Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tua Tagovailoa didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, and here’s why that’s ok.


I was as disappointed as every other Bama fan on the planet when Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray edged out Tua Tagovailoa for the highest individual honor in college football. But I’m ok with that, and here’s why.

  • He’s only a sophomore and if he stays healthy through the 2019 season, he’s a slam dunk to be back in New York City next December.
  • He’s a pure-hearted class act who will look at this the same way he sees an incompletion. Pray. Get up. Try harder.
  • There’s a lot of Bama fatigue out there. The Alabama Crimson Tide is a football program that people are tired of talking about.
  • There’s a lot of Nick Saban fatigue, too. But Nick Saban talks back and he’s not often kind to the media when he speaks to or about them. Rat poison, and all.
  • Tua will use this as motivation to play his best game on December 29, when he faces Murray in College Football Playoff the Orange Bowl.

Don’t be ticked off, y’all. All three finalists deserved the trophy and Kyler Murray was nothing short of sensational this year.

This very well could be just the impetus that the whole Alabama football team uses to crush their remaining two opponents and be the first team in the CFP era to win back-to-back championships. Just like Alabama was the first to do it in the BCS era for the 2011-2012 seasons.

Alabama still has a lot to prove, and so does Mr. Tagovailoa.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The 2018 Alabama Crimson Tide football season is a storybook still being written


I knew the Georgia Bulldogs would be a real test for Alabama. I just didn’t expect it to be an essay exam. Kirby Smart had a nearly perfect game plan for an Alabama offense led by Tua Tagovailoa. But for the second time in two years, he had no good answer for a backup QB coming in and snatching a sure win away from him. Just like the 2018 Championship Game last January, the entry of the backup signal caller completely changed the texture and flow of the game and just like last time, Alabama snatched the glory at the very end.

Give Georgia their due, because they were clearly the better team until the QB change. That’s the way it was last year. I agree with Coach Smart—Alabama would not want to have to play them again. Not this season, anyway. I still think they’re one of the four best teams in the country right now, two losses or not.

Rightly or wrongly, Smart will never live down that fateful, failed fake punt on 4th and 11. At midfield. With the game tied at 28. With 3:04 left in the to play in regulation. Jalen Hurts—who this season swallowed both pride and ego to accept the backup role in the year of the transfer QB—promptly led the team down the field. He took the ball the last 15 yards and scored the winning TD on the ground.

imageTruth be told, Georgia’s defense was gassed and probably couldn’t have stopped a fresh Jalen, the best offensive line on the SEC, three bowling balls for running backs and the best receiver corps in the country. Bama was going to score. Kirby just made it easier for Hurts to get it done.

This has been an amazing season. En route to an undefeated regular season, Alabama beat all of its opponents by 20 or more points. That has never happened in the history of a game we now recognize as “college football.” (Forget the 1888 Yale reference; it doesn’t count when you can’t throw the football).

At 13-0, Alabama is the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff. It is Alabama’s 5th appearance in the Top Four. That’s never happened before. The No. 1 seed has never gone on to win both playoff games and claim the title, either.

Alabama will face No. 4 seed Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on December 29. The last time Alabama and Oklahoma faced each other in the Orange Bowl, Coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant’s Crimson Tide shut out Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners by a score of 17-0. Alabama has not beaten Oklahoma since, going 0-3-1.

Alabama has never had a Heisman Trophy winning QB. That looks almost certain to change next Saturday, as Tagovailoa looks like a lock to claim college football’s highest individual honor. This is despite the parade of great QB’s in Alabama history. Bart Starr. Joe Namath. Kenny Stabler. Richard Todd. Jay Barker. Greg McElroy. AJ McCarron.

Alabama has won back-to-back national titles before. In fact, it’s happened four times: 1925 & 1926; 1964 & 1965. 1978 & 1979. 2011 & 2012.

The 2011-2012 teams won back-to-back titles in the BCS era, something no one had done before. If Alabama wins out by beating Oklahoma and the winner of No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame, it will claim back-to-back 2017 and 2018 national titles in the College Football Playoff era. That’s never been done before, either.

Given all of this never-been-done-before backdrop, you just can’t escape the sense that this season is extra special for a football program that is already storied and, dare we say blessed? Each of the four teams in the Playoff have won multiple titles. It’s impossible to recount the history of this game without including reverent references to Alabama, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. And hey, Clemson’s been in the Top Four now four times, losing twice to Alabama and beating them once. Their head coach is Alabama grad Dabo Swinney, who wears a national championship ring he won as part of Bama’s 1992 squad.

Alabama has lost to Notre Dame for a title and beaten them for one, too.

Oh, Oklahoma has seven titles, including back-to-back crowns in 1955 & 1956. This is storybook stuff. This is end-of-days stuff, y’all. 

Since (almost, I think) no one reading this will have to prepare for Oklahoma, we can look ahead. We don’t have to take it one game at a time. We can fully expect to see Alabama beat a very good 12-1 Oklahoma Sooners team, and then square off against either an undefeated Notre Dame in a rematch of the 2013 BCS Championship Game or another undefeated Clemson for the fourth straight time in the College Football Playoff. And as Bama fans, we expect this storybook to end with the Tide winning it all and everyone living happily ever after. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Finally, a real test for Alabama


The Alabama Crimson Tide’s 11-game streak of wins by 20 or more points could come to an end Saturday.

No team in the history of football as we know it has done this. The last time it happened (Yale, 1888), neither the forward pass nor the football helmet had been invented. The streak is in serious jeopardy, and the team that threatens to derail Alabama’s train to the title is the same one that Bama hadn’t led through four quarters of last year’s College Football Playoff championship game.

Both the Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs have seen roster changes since January 2018. The most notable change has been at QB for Alabama. Heisman shoo-in Tua Tagovailoa took over at halftime against UGA last time, but now he’s had a jaw-droppingly good season with more 20-, 30-, 40-, 50-, 60- and yes 70-yard passes than anyone else. He’s had more touchdown passes than incompletions in more games than anyone else on the planet. He reads defenses like Evelyn Wood read Dr. Seuss books and he’s as deadly running the ball as he is throwing it.

UGA has reloaded on a defense that sacked Tua last January and created the now Glorious 2nd and 26.  The strength of the Bulldog defense is the linebacking corps in Kirby Smart’s Sabanesque 3-4 over/under scheme. This defense will attempt to do the same thing LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn tried to do: get pressure on Tua, make him throw a second or so before he wants to and try to pick up a turnover here or there.

Offensively, QB Jake Fromm is a year older and better. He’s not Tua, but he has two very good running backs in Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift. These are guys that could legit start for Bama. And, he’s still got the “other Ridley,” Riley. Georgia has a fine football team that has shamed many good opponents and lost only to an LSU team that played way over its pay grade for one day.

Alabama’s defense is still getting better each week and looks like there’s still room to grow. A lot of speculation rumbles about LB Terrell Lewis returning, but even if he does play (I’ll be mildly surprised if he does), his time away from big-time college football will limit his impact. At the start of the season, the Tide defense lacked only experience. That box has been checked. Bama is at or near the top in every defensive statistic. The team is hard to run on consistently and the secondary has grown into an elite unit.

What gives Bama the edge is a solid and tested offensive line that is just a bit better than UGA’s defensive front, and a defensive front of its own that is at worst a tossup against UGA’s blocking crew.

That, and Nick Saban, who is winning his way into becoming the best college football coach ever.

As this is being posted, Alabama is about a 12 point favorite. I think this will be a good game through mid 4th quarter, with Bama icing it with a late TD.

Alabama 35, Georgia 17

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Senator Doug Jones is a typical, dishonest anti-gun Democrat


Doug Jones, the junior Senator from Alabama, is being dishonest. Again.

There are three issues that any candidate seeking or holding statewide office in Alabama must take a stand on. One is the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Two is shrinking the size and influence the federal government has on everyday American lives. Three is the preservation of the right to keep and bear arms. When Democrats are honest on these issues, they lose.

Jones recently gave an interview on Reckon Radio, in which he tried to walk back the comments he gave on the floor of the United States Senate last March. Host John Hammontree asked about his call for more gun control during the speech, Jones went full Bill Clinton and denied that he was talking about gun control at all.

“Well, let me correct you – and this is part of the problem, John, with the media and others,” Jones responded. “I didn’t make a speech about gun control. I made a speech about gun safety. There is a difference.”

We’ll get to the control vs safety issue in a moment. Here is the actual text from his speech:

"So while I know that guns and gun control are difficult issues for this country, I can tell you they're complicated for me, too. But as a United States Senator today, a member of the legislative branch of government, I have many obligations. And I believe that the first obligation of government is to protect its citizens.

“And for me, and I hope for you, when I walk the halls of the Senate office buildings, and come through those double doors onto the Senate floor, I realize that every day we as a collective body have that same opportunity. Whether it is for DREAMers, or voting rights, or victims of sex trafficking, or in this case, our children who are demanding action on gun violence, we have the opportunity to build that tidal wave of justice and have hope and history rhyme."

Soaring rhetoric which says “we’re coming after your guns.”

“Gun safety” addresses how firearms are used, transported, handled and stored. Every gun owner is encouraged by the National Rifle Association to enroll in a firearms safety course. There are scores upon scores of videos available online that a new or prospective gun owner can watch and learn how to safely handle their weapons. Gun safety is the responsibility of the gun owner, and only the worst actors aren’t awed by the power of their weapon and fail to treat it with respect.

“Gun control” is the continued and pervasive effort to redefine the Second Amendment and restrict your access to firearms.

"We could spend days in this chamber debating the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment,” Jones said in his speech.

Jones campaigned last fall claiming to be pro-Second Amendment. What he says now is that he’s for redefining it. He wants it interpreted differently.

If you’ve read this far you probably don’t need this, but:

"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

That doesn’t need much interpretation or re-interpretation.

Jones is being a typical liberal Democrat. He wasn’t honest about his position on gun control last fall. And he wasn’t honest because he knows it’s true that when Democrats are honest, they lose.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

You hate Gary Danielson because he’s your DADDY

Face the mirror and face the truth. You hate the esteemed, accomplished and popular CBS Color Analyst because he knows more about football than you ever dreamed about knowing. And you will read this blog post because you know every word of it is true.

Gary Danielson is the snide wingman at the bar with you, pointedly explaining why your hairline is the reason why the hot chick across the room isn’t interested in you. He’s the catty tagalong girl who doesn’t know when to STFU about the outfit you spent two hours putting together, wondering loud enough for everyone to know that the reason Mr. Right ain’t looking this way is because… well…

The biggest beef you have with Gary’s commentary is that he says exactly what you don’t want to hear, right when your team is sucking before your very eyes. Your Heisman Trophy Quarterback  just threw an interception and Gary says, “boy, he really missed the read on the Safety playing deep.” Your team’s defense is defending the run like the Convent of Mercy and he says, “wow… they can’t stop anyone between the the tackles today.” Your team has the ball on their 40, there’s 2:20 left in the first half and your coach won’t call one of his three timeouts and try to at least get in field goal range. Gary asks the question that’s in your own bewildered mind: “What in the world is he thinking?”

Meanwhile, your team’s opponent can do no wrong today. In fact, he says in that casual, condescending voice of his that “they’ve been doing this to your team since so-and-so stepped on the scene in 2007.”

Gary, Jedi Master of colorful annoyance doesn’t stop there, either. Right after the 3,279th commercial break in the 3rd quarter, he comes back with the Telestrator. Then,  he finds the last three plays that drove you nuts and he diagrams precisely what your team did wrong. He carefully explains what they need to do to stop sucking, and then you throw things at the television because he’s right.

Here’s another thing about Gary. If you’re an Alabama fan, you think he hates Bama. If you’re a fan of any other team, you think he loves Alabama and secretly has a man crush on Nick Saban. This facet is the grandest illustration of why Gary is the perfect color commentary dude for when your team is losing to Alabama or isn’t winning big enough yet.

I know fans that have picked up the phone to call the police and file harassment charges against Gary. I know fans that have logged onto GoFundMe to start raising money to buy out his contract. I know fans that have put a piece of paper on the television screen so they don’t have to look at his face. I even know fans that have turned down the volume on the television broadcast and turned on the homer radio broadcast so they can hear what they want to hear instead of hearing what they need to hear.

He is the greatest color commentary prick of all time and he’s trying to help you, not hurt you. It’s true. And you know it.

What you have to do now is not only accept it, but embrace it. Gary Danielson is your Daddy. Don’t hate him for it.