores for Nebraska at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders should win this easily against the inept Husker defense but I’m of the camp that believes beating two FCS division teams earns you absolutely nothing. If the Leach led bunch wins this going away I’ll consider them a little more for the Mumme Poll.

Wings and Beer Time

The 2:30 time-frame games offer many good contests. The SEC fans will tune in to CBS for Tennessee at Georgia to see if Fulmer is indeed on his way out or if Richt’s team can continue the momentum they were gaining in the second half of the Blackout Beatdown. The Vols could be mathematically eliminated from the  Eastern Division race or the Dawgs National Championship dreams might be snuffed out for this year.

ABC has several regional games at the same time and all have good story lines. Arizona State at USC offers a glimpse at the Trojans climb out of the cellar efforts while over on the East Coast and mid-West everyone will be wondering if North Carolina is for real or if Notre Dame will prove everyone but Lou Holtz correct by losing. Ohio State is still seeking redemption and Purdue comes into the Horseshoe to see what that feels like (hopes of redemption not visiting the Horseshoe).

The Deuce has Michigan State at Northwestern. Northwestern is also undefeated at this point but a resurgent Michigan State team will be their first real test. That’s on at 2:30 as well.

Check the bottom line for: Vanderbilt at Mississippi State

Cocktail Hour (or I switch to bourbon)

Other than Texas/Oklahoma, the marque game of the day and a contest that certainly holds more regional interest is LSU at Florida. This is somewhat cliche but true nonetheless, the winner of this game the last two years has gone on to win not only the conference but also the national championship. A loss for the Gators would but them behind the eight ball in their quest to get to Atlanta after they slipped up against Ole Miss. A loss by the Tigers would not be quite as damning as it appears the only other contender for the West is our own Alabama team, whom they still must play, but with Georgia still on the schedule it would take away any room for error. This game could go either way and the winner would still control their own destiny. That game is the second of the rare CBS double-header and comes on at 7:00.

Over on ESPN 2, Oklahoma State takes their perfect record into Missouri to take on the high-flying Chase Daniel led offense of the Tigers. Somebody has to lose this one and it makes the second contest of the day of ranked, undefeated teams.

ESPN has Penn State at Wisconsin and while this could be an upset for the Badgers that would require that they end a possible three-game losing streak. Confidence is not high.

Other games you can’t watch, unless of course you have Gameplan, are Arkansas at Auburn – story lines galore the least of which would be Auburn’s total elimination from the division race – and New Mexico at BYU – no offense to my NM homies but despite the upset of Arizona, the Lobos suck. Keeping with the UNM/BYU storyline that highlights undefeated, untested teams that face competition they should beat but just might get upset by, you have Ball State at Western Kentucky and Boise State at Southern Miss.

In conclusion, tomorrow is a great day to watch football. Conference play is well under way with a few big rivalries taking place, but beyond that there are a few unbeatens that will not finish the day that way and a few more big upset chances. As we do every week of the season we will finish the day with a few answers and a lot more questions. But perhaps the best thing about tomorrow is that Alabama will start and finish the day 6-0.

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!

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.

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