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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.
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.