Thursday, October 13, 2016

Us vs Y’all: The Third Saturday in October

imageHere we go again. This time, the calendar is right.

Alabama plays Tennessee at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, 15 October 2016.

This is absolutely one of the most intense and storied rivalries in SEC and college football history. For many Alabama fans, Tennessee is the most despised rival, even over that thing we have on the last regular season game of every year. For many Tennessee fans, this rivalry’s intensity exceeds the one they have with Florida.

On the field, Tennessee has beaten Alabama 37 times. No other team on the planet can claim 37 victories against Alabama. Tennessee has 13 SEC Championships. No other school in the league is as close to Alabama’s 24.

Beginning in 1995 with Peyton Manning as a sophomore in Knoxville, Tennessee ran off a streak of seven straight victories. No team in the SEC has ever beaten Alabama seven straight times and it may not ever happen again. Tennessee rightfully claims six National Championships. No other team in the SEC is as close as Alabama’s 15.

These are the two marquee programs of SEC Football lore. These are the two flagships. Florida may have more fans and more TV viewers. Georgia, too. But no two programs have done more on the field than Alabama and Tennessee. Nobody. No two programs can claim head coaching legends like Paul W. Bryant and General Robert Neyland. It’s 11 decades of college football at it’s finest and most intense.

One of my earliest football memories was listening to the 1972 game on the patio with my father. Bama was down 10-3 late in the fourth quarter due to a very stout Tennessee defense. But the Tide somehow managed to score two touchdowns in under two minutes and pulled out a 17-10 victory. Bama play-by-play announcer John Forney was nearly unintelligible as the final seconds ran off the clock, but my father’s grin, as he pulled out the Victory Cigar, was all I needed to be told—beating Tennessee is huge.

It’s the Third Saturday in October and this year the calendar is right.

It’s Us vs Y’all.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I can no longer support Donald Trump for President.

I must now find someone else to vote for.

Many of you know me. Many of you also know that I am the father of four girls, and live in a family of 237 females (not that many but sometimes, it seems like it). 

Locker room talk? Yeah. Been there. Done that. But never like this. I consider this violence. A lady’s dignity, to me, is always sacred.

I have never; nor would I ever, ever, engage in acts of abject aggressiveness. I don’t care how hot she is, or how hot she is for me. It’s just not done by a gentleman. That’s not how I was raised.

And therefore, though I despise the idea of even speaking the words “President Hillary Clinton,” I can no longer support, nor will I vote for, Donald J. Trump for President.

The Republican Party needs to move immediately to remove Trump as the nominee for President, and replace him with Mike Pence, a fiscal and constitutional conservative we of all good sense and conscience should support.

I have told a lot of folks that we had a choice between an unpredictable clown (Trump) and a known crook (Clinton) and that I was going with the clown. We’re going to hell in a handbasket either way; why not enjoy the ride?

When you treat women like this? Ride’s over, dude.

Monday, September 26, 2016

“Head Roll Bowl” Loser Les Miles Loses Head

Image result for les milesHe’s out.

Les Miles is now the former head coach of the Louisiana State University Bengal Tigers, and everyone saw it coming.

I can’t take credit for the term “Head Roll Bowl,” as a few of my Twitter, Facebook and TideFans pals coined it first.

But, oh my… was it prophetic.

I watched every single play of last Saturday night’s matchup between two of the four contenders for SEC West runners-up. I was both legitimately bored and completely amazed.

We knew both teams had stout defenses. We knew also that neither team had a go-to-guy at quarterback, a position which is becoming increasingly more important in SEC football. We also, also knew that LSU has college football’s best tailback in Leonard Fournette. We also, also, also knew that Auburn would sell out to stop him.

The outcome of the game—and the outcome of either coach’s career at his respective university—came down to one play. And that play would be the offensive penalty LSU committed before the highly controversial and much discussed play in which Danny Etling (1) finally saw an open receiver and (2) finally completed a pass to him.

It is often said that if the outcome of a game comes down to one play, then it’s your own damned fault for letting the game come down to that crucial play.

Had there been four, three or two seconds left at the end of regulation, we might be talking about why Gus Malzahn was fired and how Les Miles saved his job. The pass was made. The feet were down. It was a game winning score.

But it didn’t count, and now Les Miles is looking for something else to do.

Exit Questions: Why fire Miles now? Why let coach Ed “yaw-yaw” Orgeron take over as interim coach with the real meat of the SEC schedule remaining? 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Whose head rolls first: Malzahn or Miles?

Image resultI know this has nothing to do with Alabama football or politics, but I have to share this.

I had a very brief, yet very interesting conversation with two of my closest colleagues. One is a dyed-in-the-wool Aubie. The other is Deep Purple and Gold. I love’em both, they’re both good guys and damned good engineers. 

May God bless’em.

These two guys went at it like two brothers on different sides of the Mason-Dixon line in 1861. All I could do, and all I wished to do, was sit, listen, watch, and smile (evilly… I confess).

Among TideFans, We call that Schadenfreude. For those wer nicht Deutsch sprechen, that means taking pleasure from the pain of others, usually adversaries.

At 5:00-ish Saturday, the two teams collide at Jordan-Hare Stadium in what could be a pivotal game for both programs, neither of which is getting it done well enough for their respective fanbases. I know it’s anecdotal, but evidence is evidence.

imageLSU sits at 2-1, with an away loss to a decent, but beatable Wisconsin team. They’ve beaten Jacksonville State (Who?) and Mississippi State, and neither of those wins convinced Tiger fans about their team’s viability to win a title.

Auburn sits at 1-2, with their only win coming against Gus Malzahn’s old team, the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The only two teams considered quality opponents were Clemson in the season opener and Texas A&M. Clemson was the runner-up in last year’s National Championship game, but Texas A&M is still building and is considered so-so in the SEC West race. Auburn lost both and hasn’t won an SEC home game in two calendar years.

Two. Calendar. Years.

Either Auburn or LSU will come away with a loss Saturday night. Auburn has a surprisingly stout defense. LSU has one of the best running games in the conference. But neither team has a go-to guy at quarterback.

Both coaches have seats that can be generously described as “quite warm.” The loser Saturday night probably gets the heat turned up.

A lot.

So who do you think has his head on the chopping block? Does Malzie with another conference home loss? Does Miles with a close but competitive loss, albeit on the road?

We’ll See Saturday night. And one of my two freinds might not sleep well that night.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Remember when I said @realDonaldTrump wouldn’t fight “fair?”

That’s “fair” as described by the mainstream media and Democrats (I know… I repeat myself). In their minds, the Trump campaign was supposed to go on vacation while the Democrats held their convention in Philadelphia. That’s kind of accepted as the way things are just done. The Democrats observed media silence during the GOP convention last week, right? Of course they didn’t, but no one in the media paid any attention to that breach of protocol and instead gleefully ran every statement by the Clintonistas.

Along comes The Donald, who took the uncouth, unorthodox and totally unfair (snicker) step of holding a press conference right smack dab in the middle of the Democrats Philly lovefest, grabbing media attention and dimming the spotlight on the other side.

And to the media and Democrats (again repeating myself), abject horror, Trump sarcastically joked that if those responsible for hacking the DNC’s email server also gained access to Hillary Clinton’s homebrew email server, they should release the 33,000 messages she deleted while under subpoena.

“How dare Donald Trump hold a press conference and talk about Hillary’s email scandal?!? Totally unfair!”

I said back in May that Trump wasn’t going to fight fair; that he’s not going to run a campaign that fits within the boundaries understood by the old guard.

I also noted that not fighting fair is an American tradition that goes back to the Revolution. When you’re not in a fair fight, it’s in American DNA to not fight fair. It’s in Donald Trump’s DNA, and he’s demonstrating that by breaking not one but two rules that the media expected him to play by.

When Hillary gives her droning acceptance speech tonight, she’ll be figuratively glancing over her shoulder, wondering what Trump has next for her. As a betting man, I’m laying odds that his next move will be a shock-the-media doozy that also breaks a rule or two.