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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.

This weeks questions come to us from the good folks (that’s just good Southern manners for Ed Orgeron, Bat Shit,  Crazy people) at Tower of Bammer. You can find a round up of the roundtable this and every week right here.

1. While the actual players and coaches deserve some of the credit for last season’s success, it was our collective superstitions and dark rituals that brought home the championship. What was your superstitious contribution?

I am such a total believer in Saban and the philosophy that he preaches that for possibly the first time ever I didn’t keep a ritual. Except for drinking. I drank before every game and during most of them. God forbid what would happen to the team if I didn’t drink.

2. Put on your Finebaum hat, dip your arrows in vile poison, and tell us which SEC coach is gonna be the first to get canned/and or bolt for greener pastures… like golf courses.

This is going to be the easy answer, but Spurrier’s days are numbered. Unless he has a huge year I believe he’ll hang it up. Richt is on a short leash. Miles’ leash is even shorter; I believe this is it for him in Baton Rouge. Nutt’s got a couple more in Oxford before they run him out. Mullin is due for a good year in my opinion and he’ll bolt for greener pastures (figuratively not literally; if there is anything they do good in Starkville it’s green pastures).

3. We would love for this to go on forever, but let’s face it, we have to lose a game at some point, right? What team on next years schedule (pronounced shed-jewel) should cause the most concern?

This is one of those time-stamp questions. Pre-season the pundits will say Penn State and Florida. I’m a little worried about an improved Arkansas in Fayetteville. That game comes at the end of two straight weeks on the road and the week before the super-hyped game against Florida. If Alabama beats Penn State, and they should, then the entire Sports/Industrial Complex will be looking forward to October 2. Arkansas, on the other hand, will be looking forward to Alabama, who embarrassed them like no one did, last year. On paper Alabama controls the clock by pounding the ball against an inferior defense and utilizes a superior defense against a gimmick (read: non-traditional offense) and runs the quarterback all over the field and gets ready for the more important showdown. No problem right? That was the exact plan for Auburn last year. That’s what has me worried The contests with Tennessee, LSU and Auburn always scare me. UT will generally be awful, but Dooley will probably win a game he shouldn’t and they always get up for Alabama. LSU probably scares me the least and Auburn should be improved but it’s in Tuscaloosa and the winner might just punch its ticket to Atlanta. I’m going to keep my eye on State too but it’s just too early to say on that one.

4. Joe Paterno has already screeched “You can’t count on freshmen. Do you want to go down to Tuscaloosa with freshmen!?” but Penn State fans are buzzing about how true frosh Paul Jones looked in their spring game. Is JoePa playing it smart, clinging to an outdated case of freshmanastartaphobia, or just planning on starting a sacrificial lamb QB so Marcel Dareus doesn’t eat his good ones?

All you have to do is go back to the National Championship game to see what a Saban defense can do to an inexperienced QB so he might opt for experience, no matter how little it is. But to be honest with you, I’m not sure that Paterno is even aware that the war is over – and I’m refereeing to WWI here – so you can’t be too sure of what he says anyway.

5. Everyone I know has a crazy story about dealing with an out of control swamp-thing rival from Red Stick, whats the craziest thing you’ve ever seen an LSU fan do? (Just to make things interesting, lets disqualify Shaquille O’Neal’s performance as a genie in Shazam)

I’ve had some truly great experiences in Baton Rouge and here with LSU fans. It wasn’t anything where I felt threatened or was just in shock. Probably the worst thing was in 2000 when the kid jumped out of the student section in Tiger Stadium, ran the length of the field and mooned the Alabama fans in the visitor section. It was right at the start of the 4th quarter and then Saban directed his Tigahs to a comeback and their first victory over the Tide in Death Valley since 1969. Or possibly when I sat in the student section there in 2004 and the girls were asking me, “what the fuck are you doing here?” That was pretty intense.

When it comes to Alabama, I’m an unabashed glass-half-full guy. So, with all the hand wringing about the passing game, which in reality saw McElroy improve in  the contest against the Vols in completion percentage (62% vs. 50%), interceptions (0 vs. 2), and passes to Julio (7 vs. 0) , from his previous performance against the Cocks, I thought I’d take a look at how the oft lamented kickoff coverage unit did.

I’m not exactly sure of the metric you use to guage such things but from my observation there has been improvement in this area. Tennessee did not appear to make any “big” returns (nor have they really all year), but a look at the stats shows that they averaged 28.4 yards on 5 returns with a long return of 33 yards. More importantly their best starting field position after a kickoff return was on their own 37 yard line (in the 3rd quarter) which ironically came on their shortest return (24 yards).

The only time Tennessee began a drive in Alabama territory was on the fumble recovery in the 4th quarter.

Dare I suggest that this is an area that has seen improvement over the course of the season?

I’ve got to admit that I’ve been caught up in the aftermath of the UT-Alabama game last Saturday. Kiffin keeps popping off at the mouth and like kids following the piper the UT faithful are right behind him.

The coach of the Volunteers  seems to be the definition of immature. He doesn’t like it when he doesn’t get his way and he’s going to make sure that everybody knows it. Ghostofneyland said it best when he stated, “Kiffin felt he needed to stand up and say something…” I believe that is the majority of Kiffin’s problem; he just can’t keep his mouth shut. He always feels he needs to say something, even when he would be better served by remaining silent. Maybe he is smarter than he looks and this is all a part of a master plan. If he keeps the hopes of Vols inflated with close wins and promises of what will be, they’ll be patient with him until he does win. I think it may even be working. From my brief observations the Big Orange Nation is too busy crying foul and lauding what will be to reflect on the actual record.

The down side to all his talk will be that his timer will run out much quicker. If the promised wins don’t come soon – I personally believe that he can’t back track to Georgia next season and needs to beat either Alabama or Florida or natives will start getting restless.

Right after the game I spoke with a great Tennessee fan. She didn’t tell me that UT could have or should have won, she didn’t say that the penalties (or lack of) or the headset malfunctions or even their lack of comparative talent cost them the game. She just said it was a great game.  She was absolutely right. She was the gracious fan that Kiffin must feel he can’t afford to be.

I’ve been through two truly awful streaks in my time pulling for Alabama. The seven years to Tennessee and the six to Auburn. The worst part of those was the feeling that it might get worse before it got better. The 365 days until our teams would meet again would be long but the possibility that a talent or coaching gap would make it longer than that was the really scary part. UT fans probably feel right now that in fifty-one weeks this wrong can be righted. Hope is better than the absence of it. Despite the fact we Alabama fans would prefer them dejected the Volunteers lost a game but gained some faith. In that at least, Kiffin did a good job.

This certainly isn’t a defense of Kiffin; I believe he’s a whiny douchebag whose eventual downfall is as certain as the enjoyment I’ll derive from its occurance. But Lane did help to give my favorite rivalry in the world a shot of Jaegarmister this weekend. Sitting on the good side of a three-year streak I think that is a pretty good thing.  I thank him for that.

This past weekend was what college football is all about to  me. I was thinking going in that Alabama was a much better tean than Tennessee and that I would be dissapointed with anything less than humiliation of the hated Vawls from them. I was wrong.

The elation I experienced in the moments following the blocked kick as time expired was as euphoric as every win I’ve ever experienced as a fan in this storied series. It’s games like this that make the rivalry so great.

Now that I am somewhat rested the focus of my brain (and liver) has shifted to something other than clearing alcohol from my system. Some thoughts:

Alabama

  • This was the first game all year that left me feeling there were things to worry about. After watching the replay yesterday I feel better about that. Granted, the offense has to improve, but despite the fact that this one came down to the wire, Alabama did the things it needed to do to win. They aren’t perfect but they are a complete team.
  • They win. That’s the major difference in Alabama and Tennessee right now. It wasn’t to long ago that Alabama did not know how to win.
  • I was convinced that McElroy stunk it up Saturday after the game. Part of that was carryover from the South Carolina game and part of that was the idiot behind me in the stands screaming about open receivers. After the replay I feel better about him. He didn’t do things to help us lose the game, which is an improvement.  Obviously he needs to improve but I’m confident that he can. The thing that crossed my mind was maybe the speed of SEC defenses have sped the game up for him and he’s rushing his decision making and therefore his execution. Hopefully, the game will slow down for him and he’ll be fine. I’m confident that he can lead this team but we need to see improvement every week.
  • This has been stated ad naseum in the last thirty-six hours but the bye week comes at a great time. Rest and focus should do this team wonders.

Tennessee

  • The series of events that had to take place for Tennessee to have a chance to win this game was just amazing:
  1. The most sure handed rusher in the conference fumbles a ball.
  2. Overcomes a sack for a big loss of yardage to keep a drive alive.
  3. Score a touchdown against a team that hadn’t given up one in almost twelve quarters.
  4. Recover an onside kick.
  5. Move the ball enough to set up a field goal to win the game without a time out.

Simply amazing.

  • You could argue that UT did enough the rest of the game to be in position to win and I don’t know that I’d disagree. Still, in the stadium until around the two minute mark, I never felt like UT had a chance to win. As successful as the Vol offense had been and as good as Crompton was, there was a point on every promising drive that the worn out Alabama defense emphatically shut the door.  The final three minutes contained all the drama.
  • Deserve has nothing to do with this game. This UT team still has a ways to go to be competitive every week. Sometime mediocre teams play great games against better competition but I’ve never felt this was a true indicator of a team’s progress (as Lane would have you believe). The measure in this sport is not total yards, first downs, or time of possession. It’s wins. This UT team is 3-4. That’s not very good.
  • Keeping on the same theme, this situation reminds me of Alabama and LSU in ’07. The Tide took LSU to the wire and lost after leading most of the game. They felt good about themselves and then threw all that promise away in consecutive weeks (against Mississippi State, La-Monroe, and Auburn no less). This is not a prediction, but the Vols need to focus on South Carolina this week, and not what they did or almost did against Alabama. Another Vol loss this week (and more the rest of the way) will not surprise me at all.
  • Lane Kiffin needs to shut the hell up. Obviously, I’m not a fan, but this is ridiculous. He’s already calling for the victory next year and and whining about headsets and penalties like it was a conspiracy that kept his team from winning. I loathe people that place blame on anyone but themselves for thier situation. Lane seem like the poster boy for that. Your team did a lot and I mean a lot to gain respect from at least this Alabama fan this week. Kiffin stuck a pin in that balloon real quickly with his big mouth. Just be quiet and let the team make the statement for what you’re doing.
  • When is someone going to start the Kiffin promise board. He’s making promises more quickly than a politician – which he reminds me of. He’s saying all theses things that his fans want to hear but he isn’t really following up on them. I’ll start the check list: “… not getting recruits from Memphis (OK, that was Thompson, but he’s writing checks on Kiffin’s account) -not happening. “Sing Rocky Top all night after beating the Gators” – didn’t happen. After he’s finished promising all the losses from this season that are supposed to be wins next year UT should run the table by his estimation.
  • Tennessee played a great game. They were well prepared and played very physical football for sixty minutes. Unlike the last two years, they never gave up in this one. My credit is worthless, but they were a more impressive product than I have seen in a while from the boys in orange. The single biggest superlative for this team is its tenacity.

Personal

  • I always look forward to and enjoy this game every year. There was. however,  a perfect storm of events that made this one extra special:
  1. Weather that proves God loves college football
  2. My friends Chris and Steve flying in from Albuquerque and Denver respectively keeping a string of twelve consecutive years where we all attend a game together going.
  3. Chris and Steve bringing their fraternity brothers Justin and Seth with them for the second time. These guys are southwest guys with no ties to Alabama other than friendship and have become big fans – they love the experience of southern football.
  4. Getting to meet and hang out with three folks I like and respect from the internet all in the same day: Holly, Doug, and later Clay Travis. Good folks all.
  5. The game itself. Obviously.
  6. Finishing the night doing shots with a former professional baseball player who was in town for the game. (and who was an all-around good guy).

Like the team, I need a bye week. I’m going to focus on work, flag football, and hopefully a little rock climbing before the team hits the field again for a huge matchup with the Tigahs.

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.

Louisiana native and Alabama fan Gerry Dorsey, who edits the a standard weekly read, Love Thine Enemy, on his great site, Uncle Rico’s Time Machine, has chosen this week to host.

The questions and my answers:

1. what are your feelings on alabama’s current position in the polls? are they overrated? underrated? just right?

At some point Saturday night it became apparent that Alabama, by means of attrition, would ascend to the number one spot. While this is the constant goal of the vast majority of the Alabama faithful, my first reaction was, “No, not yet!”

I have always felt that a team that is ranked number one has a much larger target on their back and get the best effort of every team they play and that those teams at the pinnacle are more susceptible to hubris than other teams. Then again, this current Alabama team seems to be healthy, improving, and saving their best efforts for the biggest games. This team, I hope, is too workmanlike in their approach to get caught up in the rankings.

Because of his job – which is in no way affiliated with the University or Athletic Department – my father sees Javier Arenas, as well as several other players, on a weekly basis and gets the chance to chat them up. He has been a fan of Arenas since he got to campus and always speaks highly of him in that, “he’s a good kid, you can just tell – very polite, yes sir all the time,” kind of way. Anyway, Dad ssaw Javier on Monday and tells him, ” I would congratulate you on being number one but I now your coach doesn’t like that. Javi’s response, “Thanks, but we don’t even focus on stuff like that, we’re focused on LSU.”

There. You heard it here first.

To conclude, I’m tickled pick, or crimson as it were, with the current rank. It is a very rare thing and this team, at least for right now, deserves to be number one. Now they just have to hold onto it…

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?

I am continually amazed, although I shouldn’t be considering Saban’s past, with the improved play of the defense. This is becoing a salty defense.

On the other hand, I continue to be concerned with pass protection. How does this team give up exactly zero sacks against Tennessee and then give up four to Arkansas State?

3.  name your player of the game on offense. also name one on defense.

Mark Ingram on offense and Rashad Johnson on defense

4. as we found out yesterday, with november comes the coaching carousel. what are your thoughts on phat phil and his legacy?   which realistic candidate, if any, scares the crap out of you?

I’ll paraphrase Paul Bryant here; watching the press conference on Monday, I started to feel sorry for Fulmer. But not too sorry. That fat son-of-a-krispy kreme doughnut, has dealt me a lot of misery. At some point Fulmer decided that it would be better for him to worry about getting Alabama in trouble than to focus on his own team and their ability to win. He was successful in the short term, because he was able to hang on to victories over his lifelong nemesis, but in that process he started forgetting how to coach. To be honest with you his demise has been fun to watch.

He put his mark on the rivalry and it is arguably the most controversial and ugly part of this long-standing traditional game. He made it not about the players or the contest itself. I hate Tennessee, but I have a feeling that as his imprint on that storied program becomes less and less apparent that the hatred will lessen and be replaced with the respect that the team and fans deserve.

I wish him well, only because I try not to harbor ill will toward anyone, but he has reaped what he sowed and you should never feel sorry when that happens.

I’m not too worried about a replacement… unless it is Nick Saban.

5. with all the hype of fowler, corso, and herbie in town, the #1 ranking, the unbridled (and unnecessary) hatred for saban (and most anything crimson tide for that matter) from the tigah faithful, just how ripe for for the upset is bama this weekend?? how do you expect the squad to react?

This team has showed the ability all season to rise to the occasion. They have been in at least two other match-ups this year where the eyes of the nation were turned to them. They have faced hostile crowds. They are well coached and should be prepared.

LSU is not the team they were a year ago. Their defense is somewhat soft and while they are still somewhat explosive on offense they are not as balanced as they have been in the past. They are very inexperienced at quarterback. What they are though is still a very physical team. They will bring the fight on every snap and as evidenced by the Georgia game, they never give up. They are very capable of beating Alabama. The fans will be as loud as they ever have and if the team stays in the game they will be there in the fourth quarter, when it gets dark, to cheer them on.

Alabama needs to take the crowd out of it early. They need to build, and maintain, a big lead so that the stands are devoid of purple and gold fans by the fourth quarter. They should be able to do that.

Am I nervous or worried. Hells yes. And that will only grow as kickoff approaches.

cause we’re from Alabama!

I don’t care what the records, that was a huge win!

Roll Tide Roll!

We’ll see y’all next week!

In the mean time, we just beat Tennessee!!!!

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Third Saturday in October and the Alabama bloogers are teaming up with the cousin fuckers Tennessee Bloggers and insulting one another working together to do a joint roundtable.

The good folks at Third Saturday in Blogtober, in what would seem to be a random coincidence but actually isn’t, are hosting. Hey, since the Vawls are participating I guess that means we don’t have to do a position-in-the-polls-type question.

I digress.

Both teams at some point or another have been described as an Evil Empire.  If your team is the Death Star, what is it’s planet-destroying weapon?

Rolando McClain. He doesn’t speak Teradactyl and the only philosophy he knows is delivering pain. A close second would be the Cat-like (that’s as in Caterpillar earth moving machinery not feline) offensive line that Alabama possesses.

What is it’s two meter wide exhaust port?

A passing attack – Alabama has given up chunks of yards in the air, over the middle. If UT had a decent quarterback I would be very worried because the run defense could be at a season low without big TC in the middle, and the Tide could be more susceptible to play-action. While it is certainly possible for them to have a break-out game, UT’s offense has defined inconsistent and flacid.

Everyone is looking forward to Eric Berry vs. Julio Jones.  What is the next matchup you’ll be keying on in this game?

I’m really worried about the orange o-line getting a good push on the new, Cody-less d-line. That will have my attention early in the match up.

The Tide and Vols will scrap it out under the lights at Neyland.  Do you like this arrangement and does the later kickoff time provide an advantage to either team?

This doesn’t sound right to say but, Alabama has played its best football this year on the road at night. This team has shown it gets up for a big game. Despite the inconsistencies in the records this is a big game. Advantage Alabama.

Since the Tide had a bye week and the Vols didn’t bother to play that weekend either (zing!) we’re going to say this is the Third Saturday in October just to justify the name of one of the greatest rivalries in college football.  In three thousand words or less, turn over the kettles of white-hot liquid hate upon thine enemy.

I’m worried about this game because I am not worried about this game. Normally I sleep very little and finish the week with very little fingernails. That hasn’t been the case this week. I just don’t think that Tennessee is that good and while I know this is one of those games that you throw everything out of the window. Upsets are possible and I completely understand what it is like to believe that winning one game will make the sun shine a little brighter, the facts are that it rarely works out that way.

This is not the usual game. While I’d like to say that I have laughed maniacally as Tennessee lost the previous four times this year… Ok, I’d be lying if I said anything different; I’ve laughed my Orange Hating Ass off. I don’t feel sorry about it either. I do understand what it’s like to see something I love suffer. I know the pain of watching my team struggle and lose to opponents that it shouldn’t. I know the feeling that just one win over one hated rival would seem to bring only to have it taken away and my already hurting spirit kicked one more time.

The whole time this has gone on I haven’t said a word. It’s like when you see your most hated rival in school given a wedgie by seniors who normally don’t notice your existence. You don’t offer support or laugh, because you could be next. No, you just look down and occasionally glance out of the corner of your eye and hope that your stolen looks don’t add to his embarrassment. I’m not in a position to say what they should do nor am I in a position to point and laugh… well, maybe a little.

Yes, a UT win would be sweet for them and might give a little bit of meaning to this otherwise horrible season. The bad guys (from their perspective) loss would be karma giving back just a little in this cruelest of seasons. Football isn’t like that though. It doesn’t care. The Vols are a bad team and a win by them would be extra devastating because there is no justification for a 7-0 team losing to a 3-4 team. UT lost to UCLA for Pete’s sake.

That’s not saying that it can’t or won’t happen. UT is worthy of respect this year. But make no bones about it Vol fans, you’re in transition. Isn’t any fun is it?

By all accounts this should be a great week, and to a degree it is. Let me rephrase that. This is an awesome week, there is just so much going on that I can’t slow down enough to enjoy it as I typically do.

Alabama is seven games into the season and has not lost yet; Tuscaloosa, as I was telling a friend a day or two ago, is a much better place when Alabama is wining.

This Saturday, Alabama will travel to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee and play the Volunteers. This is the game that embodies everything great about college football to me.

The first anniversary of this blog’s existence passed without fanfare last week. I’ve been faithful to this for one year and I am still entertained by it and excited about the future it might have.

With all that going on I should be beside myself with anticipation and excitement. The truth is there is so much going on in the world of truly important things that I haven’t been able to sleep and eat properly, much less concentrate on things that I enjoy – like football and this blog.

Sometimes you have to make tough decisions that affect not only you but a few others. And then sometimes you ask a few questions that you already know the answers to and react. The latter has what has happened to me over the last week-and-a-half.

I have been a partner in a business venture and after two-and-a-half years it became completely apparent that the goals we had set for ourselves would not be realized. My options came down to financial ruin, at least in the short term, or striking out on my own (with the distinct possibility of financial ruin). I did what anyone in my situation did and struck out on my own. It has been an amazing few days that were broken up by a football game.

As of Monday, I am the sole member of an LLC and have been gathering support and resources ever since. The response from friends, advisers, and clients has been amazing. I’ve got a great attorney, a great accountant, a great insurance agent, a great computer guy, and multiple friends that have been there for me every step of the way.

This has and will dominate my life for the next several weeks. That’s OK, in fact, that is how it needs to be. The downside is I will have very little time for blogging.

So I’ve been here over a year now. Yeah for me! Instead of the post to commemorate that (which I will do later) you can search to archives if you want to relive something.

Also, instead of a new post on how I loathe Tennessee and yet love the game played between them and my beloved Tide you can reread this and just change any words out that are indicative of the location of the game for this edition.

Don’t worry, I won’t be far away.

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