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Finebaum is reporting that all signs indicate that Snitching Ass Tony Franklin has been terminated but cannot verify.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that Tubs was telling everyone that there were going to be no changes in the staff?

Update: Article up on the Opelika/ Auburn News. (HT: EDSBS)

Update 2: “Let’s make it official jackass. Let’s make it official”

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

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

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

Let’s take a quick look:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve read about all that I can read and I’ve thought about all I can think. I’m going to try and make it to the golf course a little after lunch and smack a little white ball around and drink a few frosty, cold beverages because that doesn’t take any real amount of concentration, which at this point I don’t possess any of. We’re about thirty-three hours away. By five o’clock tomorrow I’ll be more geeked out than a fifteen-year-old boy who’s been guaranteed he’ll get to see a real live breast.

I love this. I live for this. I’ll have to get drunk just to be able to sleep tonight.

I’ll leave you for the weekend with a couple of thoughts:

  • You sometimes forget how sloppy first-games are. Most of the teams I watched looked sloppy last night, at least for a half. Alabama and Clemson are probably going to be that way tomorrow night and it will be maddening. If the teams are as close as some say they are, whoever is less sloppy just might come away with the victory.
  • I’ve heard a lot of talk about how people think the Ross’ Brother is going to be better this year. Here is where I am with that: It’s very possible that McElwain has helped him by the way he runs the offense. He certainly is experienced and I know that goes a long way. I also know that he has been prone to some poor decisions, but he is certainly more worthy of praise than blame. So I leave it at this, I hope that Wilson has improved and I hope that he has a break out year. That’s all it is though at this point, hope.
  • I really want to see the development of Alabama’s defense, as well as receivers and O-line. Alabama has the potential to be a much better team this season all the way around. There are signs that they could be. All the reasons given by pundits for their success this season on on those areas. I believe they are flying under the radar this year, at least I hope they are. There is a small reason to believe that Alabama could be a surprise team this year. Look back at Stoops in his second season in Oklahoma and Saban in his second season at LSU. I know the circumstances are not the same for both of those teams compared to this one, but change from year one to year two can be dramatic. Keep in mind all the losses last season were by a score or less. Once again, my hope is that Alabama experiences a lot of improvement. I hope.
  • I don’t want to get on a theme of bashing Auburn here, because I agree that they could be a very good team this year. I’ve stated I’m not sold on snitching-ass Tony Franklin and his system and I’m not going to start on that again but I’ve heard several times this week how this two quarterback deal on the Plains is different. The party line this week is that running all the reps would just be too exhausting on one quarterback. I’m calling bullshit right here and now. Let me get this straight, one quarterback isn’t physically fit enough to do it but the offensive line is? Maybe all the cage-fighting Ziemba is doing on the side makes him extra fit for a standard SEC lineman but I don’t think so.  Are they going to platoon the whole line to keep the fatigue down? What about the “much improved” receivers, I understand they rotate more than other offensive players but don’t they run more too? If everybody from the quarterback to the opposing defense to the marching bad playing so many song for all the first downs are going to be so tired, then why isn’t the largest, and slowest players on the team? The bottom line is that one quarterback is not good enough to take charge or that the coaches are too worried about messing with team chemistry to sit one and play the other. This cannot end well unless it is the first time that it ever, in the history of football,  does and I will apologize for my short-sightedness if that is the case.
  • Clemson has more to lose than Alabama, but a win would be much bigger for Alabama. I don’t believe either team should or will be satisfied with a loss but nobody but Alabama fans hoping for a return to glory are predicting big things for Alabama this season. This could be a springboard for a spectacular season. For Clemson it is just the first test for them to finally meet expectations. Either way both team will be focused and intense and it should be some great, great football.
  • I’ll state one last time that I do not forecast and Alabama victory tomorrow. That doesn’t for one isecond mean that I will yell at my television less or get any less upset and mope around the house if they do lose. I’m just trying to be logical and for every reason I can think to get excited and mentally workout the victory I can come up with a counter argument. Clemson is good, on paper, hyped or not. And since that’s all we’ve got to go on, I’m still predicting Clemson. I have no idea on the points.

That’s it. I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend.

Roll Tide!

Well, here we sit a mere four days from the first game, trying to work, and not having much success. I’ve read until my eyes hurt and it hasn’t even remotely quenched my thirst for football. There is but one thing that will do that and that my friends is actual live football (although Erin Andrews screen caps help).

This is the time of year that everyone tries to wrap the story lines and general predictions into neat little bundles. I’m not sure why, maybe to get the wanna-be fans that jumped on the bandwagon this past week up to speed. In my opinion, if you’re just tuning in now you aren’t a real fan anyway. You should have been with us back in February when my phone was blowing up with text messages like I was a fourteen-year-old girl every time Nick Saban landed another highly-touted recruit. Since he did this with consistency similar to the way Kenny Loggins recorded soundtrack music in the 1980’s, my phone was blowing up a lot.

You should have been here during Spring Practice as we clamored for the tiniest shred of news, no hope, that our team will be better this year and that yes, the dreaded streak will end.

You should have been here when the summer started when we were scrounging message boards to hear the latest rumors about who was in camp and who was going to be ineligible. When we were counting with calendars and hands and toes to determine exactly how many days there were left until the addiction would be fed. When we were planning tailgates and trying news recipes that tasted great and could be prepared successfully while impaired from a day of drinking or worse, while hungover from a night of drinking. When we were committing the schedule to memory. When we were planning road trips and booking flights and calling in favors for tickets and rooms from long-lost friends and relatives.

Just as long as you know that we know that you have a life other than football and that we resent that about you we’ll let you play along. Sure, be a fan when it’s convenient, but know that when you jump up and diss John Parker before it’s quite time to, we will know what a fair-weather, gained all your knowledge-listening-to-Finebaum-on-the-way-into-town, douchebag you really are.

Without further ado, here are my predictions, both bold and not-so-bold, for Alabama, the SEC, and college football in general this season.

Alabama’s Season – Even though I want to jump on the happy-feel-good vibes coming from the football complex, I’m sticking with my assessment earlier in the summer. 9-3 with losses to Clemson, Georgia, and LSU. I’ll get to Clemson in a minute but I really don’t think we can beat both the dawgs and the tigahs on the road.

The Streak with Auburn – will end this year. Don’t worry about reasoning or logic or the lucky underwear I’ll be wearing into Bryant-Denny. Six is enough. What I am more interested in though is how this empire Auburn has built will crumble when the only truly remarkable event of the greatest period of Auburn history ends. As bad as some Alabama fans have taken this streak, when it turns, I believe that the Aubs will take it much, much worse. I think we could handle the streak running to seven, or even eight (God forbid) better than they will take it when it ends. It seems sometimes like it is all they have. I want to predict that the winner of the Iron Bowl will represent the West in Atlanta, but that is just day-dreaming and is counter to my overall prediction. But don’t get me wrong, I’ll take it.

This is Phillip Fulmer’s last season in Knoxville – After opening with conference losses to Florida, Auburn, and Georgia the pitchfork wielding crowd will be at the gates. The second consecutive loss to Alabama will be more than even the annual cakewalk through November can overcome. I believe he’ll take his dignity and the lifetime Krispy Kreme rider in his contract and leave the program. And as I brush a tear (of absolutely satisfying mirthful glee) from my eye, I’ll wish him the best of luck with knowledge that the conference won’t be the same without him.

While starting in the Top Ten both West Virginia and Clemson will not finish there. I could give you my reasons but what the hell for, that’s just what’s going to happen. Write it down. (and notice that I’m still predicting a Clemson victory against the Tide).

The Spread Eagle will not fly. At least not in the vision that Auburn fans think it will. Your offense will still be similar to last seasons and the seasons before. Auburn wins by controlling the clocks and playing good defense. That’s what their talent does and Tuberville would be a fool to try to do differently like. It’s kinda like you in college, you did well with the girl-next-door type. She was cute and fun to be around. Yeah she wasn’t model material but she was acceptable. She was your wheelhouse and every time you forgot that and out kicked your coverage it ended badly and awkwardly for everybody involved. So you went back to the girl you saw studying at the library and left the cast of the Hills to the product sporting douchebag with not much substance but really sweet trust funds. Tommy Tuberville has never had product in his hair in his life. He ain’t taking anything over a 7 and-a-half out of the bar. He may try but after the lame attempts at being cool countered by the silly looks and under-her-breath comments to her friends he’ll go back to the wheel house. That’s why he’s the best damn coach in Auburn history (WEH!). By the Tennessee game, the Tigers will be pounding the ball up the middle and throwing on third and long.

I’m not sure what snitching-ass Tony Franklin will do our what the new company line will be to all the Auburn faithful, but you ain’t going to light it up and score gobs of points. Nor do you have to to win.

Sylvester Croom will not repeat last year’s success, but he won’t miss it by much. State will beat at leat two teams that they aren’t supposed to. Something tells me LSU is one of them but that just seems almost too crazy to write down.

Houston Nutt will not. Earlier I thought they would be better, but Jevan Snead beside, they still just aren’t going to have it. The losses to injury on the d-line are just way too much for them early in the season and a team like that needs something to build from – like say, a win – and they aren’t going to get it early in the year.

No team will run the table in the SEC and at least one of the teams in the championship game will have two losses. I don’t think I’m being Nostradomas here.

Baby Jesus and his end-zone dancing group of petty criminals will not win the National Championship. Or even the conference. [ eds. note:Jimmy Johns and Jeremy Elder (who was from Georgia by the way) think the Bulldogs string of misdemeanors (and assaults to be fair) are chicken shit.] As Rick Bragg said in All Over but the Shoutin, “Georgia is obnoxious anyway, with Herschel Walker they were unbearable”. Moreno is everything to the silver-britches about Hershel except that he isn’t Herschel. Would I love for him to be on my team, yes, but that’s beside the point. Richt and the Bulldogs are good and I’ve gone through this ad nauseum but the last seven games last year were special but they do not entitle you to walk into Miami a week after New Year’s day. In fact the only game they’ll play in Florida the whole year will be in Jacksonville and I just don’t see them beating Florida this year. It should be merciful though because Spurrier is already in Richt’s head and when they lose at Columbia the dreams should be back down to reality.

Alabama will lose to Clemson on Saturday. I believe that the game will be fantastic and I hope that I am wrong but Clemson has just seen this situation too much in comparison to Alabama. They played in the same location with just as hyped a crowd as will be there and Alabama, at least the freshman who are depended on for so much, has not. Alabama is just too young at too many positions. I hope I’m wrong and I’ll definitely be cheering for them to win but I’m setting emotion aside. You can look at every match-up on the field and Clemson wins it. Clemson’s O-line versus Alabama’s D-line might be the only exception but you’d logically have to say that given the unknown nature of each, the nod goes to Clemson who has more in support. If Alabama wins the game it will be because of an as-of-yet undetermined superiority in this battle.

Now for the promised links:

Gump for Heisman did a helluva job of predictions himself. These are hilarious. (HT:Gerry Dorsey)

Bama Sports Report takes a look at yesterday’s practice. These guys are quickly becoming one of my favorites and daily reads.

Senator Blutarsky links Barnhart’s AJ-C piece on the ESPN-SEC deal and add some insightful commentary.

Orson brings a hired gun to help channel your inner-defensive coordinator and you don’t even have to put on polyester shorts with a belt first.

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