Kevin Scarbinsky started off really well in his column in the Birmingham News today. No, honestly Kevin… You really did. It’s a great half of a piece that touts the state’s two-year run in outstanding college football and rubs Texas, Florida and California’s nose in the fact that, despite those other state’s massive population, economic educational and political advantages, the State of Alabama has become the top dog in the state of college football. He notes that, in the history of the sport, no state has ever had two different programs from within its borders win back-to-back national championships and back to back Heisman Trophy winners.
But Kev, ya go straight down the slippery slope from there.
This should be the greatest time ever to be a football fan in the state of Alabama. So why do so many fans want to make the worst of it?
It's not everyone, but you know who you are. If you're not posting fantasy conspiracy theories on message boards, you're whining and crying and embarrassing yourselves on talk radio.
It's a vocal minority of Alabama fans and Auburn fans. At least, I hope it's a minority.
Bill Curry had the perfect name for you: Fellowship of the Miserable. Instead of respecting and appreciating what the other side has accomplished, some of you act like your rival just stole your mascot.
It's past time to lighten up, smell the roses and enjoy the warmth of the desert.
Alabama and Auburn have given us one memorable season after another, highlighted by two straight epic Iron Bowl comebacks. All of us who live in this state and care about this sport should be in a state of bliss.
If you're too full of bitterness and resentment to enjoy it, you could always move to Georgia and cheer for the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets. I hear Memphis and Shreveport are lovely this time of year.
I should note that back in August, I predicted that Auburn would be a major player in the SEC. Most Alabama fans watched in respect and anticipation as Auburn rolled through its schedule undefeated, sensing a Clash of SEC Titans in the 2010 Iron Bowl. That respect turned to shock, then horror, and finally disgust from November 4, when ESPN first broke the story that Cam Newton’s father was shopping him in a pay for play scheme; through December 1, when the NCAA incredibly declared Newton eligible on what amounts to a loophole.
After watching Alabama lose to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, most Alabama fans would have grudgingly but honestly supported Auburn against South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game, and eventually against Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale next month.
That is, if there wasn’t an overwhelming sense that someone has cheated and gotten away with it.
Contrary to Scarbinsky’s belief, this overwhelming sense isn’t limited to Alabama fans. It’s common to pretty much everyone without allegiance to the Loneliest Village on the Plains. It’s the national media. It’s four major conference commissioners. It’s almost every college football fan outside of the 334 area code.
But Scarbinsky’s column brings up an interesting oddity. It’s an embarrassment too—one that directly contradicts the column’s opening sentiment that Alabama is somehow better than the big boys in the big states. Here’s the deal, sports fans:
ESPN, the New York Times, Yahoo! Sports and other big boy news outlets kicked your ass in uncovering a story that you should have known, could have known or would have known about if you were doing your damned jobs. If you were being journalists instead of tisk-tisking at the silly fanatical followers of the two schools, you’d have had this story and be winning awards.
Instead, you copped an attitude and you got scooped, big time.
Worse still, instead of mobilizing some of your resources to get in front of the story, the entire media cartel represented by al.com has circled the wagons, with chump piece after chump piece from beat writers, columnists and editors giving a pass to a player with a checkered academic and legal record the benefit of the doubt. They’ve also given a pass to the player’s father, who also has a history of being a bit less than candid about the alleged pay for play scheme. “There’s no evidence” is now the same as “I believe thieves, cheats and proven liars.”
It’s as astonishing as it is embarrassing.
My questions to Scarbinsky and the rest of the cartel members at al.com: “When did you stop becoming journalists and start becoming cheerleaders?” And, “Any chance of you guys going back to finding sources and reporting facts?”
Answer at your convenience, ladies and gentlemen.
Meanwhile, my part-time hobbyist blog has more credibility than you do.