Thursday, October 18, 2018

Poor Jeremy Pruitt: Vols have the want to, but don’t have the can do

Image result for saban cigarExpect Tennessee fans to be fired up when Alabama pays a visit to Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon. Expect that moment of optimism to last until CBS’ first commercial break. The Vols have absolutely no chance of scoring another upset and claiming a win against the Tide.

There’s a bit of a creepy backstory to this year’s game. Phil Fulmer dragged himself out of retirement last summer as a “special assistant to the university President and immediately began his characteristic manipulations of the power structure. Surprising no one, he seized control of the UT Athletic Department last December. Reports have him literally breathing down Pruitt’s neck. He no doubt has had this date circled since seizing control of the  Alabama’s re-ascendance to the top of the College Football pantheon was an eventuality that Fulmer desperately sought to head off through his direct involvement with the Albert Means recruiting scandal in 2000.

It bears noting that Jeremy Pruitt is an Alabama grad. He played for Bama in 1995 and 1996, and learned the defensive side of the ball from legendary defensive coach Bill Oliver. He is also a disciple of Nick Saban’s 3-4 Over/Under defense, having coached under Saban off and on since 2010. He is widely regarded as one of the best defensive minds in college football and, if Fulmer will just gtf out of his way, he could reestablish Tennessee as an SEC and national powerhouse.

Enough backstory.

The Alabama offense leads the nation in almost every noteworthy category, and even at half-speed Tua Tagavailoa is too much for an already thin Tennessee defense that will come in shorthanded due to an injury and a forced suspension.

Expect Alabama to get back into the 50-point neighborhood.

Tennessee has a good quarterback itself in Jarrett Guarantano, and he has a group of receivers who could play for Bama on any given Saturday. What they lack are legitimate every down ball carriers and an offensive line for the kind of offense Jeremy Pruitt wants to run. Tennessee won’t run the ball well against Bama and a one dimensional offense spells a long afternoon against a big, deep and physical Tide defense.

Tennessee also has a decent defense, though it’s not built yet for a thoroughbred 3-4 O/U. They are too thin, undersized and still have a lot of learning to do. I expect the Vols to cede ground and stick to mostly nickel and dime zones to keep Tua from hitting deep balls. The hope is that they get a turnover or two, keep the crowd in the game and hope Alabama makes road mistakes.

So how did Tennessee go down to Auburn and spank the boogs? There is a strong sense that Pruitt quickly deciphered Auburn’s playbooks on both sides of the ball, and called the plays before Auburn even lined up. Attaboy, Jeremy. 

If there’s one weakness on the Alabama side, it’s… special teams. We suck at punting, field goals and extra points, and that’s probably not gonna get better anytime soon. While it could make a difference in post-season play, it can only be an annoyance this Third Saturday in October.

This is CBS’ Game of the Week, meaning that a national audience will get to see a systematic dismemberment of a young, thin and growing Tennessee squad. Alabama could name its score here, but Master Saban won’t thoroughly embarrass his promising Padawan.

Alabama 56, Tennessee 6

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Democrat anger grows as Honduran refugees’ march takes too long to reach U.S.

imageA fresh new wave of Central American immigrants has just crossed the Guatemalan border on their way to seek asylum in the United States. The development comes as Democrat officials express anger and frustration at the slow pace of the caravan.

“They started their journey too late, and they’re taking too long,” said one Democrat National Committee Member who asked not to be named. “The midterm election is only three weeks away, and they still have about 1,000 miles to go.”

“We’re going to have a hard time getting them all to the right checkpoints,” said another unnamed Democrat communications strategist.  “Certain checkpoints are better than others because they have better camera angles and create the best optics for the last advertisements we intend to run just before November 6.“

Democrats are watching summer poll leads evaporate after they overplayed their hand in dragging out the Brent Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process. They believe images of refugee women and children crying will tug at enough American heartstrings to give them the election boost needed to take control of the House of Representatives and Senate.

“We actually gave the caravan organizers more than enough time to get their people moving soon enough to get here in time for the refugees to vote in Texas and Arizona, but those lazy sots waited weeks to get on the road and get here by Halloween. This was a big, expensive effort to sway the election,” said the DNC member.

“This refugee delay probably cost us the Senate,” said the strategist. “And it could cost us the House too, if they don’t get a move on.”

Republicans declined comment on the record when asked about their opponents’ plan to use the refugees as campaign material. “We have no words,” said a White House officials.

Not only is Doug Jones a party hack, he’s not a very smart one

DougJonesLast week, the Junior Senator from Alabama appeared on Alabama Public Television and figuratively wagged his finger at Alabama voters. He was again asked about his vote in the Democrats’ Brent Kavanaugh debacle and doubled down on his “I know better than you” defense of his “no” vote.

“We were looking at it to determine his record, what he’s said, what he’s done, what we believe he could do, look at his qualifications, as well as his temperament and other issues to determine whether or not this man should be on the United States Supreme Court.”

In other words: “We don’t GAF what Alabamians think. We know what’s best for the Court and we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do.”

If current trends hold, Republicans stand a good chance of holding control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, putting Jones’ grip on his own seat at risk. A Republicans Senate majority will continue to pass more of President Donald Trump’s agenda. Jones must run for reelection after being all but forced by Democrat leadership to dig in against the GOP agenda. The Kavanaugh vote was his biggest opportunity to keep his pledge to put country before party, and he punted.

Former President Bill Clinton was a Democrat that knew how to play ball. He was a gifted politician who embraced the triangulation strategy, which calls for adopting the parts of both political parties agenda that appealed to the most voters. He knew he could count on his base for support. All he had to do was peel off enough center-right independents to remain in office on election day.

Jones isn’t half the politician Clinton was.

Had he a lick of sense, Jones would have sensed the will of his electorate and voted to confirm Kavanaugh. That could have put him at odds with his base, but the effect would have been negated in part by the votes of Maine’s Susan Collins and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. Manchin is a Democrat, and smartly saw the public’s view in his home state. Collins is a pro-choice Republican but who saw that Kavanaugh was well qualified even if she differed from him ideologically. He could very easily have defended his vote by explaining that while he had unanswered questions about the nominee he was willing to listen to the voice of his constituency. He could even argue that his vote really didn’t matter since Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed anyway. Either or both arguments could have given him enough cover to triangulate. All he had to do was agree with liberals that Kavanaugh was too conservative for the Kennedy seat but argue that Alabama wants him seated and the voters’ voices count more than a party diktat.

But he’s not that smart.

Jones hopes that Alabama voters will forget his finger-wagging over the Kavanaugh confirmation.  That’s not smart, either.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Drudge: Trolling Democrats since 1995

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Actually, the headline is not fair. Matt and Charles have been trolling everyone since 1995. Democrats are just much easier.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tennessee Week: Us vs Y’all

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

Alabama plays Tennessee at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, 20 October 2018.

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 25.

Beginning in 1995 with Peyton Manning as a sophomore leading the band in that absolutely awful Rocky Top song in Knoxville, Tennessee ran off a streak of seven straight victories in the series. 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 16.

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.

Neyland said: “You never know what a football player is made of until he plays against Alabama.”

Bryant said: “Yeah, Auburn’s got a pretty good team but Tennessee is the one you gotta look out for.”

It’s 11 decades of college football at its finest and most intense.

Early in the series and up until the advent of televised football games, both teams wore their home colors. Tennessee in their bright Orange; Alabama in their deep Crimson. What better symbol of Autumn could there be than seeing these two line up against each other like that?

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 special.

It’s the Third Saturday in October.

It’s Us vs Y’all.