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Sunday, September 28, 2008

And The Sun Also Rises.........

Alabama 31 - Georgia 0, halftime. Alabama 41 - Georgia 30, final score.

And from Pat Forde of

to Darren Epps of the Chattanooga Times Free Press

the case is being made for the Crimson Tide's inclusion in 2008 college football national title contention.

This perfect storm began Thursday night as Oregon State toppled the #1 USC Trojans. Then, in an early Saturday game, the #4 ranked Florida Gators flop around, allowing Ole Miss to stay in the game with them and inexplicably lose to the Rebels in front of their home crowd at Gainesville. This loss with the lesson of USC - Oregon State just two days prior.

With these two losses it became clearer to those who chose to look objectively that #3 Georgia vs. #8 Alabama Saturday night became a "gateway game" for Alabama's possible re-emergence onto the national scene.

And what a splash they made.

Georgia hyped the game into overdrive with their "blackout". ESPN's prime time Saturday night slot assured eyeballs to screen across the nation. If there's a dark side to any of this for this writer, it's that 40+ yr Georgia radio play-by-play man Larry Munson's first game to witness after retirement had to be this near-total emasculation by the Nick Saban coached Tide.

My God Almighty!

And Richt's "blackout" gimmick has only served to further burn the image of the no-nonsense strategy of Nick Saban on the national consciousness. If Saban had any tricks up his sleeve, he didn't play them Saturday night. With the exception of John Parker Wilson's laser accuracy, Alabama didn't do anything different than they did in smashing Clemson. Makes one wonder if Saban didn't sandbag Wilson. He never looked better.

In 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman marched through Georgia with his infamous scorched-earth campaign. Yet he left Atlanta with enough of a base to rebuild and didn't touch Savannah.

Nick Saban marched to Atlanta and dismantled #9 Clemson and with their loss to unranked Maryland Saturday, it's clear they haven't recovered. Tommy Bowden may finally be on his way out there. To make sure the job was done, Saban marched his Crimson troops back into enemy territory and under the cover of darkness (some call it blackout) sprung a surprise attack on Athens and left it in rubble.

And the devastation is complete. From Rome to Albany, there can now be no doubt. As the dust clears, it's obvious the state of Georgia is a college football smoking ruin.

But let's be clear about one thing. Last night was game five of a long regular season road. Nick Saban now faces the unenviable task of getting this extremely young team's feet back on the ground in time to face undefeated Kentucky in Tuscaloosa.

How tough can that be? Just ask Urban Meyer.

But for this day, the sun has a special warmth on this dog's ass.


(Update: In the intro to ESPN'S "Sports Reporters", Mitch (Ears) Albom said that "compared to the 700 billion dollar government bailout of Wall Street, the 32 million Alabama paid Nick Saban now looks like a bargain".


Don't be fooled by these carpetbaggers, friends. They now love us only for our ratings and ad money. They'll be the first to shovel dirt on us when the rainy days inevitably come. The road from raving introductions to parting shots is traveled in a "New York minute". RTR!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Listening To Eli..........

As i flip between the Auburn - MSU game and Ohio State v. So. California, I'm listening to 'Bama drum Western Kentucky.

Since Kenny Stabler decided to take a year off of his broadcast duties to fight his latest DUI charge, Tom Roberts and a rotating sub have been doing the color. Last week Roger Schultz did OK.

This week they have Prince Wembley in the booth. He's awful. Wembley combined with Roberts are actually making Eli sound good.

Still, Eli's mis-calls an Alabama touchdown. Here's a tip Eli: if you're unsure of the play, wait for the official's signal.

In another blunder, he refers to freshman running back Mark Ingram during a running play as "Riddle", as in former Alabama running back Dennis Riddle.

(Update: Immediately after the Riddle mistake, Eli tryed to play it off on Wembley being in the booth, retro-ing back to Prince's playing days. Uh, Eli, By the time Dennis Riddle played, Wembley was long gone)

Then Eli's hawking products during the game. Tonite he runs through the menu at Wings. Roberts chimes in and asks about dessert!


To start the second half, Eli breathlessly proclaims that because 'Bama scored 31 points in the first half, all attendees to the game can present their ticket stubs at their nearest Advance Auto for a free gallon of windshield washer fluid. Long lines at the gas stations and the parts stores tomorrow!

Well, last week the football team took the night off. This week it's the broadcast team. While Barry Krauss is interviewing a long-winded Jerry Pate, the listeners miss two plays. Eli finally cuts in and when he goes back to Krauss and Pate later, they've taken a powder.

Somebody told me last week Alabama fans were "lucky" to have Eli Gold. That's going to require a little more explanation.

Oh, yeah. 'Bama wins big.

SEC Football Observations - 09/13/08

The Undercard: Alabama - Birmingham v. Tennessee.

SEC snitch Phil Fulmer needs a quarterback and in a hurry. Because judging by the booing in Knoxville today, there's a huge target now painted on his ample backside.
If UAB had a bigger player on the field today than UT running back Arian Foster, I didn't see him. But in a rare inspiring effort by a Neil Callaway coached team, the Blazers scored a moral victory today in losing to the Vols 35 - 3.

Speaking of paint, those Blazer green streaks on those white UT helmets clashed with the pumpkin orange power T. Translation: UAB was doing some hittin' out there.

The Main Event: Georgia v. South Carolina.

Is it really Georgia Bulldog football if Larry Munson isn't calling the game?

If you don't like watching Steve Spurrier, you just don't like good college football coaching. The guy's a genius.

The first quarter is typically marred by horrible officiating. The on-the-field play clock is malfunctioning and the officials are calling penalties they're having to pick up. Twice in the first quarter they announce to the audience time is being kept on the field. Ticky tack calls. Thank God for the instant replay.

Richt's horses, Stafford and Moreno, need better blocking.

Spurrier's developing a QB in Chris Smelley.

Carolina, driving in for a score, fumbles into the endzone, Georgia recovers. Georgia's running backs likely the difference in the game. (The Dogs have them, the Cocks don't)

It's late in the fourth quarter, Smelley's ripping up the UGA defense. (Alabama fans must hope someone on their staff is watching USC's tight end rip the Dog defense)

Spurrier's getting too cute, subbing quarterbacks.

Spurrier got too cute. Subbed in freshman receiver and ran the pass play to him. He ran the wrong route on fourth down. Ball game.

Not so fast my friend! Georgia's three and out. Spurrier's got the ball back. (no timeouts)

USC drives down, Smelley throws into double coverage, intercepted. Dogs escape, 14 - 7.

The Afterbirth: Auburn v. Mississippi State.

After one quarter, it's a punting contest. Advantage: Sylvester Croom and the Dogs. Auburn needs to work out the new offense and score. State wants to muck it up and wait for an Auburn miscue.

The kickers are getting a workout in this one. Auburn receives a Dog (literally) punt on it's own 40, drives the short field, stalls, kicks a field goal. Auburn three - State zip.

Auburn misses a field goal right before the half, Croom sits on ball to go into the half down by three.

It's an ugly, defensive game that favors MSU. While Croom can't be happy with his quarterback's play, he has to feel good about his position at the moment.

Third quarter. MSU misses an important field goal that would have tied the game. Chip shot at that.

Brad Lester is hurt in what looks like a neck injury. Let's pray he's OK.

Auburn looked as if it was inspired by the injury to Lester, aided by a penalty, drives down to the MSU 2, then is stood up by the Dogs.

Auburn misses another field goal attempt. That is gonna come back and bite them.

It's the fourth quarter. State punts. Auburn gets the ball on it's own fourty something and thanks to a couple of holding calls again stalls and has to punt. LSU's coming to town soon. If Auburn doesn't figure out a way to score soon, that top ten ranking isn't the only thing they're gonna lose.

It's getting uglier for Auburn. backed up inside their own five yard line, Auburn offensive lineman Ryan Pugh tackles a State defender in their own endzone. Safety. It's now 3 - 2 Auburn and they have to kick to the Dogs from their own twenty.

Croom screws the pooch. Misses a fourth down and short.

Tuberville gets a sideline penalty.

Auburn fumbles. Dogs recover.

ESPN is now recounting past AU - MSU baseball scores.

Croom screws pooch AGAIN! Fourth and long in his own territory and goes for it. Of course they didn't get it. Auburn takes over in supreme field position.

Auburn fumbles AGAIN! State recovers. Review in process.

MSU ball. Then they promptly throw an interception. IT'S under review.

Auburn ball.

Auburn runs out the clock and in a comedy of errors, Auburn wins. But did they really? That number 9 ranking is in the toilet. And LSU's around the corner.

And it can't go unsaid Sylvester Croom's piss poor calls at the end of this game. One could make the argument Croom gave that game away.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Well Hello Dolly

The 2008 version of Nick Saban's Alabama football program made a memorable first impression by clobbering the #9 ranked Clemson Tigers before a nationally televised audience at the Georgia Dome.

Before and during the contest Alabama was billed to be a "middle of the road" SEC team facing the cream of the Atlantic Coast Conference crop in Clemson.

From this perch, Alabama may be a bit better than a middle of the road SEC team. To say Nick Saban's vaunted #1 ranked recruiting class made a significant contribution to this eye-opening win would be the mother-of-all understatements.

Mark Ingram proved he's worthy of Johnny Musso's #22.

Terrence Cody pushed the interior of Clemson's offensive line all night.

Julio Jones started and looked more-than worthy of a starting spot.

The ACC as a conference looked bad Saturday. From Virginia being blown out at home by a USC team that has had significant injuries to this point and traveled across the country to play to the pre-season pick to win the conference having their heads handed to them by Alabama, it was not a good day to be in the ACC.

There are many voices shouting from the hinterlands today proclaiming Clemson's once again over-rated. As Lee Corso, sporting his Clemson Tiger head, would say, "Not so fast, my friend!"

This Clemson team reminded me of the Miami team that Alabama faced in the Sugar Bowl in 1992. (that is in NO WAY meant to make that old, tired comparison of this year's Alabama defense to that Bill Oliver coached championship defense of 1992) Clemson '08 and Miami '92 had Alabama's offense pound them with the running game. Clemson's defense had as little an idea of who Mark Ingram was as Miami '92's defense did Derrick Lassic. Both had a significant conversion leaving their respective domes.

I don't think there can be any question that Tommy Bowden choked on this game. His deer-in-the-headlights sideline look confirmed to me he tightened up with what I still believe to be a very talented football team. It was very similar to the Johnny Majors coached Tennessee teams that many years faced Alabama with superior squads but inexplicably walked away losers while 'Bama puffed the stogies. In the end Majors was knifed in the back by Phil Fulmer backers due to those choke jobs.

As Nick Saban said afterwards, this is just one game. When we're battling vastly superior competition on the road in conference play, this game will be long forgotten.

We'll now sneak up on no one with our vaunted freshmen.

Those same freshmen will make mistakes that will likely cost us games down the road.

But for today, John Mark Stallings sits at Bryant's right hand and he laughs, claps and queries the Bear on whether the Tulane game will be angel-per-view.