Monday, December 31, 2018

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray: “They didn’t stop us…”


This is galling, but completely expected. It’s what almost every high-flying offense has said after a loss to Alabama since Nick Saban stepped onto the Bama sidelines in September 2007.

"We're not really satisfied. This isn't satisfying. I know it's a great season, and we've got a lot to be proud about, but coming up short wasn't the goal."

Afterward, coach Lincoln Riley said the Sooners played "their worst ball" in the beginning of the game, and Murray said Alabama "didn't stop us."

"As you saw, they stopped us the first quarter, we stopped ourselves, but hats off to them," Murray said. "They're a good team. They've got a great defense. But second half, we picked up the tempo. They got tired, and at that point, we kind of ..."

“… got pulled down, knocked down, tackled for a loss and blown up by Quinnen, Anfernee and Raekwon.”

Alabama didn’t get tired. They just did what they’d done for 12 out of the 13 games they’d already played. Saban & Associates started subbing in the backups in the 3rd quarter, knowing full well that if the Sooners got within sniffing distance of coming back the starters would return rested and ready for a 4th quarter smackdown. When Alabama needed to score, they did. When Oklahoma needed to score, they got pulled down with one hand tied behind Anfernee Jennings’ back.

Also, it wasn’t the Alabama defense that got tired. It was Oklahoma’s. I will admit that I underestimated the Tide defense’s stamina and overestimated the Sooner offense. As it turned out, Oklahoma had essentially a one-horse offense. That one horse is a very gifted QB with uncanny talents, but those other 10 guys might not even start for Georgia, the only other team with a QB as scary as Murray.

Unlike Oklahoma, Georgia almost beat Bama. Twice.

Coach Saban did the honorable thing and called off the dogs at the end of the game. It was clear that on the Tide’s last possession, Sooner defenders had neither the desire nor the ability to tackle Oklahoma-native Josh Jacobs anymore. They were sick of him, and sick of Bama’s ability to run a multidimensional offense.

It also bears noting that Oklahoma has also become a very undisciplined football program. Under Bob Stoops, the Sooners averaged only about 4 flags per game. Under his replacement Lincoln Riley, they’re averaging about 7 flags per game. We all remember the complete lack of discipline displayed by last year’s Heisman Trophy winner (and playoff loser) Baker Mayfield.

I have always admired Oklahoma’s football program. They’ve had some awesome teams, great players, great coaches and a case full of National Championship trophies. Their fans are gracious visitors and hospitable hosts since forever. Oklahoma has been a class act until now. I hope their team gets their class back. What we saw last Saturday night was ugly,  and the Almighty notices stuff like that.

Post script addendum: Remember this post? All that needs to be said is this: In the only opportunity to have the Heisman Trophy winner face the Heisman Trophy runner-up, the runner-up showed the voters the error of their choices. In the only game where each quarterback had to face the other quarterback’s team, the one voted as Most Outstanding came up wanting. Poetic justice, indeed.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bama has its hands full with Oklahoma


Most of the media expect a Saturday night shootout when Bama takes the field against the 12-1 Oklahoma Sooners. Most Bama fans think it will be just another step on the path to glory. For once in forever, I think the media has it right.

Sooner QB Kyler Murray deserved to win the Heisman Trophy. So did the Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa but only one player can win it at a time and Tua did appear to be a mere human in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia. Murray’s stats are better than Tua’s and yes, part of that fact is because Kyler played more snaps in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Tua was usually watching Jalen Hurts inflict his own brand of pain in the second half. Murray has  more attempts, more completions, more yards per completion and more TD’s. But he also has more sacks and more INT’s—more on that in a moment or three.

Bama fans need to accept that a healthy Murray is a handful, especially with the corps of speedy, athletic receivers he has. Oh, and with a tandem of talented running backs. Any of the offensive guys Coach Lincoln Riley puts on the field could start and star for Alabama. They are going to score a lot of points against the Tide and by the time the 4th quarter gets into under 10:00 to play, Bama’s D will be tired of chasing Murray and tackling Sooner playmakers.

But I don’t believe Alabama will just have to outscore Oklahoma to beat them, because while the defense may get tired it’s just as likely that this won’t be as big a deal. The Tide defense continues to get better with each game.  It practices against a high octane offense every snap, and has vanquished some not-too-shabby SEC teams en route to 13-0. Quinnen Williams is sure to be a disruptive force up front. Mack and Anfernee are terrors backing the line and Surtain has turned into a frighteningly good weapon in the secondary. There will be plays where Murray is running for his life and where Q blows up the whole Sooner OL.

And then there’s Tua, who also deserved to win the Heisman and who wouldn’t be wrong in making this game a statement to the voters who had him second. Unlike Murray, Tua won’t be facing the best defense in the SEC. He’ll be facing a DINO--defense in name only. In fact, in his game preview Tidefans’ Jess Nicholas notes that Oklahoma’s highly suspect strength of schedule is a reason to suspect whether OU’s offensive line can hold up against Q and the gang.

It’s worth noting that Oklahoma has had Bama’s number and owns the series record. Alabama is 1-3-1 in the series, with a three game losing streak and a 45-31 humiliation of a Nick Saban team after the 2013 season. Football is a funny game. Not funny hah-hah. Funny strange. Alabama can exorcise some old demons Saturday night.

I think they will, in a high scoring affair.

Alabama 52, Oklahoma 42

Thursday, December 20, 2018

More evidence of Russian collusion… with Democrats


Why the New York Times didn’t just spike this story is as curious as the fact that they still don’t seem to get this—Democrats actively sought Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections. It was also Democrats who secretly employed Russian tactics in 2017’s special election to fill the Senate seat left open when Jeff Sessions resigned to take the U.S. Attorney General post.

As Russia’s online election machinations came to light last year, a group of Democratic tech experts decided to try out similarly deceptive tactics in the fiercely contested Alabama Senate race, according to people familiar with the effort and a report on its results.

The secret project, carried out on Facebook and Twitter, was likely too small to have a significant effect on the race, in which the Democratic candidate it was designed to help, Doug Jones, edged out the Republican, Roy S. Moore. But it was a sign that American political operatives of both parties have paid close attention to the Russian methods, which some fear may come to taint elections in the United States.

The Times says that the effort was too small to have an effect on the race. It also says that “there is no evidence that Mr. Jones sanctioned or was even aware of the social media project.”

The first statement is conjecture and the second is TimesSpeak for “we didn’t bother to ask if the Jones campaign knew about the project, sanctioned it it or actively encouraged it.” Since the Times can suppose that it had no effect then we can suppose that Jones not only knew about this secret project—he embraced it with both stubby little arms.

Given that he’s behaved just like the typical Democrat party hack he has denied ever being, it’s no small stretch to conclude that he’d stoop to the “by any means necessary” tactics Democrats have employed since Newt Gingrich tipped over their punch bowl in 1994’s Glorious Revolution.

A little true history here—the infamous Steele Dossier did begin with the conservative Washington Free Beacon. But the right ceased oppo research on Trump as soon as he became the GOP nominee. It was the Democrats and the Clinton Campaign who picked up the ball and had Christopher Steele keep making stuff up. So much stuff that the Justice Department under Barack Obama then used it to get secret, sealed warrants and begin spying on the Trump campaign. Oh, but the Clinton Campaign had nothing to do with that. This topic never came up in that Bill Clinton – Loretta Lynch meeting.

Politics is a very dirty business. Neither side plays by the rules unless they have to. But one side has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to go to absolutely any length to win any battle.

This is why it’s so unusual for the Jones-Russia project to surface in the Times this week. Maybe it’s because one of the journalists involved in the whole Russian collusion circus just admitted publicly that if there is a there in there, it’s not showing up. Maybe the Times hopes its dwindling reader base will just conclude that it’s ok if everybody does it.

Monday, December 17, 2018

It’s working! Vaping among would-be teen smokers is on the rise


Vaping is freedom, but there are people very unhappy over the rise of vaping, especially among teenagers that probably would have smoked a cigarette if they didn’t have that JUUL.

Ask almost any adult smoker if he or she regrets picking up the deadly dangerous habit of smoking tobacco, and the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” Ask that same adult smoker when they started smoking and most will say that they started as a teenager or young adult.

The advent and rapid growth of electronic cigarettes promises to be one of the most important developments in promoting public health since the invention of the polio vaccine.

People who would have started smoking when I did are choosing a different path:

The latest results from the Monitoring the Future Study, released today, show a jump in vaping by teenagers similar to the one indicated by the National Youth Tobacco Survey numbers published last month. They also show that cigarette smoking by high school seniors, which hit a record low last year, continues to decline.

Since e-cigarettes are far less dangerous than the conventional, combustible kind, the relationship between these two trends is vitally important in evaluating the public health impact of the underage vaping "epidemic." Yet the head of the Food and Drug Administration says his agency, because it is obligated to reduce e-cigarette use by minors at all costs, cannot weigh the possibility that its interventions, which so far include flavor restrictions and anti-vaping propaganda, may result in more smoking-related disease and death.

In the 2018 Monitoring the Future Study, 7.6 percent of 12th-graders reported that they had smoked cigarettes during the previous month. That is the lowest rate ever recorded by the survey, which began in 1975. It is 80 percent lower than the peak rate of 38.8 percent recorded in 1976.

A recent analysis in the journal Tobacco Control, based on data from five national surveys, found that downward trends in smoking by teenagers and young adults accelerated as e-cigarette use in those groups took off. That correlation strongly suggests that young people who would otherwise be smoking are vaping instead, which represents a huge improvement in terms of health risks.

But a local news station media is treating this as bad news.  And they think it needs “combatting.”

Let’s get some facts established.

  • Smoking kills. Vaping doesn't.
  • Tobacco smoke contains at least 3,000 dangerous chemicals, including many known to cause cancer. Vaping doesn’t.
  • Smoking is addictive. Vaping isn't.
  • User controls whether and how much nicotine is added. Not so with smoking.
  • Smoking leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Vaping doesn't.
  • Smoking stinks. Vaping doesn't.
  • Smoking stains your teeth, your clothes, your car and your house. Vaping doesn't.
  • Big tobacco and big pharma want vaping banned because the more people smoke, the more money they make.
  • State and local governments want vaping banned because they can't tax it like they can tobacco.
  • Caffeine is more dangerous than nicotine, but you can buy a coke or a double espresso with no ID.

Why are people “in authority” trying to stop people from vaping? Because it costs them money, and a lot of it.

As of this post date, 17 December 2018, I am 501 days tobacco free. After including the costs of everything I’ve spent on vaping gear and supplies I have saved $4,435.63. At least 1/5th of that would have been taxes, or about $887.00.  On average, I’ve saved about $206.00 every month, which is about the same as the monthly payment for a nice, 5-7 year old used car. Or about a quarter of the rent on a decent 2 bedroom pad in west Mobile or midtown.

That $4,435.63 I’ve saved would also cover most of the down payment on a house costing around $100,000.

Many of you who know me well know that I am a small “L” libertarian. I much prefer a society where I get to make my own decisions and act in my own best interest. Quitting smoking by vaping was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I breathe better, smell, better, sleep better and spend better. I will probably live longer, too.

But there are powerful forces who would like nothing more than to take my decision away. It’s either keep smoking or quit smoking their way.  And there way costs as much (or more) than smoking. The people who make the drug Chantix and the nicotine gum hate vaping because they can’t patent my Butterscotch Caramel Cake flavored juice. Or my Peanut Butter & Chocolate, or my Strawberries n’ Cream. Or my Banana Cream Pie, or…

Both teen and adult smoking rates have been declining, but the most dramatic decline has been among teenagers.


The powers aligned against vaping don’t like this chart very much. It shows that in the roughly 10 years since e-cigs were introduced, teen smoking has declined by more than half. Adult smoking rates have also fallen, but not as drastically as it has for teens. This is money being put back in the pockets of people who know best how to spend their money.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Impeaching Donald Trump is a no-lose situation… For Republicans


Republicans would rather not see the country dragged through another impeachment process because it’s painful, messy and costly. But there is no doubt that they will come out of it on top.

First of all, let’s deal with the goose chase of a theoretical indictment. It’s in regards to hush money paid to two women alleging to have had extramarital affairs with Donald Trump before he became President. As the talking point goes, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid them from non-campaign funds at the direction of then candidate Trump. Cohen says the payments were made because they helped the campaign. Since these payments were not reported and they exceeded a statutory limit, the crime of making an illegal campaign contribution has occurred and since Trump directed it, he committed a felony.

No, he didn’t. This would only be a crime if the payments would have been made even if Trump were not running for office. Celebrities make hush money payments every day. There’s an entire cottage industry and specialty bar practice focusing on shaking down unscrupulous celebrities. It’s legalized blackmail and it’s as old as the term “celebrities.” All the Trump defense team would need to do is convince a judge that Celebrity Trump would have done the same thing Candidate Trump did. Paying off tryst trollops is unsavory, but it is not illegal.

Let’s say something else is dug up in the near future that convinces Democrats and the media that a high crime or misdemeanor has occurred. This is not altogether unlikely because Democrats hate Trump and they are unable to think clearly because of their visceral reaction to him. They are likely to find a real estate deal that somehow involves some Russian dude. With that and some egging on by the media they contrive a case where Donald and Boris conspired to do an end-around on the emoluments clause of the Constitution...

In fact, I don't just think this scenario is likely. I think it's a virtual lock. With their newfound majority in the House, the hardcore lefties will demand it. And they'll get it, or else.

Articles of Impeachment are drafted, passed by the House in a straight party-line vote. Chief Justice John Roberts convenes and presides over the Senate trial and Trump prevails because there is no two-thirds majority vote to convict and remove him from office. The voting public seethes at the partisan impeachment circus and takes its wrath out on the Democrats. Trump is easily reelected in 2020 and Republicans sweep to commanding majorities in the House and Senate.

Or, let’s say Trump and Boris actually conspire to conceal or destroy evidence of a murder. Through impeachment or resignation, Trump leaves office and Vice President Mike Pence is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

Pence is  a doctrinaire Reagan Conservative. Abortion would become a crime. Amnesty for dreamers would be a pipe dream again. Regulations would be rolled back to pre-Carter levels. Burning the flag would be a hate crime and Antifa would be classified as a terrorist organization. Markets will boom, the trains will run on time and God will rest comfortably on his throne again.

It will be like that day Frodo cast the One Ring into the crack of Mount Doom, ending the leftist threat and scattering the Democrats like Orcs in the wind.

So get busy, Nancy. Your move, Chuck. Go ahead. Make our day.

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.