Officially, Kerry Murphy did not qualify. We're still waiting for word on Michael Ricks, who will become an instant starter and will end up being a star at Alabama, as long as he can stay eligible.
The feel-good-story of the day is about Chris Pugh, the walk-on wide receiver that got to dress for two games last year. Read about his story of turning down other scholarships just so he could go to the University of Alabama.
Burton Scott, a 6' 185 lb athlete from Vigor High School, committed to the Tide yesterday. If you want to see what he'll end up doing at Alabama, please see David Palmer in '92 and '93.
Antoine Caldwell told everyone last week that Coach Saban is the best thing that could have happened to this football team.
A lot of people didn't realize it, but Les 'The Hat' Miles named Matt Flynn the starter while at SEC Media Days. He doesn't normally do that. Also, apparently the Flora-Bama is back in full force this year.
Our favorite "ass hat," Josh Moon, tells us his picks for the upcoming year, including his Stone-Cold Lock-of-the-Year: neither Alabama nor Auburn will win the national championship this year. Of course he makes other picks...like how Alabama will finish 3rd in the West while Auburn will finish 1st, and that Coach Saban will be a jerk to somebody in the media at some point this season.
Cecil lets us know the secret to the early-commitments from prospects. Saban and his staff are at work, my friends.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#7: Mississippi State 24 Alabama 16Nov. 4th, 2006 in Tuscaloosa, AL
Ahh yes, we're getting close to the end of the countdown. This game will be known as the one that sealed the deal for Shula's departure from the Capstone.
People were already making fun of him. Tide fans were not happy with his indecisiveness and his inability to lead this team in crunch time. The discipline was ridiculous, the players' attitudes were a joke, and everything came crashing down on this Saturday morning.
The game started at 11:30. Students didn't show up. Season ticket holders didn't show up. The stadium was, for the most part, only about 3/4 of the way filled, which is odd for an SEC showdown that late in the season. We were 6-3 at the time with a chance at something good - win out, go 9-3, go to a good bowl game.
Instead, we had our rear ends handed to us in our own stadium.
Christiansen kicked a field goal to cap off our first drive. Yet another one that got us to the 2 yard line, but we couldn't deliver. We led 3-0, but for only a short time. State threw a 25 yard TD pass less than 3 minutes later to take the lead at 7-3. That's how the first quarter ended.
Then State drove on us again and kicked a field goal less than a minute into the 2nd quarter, making it 10-3. We were held to a 3-and-out, but Jeffrey Dukes picked off a pass and ran it back 24 yards, tying it at 10-10.
Then State drove...again...and scored another touchdown less than 3 minutes later. It honestly looked like we were going to have a ping pong match between these two teams. Their offensive line was killing our 3-3-5 defense, running the ball whenever they wanted, and Henig was picking apart our stupid-ass zone defense. They took the lead at 17-10 and kicked the ball back to us.
After a couple of possession changes, we got the ball back and started down the field. That's when the ballgame ended.
John Parker made an absolutely awful throw into the flats, and it was promptly picked off and returned 51-yards for a touchdown and a 24-10 lead.
Y'know that feeling of hopelessness? We hadn't shown that we could score on this team at all...much less come back from 14 down.
We got the ball back with just over 2 minutes left and managed to drive 75 yards downfield to the 2, thanks to a pass interference call on the Bulldogs. Wilson kept the ball and tried to force his way into the endzone to get another score, but was stopped just short of the goal. The review upheld the call.
In the 2nd half we managed a couple of field goals, making it 24-16 at the end of the 3rd quarter, but we ended up being shutout in the 4th. State ran the football on our defense like we were a high school football team. We couldn't stop a single run. And that ended the game. Talk about disgusting.
¶ 9:13 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Well, they report on Thursday, and the first fall practice is on Friday. I'll be in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, so anybody that wants to meet up, spot me an e-mail. We'll be bored most of the afternoon, I'm sure.
As if we didn't already know, the biggest question for Alabama this year will be the defensive line. Josh Cooper lets us know that some of the incoming freshman will play key roles...and that Saban will be monitoring the line closely throughout the fall.
Bobby Bowden lets us know that he's gotten a ton of ticket requests from back home...mostly from friends that are Alabama fans. Check out a preview of the Seminoles' new coaching staff here.
We've discussed this before: the idea of an early signing period. The idea alone is enough to divide SEC coaches. Read more about the suggestions here.
If you're used to showing up just a couple of hours before kickoff and paying some hungry college kid $10 to park in his front yard just about a mile from the stadium...you may need to make other plans this year. They're enforcing the ban on front-yard-parking on gamedays this year.
John Pruett details the most important rule change of this offseason: kickoffs from the 30-yard-line. This has the ability to allow a ton more returns, maybe more for touchdowns, and more time to run off the clock, making the games just a touch quicker. There should be more scoring, and that can only help a team like Alabama, who needs to score as much as possible this year, since we have such a weak front seven.
The Montgomery Advertiser detailed Antoine Caldwell's day at SEC Media Days - including his stops with ESPN and other national media, along with his time in the print room at the podium. His toughest question wasn't about football though...it was about gambling. Read more about how his day went here.
Tommy Hicks apparently was intoxicated, or just didn't do any research when he was writing his article yesterday for the Mobile Register. We'll correct a few statements: 1) August 30th is LSU at Mississippi STATE, 2) Alabama is playing Arkansas in TUSCALOOSA, not Fayetteville, and 3) the fact that there is no mention of Alabama vs Florida State being a huge game on Sept. 29th, or at least an interesting one, is just a crime after you've mentioned UT vs Cal and Va Tech at LSU.
We got some more commitments over the weekend: Tyler Love, the #1 offensive line recruit in the country, and Melvin Ray, a 4 star receiver from Florida. Both of these have hopped our recruiting ranking up quite a bit - we're #11 over at Rivals and #13 at Scout.
If you missed the Nick Saban interview on the Chris Vernon show, please check it out here. He likes the phrase "positive self-gratification." Weird.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#8: Georgia 37 Alabama 23Oct. 4th, 2003 in Athens, GA
This game was disgusting. Absolutely ridiculous.
We were man handled, and then toyed with for the rest of the game. Our offense was awful, and our defense couldn't save us.
Our best offensive player was Charles Jones who picked off 2 passes, one for a touchdown and one that setup a field goal. He contributed 10 points, and then Juwan Garth returned a muffed punt snap 10 yards for another touchdown, so he contributed 7. So our defense scored 17 points, while our offense only contributed 6.
Thomas Davis killed Brodie Croyle on just his 2nd play in the ball game.
Shula took a lot of heat for this one. Croyle was already injured...hence why he didn't start the game. After being down 30-3 in the first half, Shula decided to put him in to try and get something started...and instead ended up getting him killed on the 2nd play. Linebackers can smell blood, same as a shark, and they'll attack if they know somebody's already injured.
Either way, we were down early and got our brains beat in. There's nothing worse than knowing you're going to lose as early as the 2nd quarter.
¶ 9:25 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Before we get started on anything football related, our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Wake Forest basketball coach, Skip Prosser, who passed away suddenly yesterday of a massive heart attack. He was only 56 years old. A reader of the blog, Gary Parrish from CBS Sportsline, relives his last conversation with Coach Prosser from last week. Go check it out.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 36
Very interesting story yesterday. Last week I sent an e-mail to Doug Walker, Media Relations Director over at the UA, telling him that, while at media days, it might be a good idea to hop on the Chris Vernon show on 730 ESPN because I know Coach Saban wants to build a recruiting base in Memphis. There's not a better show to go on in the city because the football kids, and the "in" crowd listen to Verno's show.
I never got a response back.
But, I came to find out yesterday, that Chris was sitting at his station's table yesterday, eating a chicken sandwich, while his producer, Roser, was asleep up in the hotel room. Saban came down media row and only did like 3 radio interviews. Coach Saban was being interviewed by Kenny Stabler for a little bit, and, while that was going on, 2 SEC media officials came over and told Chris that Coach Saban would be over there with him in about 2 or 3 minutes.
Now, keep in mind that Chris was eating lunch and his producer was upstairs, so he didn't have anything ready because he, like everyone else, thought there was a snowball's chance in hell that Coach Saban would come over to his station. He said they hadn't even put in a request to interview him. Hahahahaha. I'm glad I could do my part, I guess. Who knows how that actually happened.
Anyway, on with the news.
The CRIMSON & WHITE ROUNDTABLE is officially up over at the Capstone Report. This week's question: The University and its football fans have a lot of negative stereotypes associated with the Crimson Tide. What are two things you wish outsiders (non-Alabama fans) knew about the Crimson Tide and its fans? Go check it out.
I'm sure you've already read everything there is to read about Coach Saban's somewhat humble appearance at SEC Media Days. If not, check out more stuff here, here, here, here, and here. He was the rockstar of the event, with his every move being followed by a good 50+ people from area to area. Photographers everywhere. Ron Higgins from the Commercial Appeal stated that Urban Meyer even said something along the lines of "It's great having Saban here...nobody cares about me now." Well said, Coach. Haha.
AP Photo: Rob Carr
Dennis Pillion's blog, over at al.com, lets us know that Saban made nice with the media, rather than acting like they're getting in his way. Because, as we all know...he doesn't have time for this shit.
Brandon Shields, from the Cullman Times, writes a commentary about when expectations and hype grow too large. He detailed the difference between Alabama's appearance at SEC Media Days, and Vanderbilt's appearance, and came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, the fact that there are no expectations makes Vanderbilt the easiest job in the SEC, rather than the most difficult.
The early season schedule will test Alabama immediately. Read more about it here.
Simeon Castille gives props to SEC quarterbacks, saying they're top notch this year. Sim's a class act. Read more here.
Josh Moon takes a few more shots at the Alabama nation, basically saying that Alabama fans are too passionate, and Auburn fans actually realize that it's just a game. I guess that's the difference between Alabama and Auburn. We care and they don't.
Cecil is apparently pretty tired of the same old "leaving Miami" and "how can you talk about integrity" questions laid out by the national media. He says that soon the focus will shift to actual football, and it can't get here a moment too soon.
CBS announced on Wednesday that they will DEFINITELY be televising at least three Alabama games: vs Georgia on Sept. 22nd, vs Tennessee on Oct. 20th, and vs LSU on Nov. 3rd. They have options on games vs Florida State on Sept. 29th, at Ole Miss on Oct. 13th, and at Auburn on Nov. 24th. I don't like the fact that the Auburn game will be an 11:30 kickoff, but I guess that's how it works when you've got so many rivalry games in one day.
The Hoover School Board announced yesterday that they would not be renewing the contract of current school principal Richard Bishop. Interesting story...
UPDATE (2:19PM CST): Coach Saban will be on with our buddy Chris Vernon today sometime in the 3pm hour and it will be replayed again in the 5pm hour. Check out 730 ESPN to listen to the live stream, and also check out Verno's Blog at cvernon.com. I guess pulling strings does actually work from time to time. ;-)
¶ 10:11 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Jimmy Sexton quoted Nick Saban in the middle of his first season as saying "I don't know if you can win here (at LSU)." He told Jimmy he had ruined his life. The rest is history. Scarbinsky goes into detail with Sexton in today's article.
Saban doesn't talk until today (actually, I'm sure he's talking right now), but his impact was felt on the first day. Quentin Groves shows how smart he is by saying “They are a great team,” Groves said. “But if they work 365 days to dominate one team, you forget that you have to play 11 other teams. If you work that hard to dominate us, you go 1-11 and hey, what is the $4 million for?"
The Dothan Eagle takes a look at some of yesterday's highlights at media days. And does anybody else find it a little bit funny that Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Kayat was the SEC representative on the BCS presidential oversight committee? I doubt we'll ever see Ole Miss in a BCS game. Haha.
Auburn answered quite a few questions yesterday about being under the radar. People don't really care about that program right now and they can't stand it. You want proof? "There was a long pause while Tuberville, who followed South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, waited for someone to ask him a question. "Spurrier wear you all out, didn't he? He could wear anybody out."
The Opelika-Auburn News previews Alabama. They seem to have quite a bit of respect for us. That's cool.
Not sure how I missed it, but Ray Melick had an article a few days ago about how much attention Nick Saban is getting at Alabama...and it's not all good for the program. " In his seven months at Alabama, Saban's name has turned up more than any other coach's in other schools' allegations of secondary NCAA rules violations, an official with knowledge of the infractions process says. That doesn't mean he's breaking more rules than anyone else - or that he's breaking any rules at all. It just shows how closely rival coaches are monitoring the Alabama staff."
Saban talked to Scarbinsky previously, and mentioned that he wants all the SEC coaches to "just get along." Turning each other in hurts the league as a whole - and that if anyone has a problem with something he's doing, they should just call him rather than the league office. Sounds like somebody that's not really afraid of anyone's accusations, if you ask me.
Simeon Castille is a Preseason Jim Thorpe Award candidate. Of course he is.
Apparently Tubbs didn't get many questions about the team that he coaches...y'know, the Barn. He got asked about anything and everything else thought. Melick thinks that SEC Media is taking Tommy for granted. I think people just don't really care.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#9: Tennessee 51 Alabama 43Oct. 25th, 2003 in Tuscaloosa, AL
If you've watched CSS at all this summer, then you've seen the replay of this game...at least twice. They show it 2 times a week.
And it's a great game to watch...if you don't really care, or if you're a UT fan. To us Bama fans, it's a reminder that we had a coach and a team that didn't know what it took to win. It's a painful thing to watch. The deer-in-headlights looks all over again.
Alabama started off the scoring in the first quarter with a Brian Bostick 33 yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Tennessee scored first in the 2nd, making it 3-3. Then we took the ball down the field and made it 6-3 on a 48 yard Bostick field goal. That's how the half ended.
In the 2nd half, Tennessee opened the 3rd quarter with a 25 yard run by Banks to make it 10-6. We didn't do anything on offense and they marched down the field again and capped off a scoring drive with a 38 yard field goal by James Wilhoit. 13-6 UT.
We ended the 3rd quarter scoring with a 36 yard touchdown pass to Triandos Luke to make it 13-13 going into the 4th. The 4th quarter was pretty much a stalemate until midway through the 4th, when we marched the ball down the field and Ray Hudson ran it in from 2 yards to give us a 20-13 lead with 4:47 remaining.
But Tennessee answered. And it ripped my heart out. They drove all the way down the field and Clausen threw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Troy Fleming to tie the game at 20-20 with :25 left.
Alabama, of course, toyed with my emotions. Tyrone Prothro returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards, and a facemask call moved the ball to the Tennessee 32 yard line. After a couple of plays, Bostick's 45-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked, sending the game into overtime.
The 2nd overtime is, of course, where we lost the game. After scoring and making it 34-27, our defense forced Tennessee into a 4th-and-19 from the 34 yard line. Our defense, like idiots played zone and watched as Clausen lofted a pass over the middle to CJ Leak at the 10 yard line for a first down. They went on to score a touchdown, and eventually, after 5 overtimes, held off our offense for a 51-43 win in Bryant Denny Stadium.
Wanna see my band, Prosevere, in action? Check this out.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 38
Well, I thought I had it perfectly planned. One of my buddies and I are going to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, August 4th. We're gonna eat Dreamland as soon as we get there, and then eat at Wings that night. We were hoping we might have planned it around the time they would do fan day.
Then, the Tuscaloosa News reports today that they've schedule Fan Day for 4:30pm on Sunday, August 5th. That should be all fine and dandy...
But that's when my better half has my daughter's 2nd birthday party scheduled. Talk about crappy timing. I'm learning though...I need to just forget that Fan Day is even happening. Maybe send my cousins with my white Alabama football for everyone to sign for me. Oh well.
Speaking of that, I will be making my regular journey to Tuscaloosa next weekend (yes, August 4th) so if anyone has any idea of what could be something different to do, let me know. My friend Matt has never been to the Bryant Museum, so I figure we'll knock that out after we eat Dreamland. We're leaving after we eat at Wings that night, so we won't have long. Just a short trip to the promised land.
SEC Media Days gets under way today. Wednesday's lineup includes Arkansas and South Carolina at noon, and Auburn and Kentucky at 2pm. Our friend Chris Vernon is down there covering it for 730ESPN, so I'm sure that we'll have a little coverage on our site as well. Check back this afternoon, just incase I've gotten some interesting tidbits of info.
LSU's Alley Broussard announced yesterday that he's giving up football. Kinda surprising...but in a way it's not.
And then the Daily Home has to remind us that we're not gonna hear any big stories out of media days. So why all the fuss? Because we are a football starved society. There's only so many replays we can watch over the summer before we need something real.
For instance, yesterday, I watched the entire Rice vs UAB game from last year. Not because it was on...but because I DVRed it so I could watch Applewhite's offense from last year. That's how nutty our society is right now. I recorded a rerun of a UAB & Rice game and actually went back and watched the ENTIRE GAME.
And people wonder why media days gets so much hype.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#10: Oklahoma 20 Alabama 13Sept. 6th, 2003 in Tuscaloosa, AL
Well, we've finally made it to Shula's top 10 most memorable games. I remember this one because #1 Oklahoma was coming to town, and the Gameday crew was here to see it. Can't get a more classic matchup than Alabama and the Sooners. No #1 team had ever played Alabama in Bryant-Denny. Plus, it was still early in the season, before anybody knew we were really that bad.
Oklahoma started things off by kicking two field goals in the first quarter, taking a 6-0 lead into the 2nd. Bostick got us on the scoreboard with a 44 yarder, making it 6-3.
Towards the end of the half, Jason White hit Clayton for a 46 yard touchdown, and they took that 13-3 lead into the locker room.
Starting off the 3rd quarter, Bama came out swingin, but couldn't come up with anything. Finally, midway through the quarter, Brodie hit Triandos Luke for a 20 yard touchdown, making it 13-10.
Our defense stiffened on the next possession, and appeared to have held the Sooners to a 3-and-out, but they faked a punt on 4th-and-10 from their own 31 and completed a pass for 22 yards and a first down at the Alabama 47. White immediately hit Brandon Jones for a deep touchdown pass to make it 20-10.
Alabama came roaring back, driving to the Oklahoma 30 on the next possession, but Croyle lofted a pass to Zach Fletcher and it was picked off at the 5 yard line.
Alabama scored the only points of the 4th quarter on a Brian Bostick 36 yard field goal with 1:32 left. Oklahoma recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
¶ 8:59 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Last night, I went and did all of the things I used to do as a child. We went to Putt Putt golf n games and we did the batting cages, driving range, and a round of putt putt. I was owning the slow pitch softball in the batting cages, then moved up to 60 mph baseball and got smoked. Out of 14 pitches, I only connected with 3 and only 1 was a fair ball. We then moved over to the 40 mph baseball, and I slugged away on those. It got a lot easier from 60 to 40. Haha. I haven't played baseball in probably 10 years, so it felt good to get some stress out.
Anyway, we hit some range balls, but then went to the #3 course - the "difficult" course. And I owned it. Played a round with my guitar player and bass player. Both of which finished the round at 24 over par. I finished at 3 over. Had 6 hole in ones. :-) It was stupendous. Then I came home and played NCAA '08 and got smoked by Georgia, 32-17. It was a good night, but the ending sucked. Haha.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 39
The only somewhat intriguing non-conference matchup of the '08 season has now been cancelled. UTEP and Alabama have mutually decided to not play the game. I'm looking forward to playing East Louisiana A&M Central Tech now. Woo hoo.
Scout.com details the origin of the college football arms race. It can be dated back to when Doug Flutie threw the hail mary that beat "Da U" - applications went up 12% the following year, and thus the theory was born - good athletics equals more attention for the school equals more students wanting to attend equals a tougher admissions policy equals a higher quality student class. There's oh-so-much more though.
Brandon Deaderick is applying as a "youth offender." Since he's only 19, he may be able to get out of all of his troubles. The other two, since they were arrested by UA police, have to go through District Court.
West Virginia governor Joe Manchin tells us all about 'Brother' Nick Saban. Very interesting read - check it out here.
Reece Davis interviewed Les Miles yesterday on ESPN's debut episode of 'College Football Live.' If you didn't watch, it was absolutely hilarious. When asked how Saban's hiring at Alabama has affected his job at LSU, I swear you could see him get even more nervous. He wouldn't even refer to us as 'Alabama,' just "that team he coaches." He went on to make the same garb about how he's always hated teams that wear red (Redskins, Oklahoma, now Alabama).
Julio Jones was seen wearing a 'Bama shirt at a Foley youth camp last week. Good signs?
The new season schedule desktop wallpapers are soon to be released on RollTide.com. Get them here - 800 x600 and 1024 x 768.
For those of you looking for another Saban - Bear coincidence, look no further than the Iron Bowl. The last time Auburn won 5 straight in this series was before 1958, when Bear Bryant started at Alabama. Things changed VERY quickly after that.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#11: Auburn 22 Alabama 15Nov. 18th, 2006 in Tuscaloosa, AL
This game had all the drama in the world. From everyone wondering what was happening with Coach Shula, to the regular breakdowns by the offensive line (most noticeably Chris Capps), to the UA Athletic Administration leaving their press box before the game was over, to Prothro bringing the game ball to mid-field, etc etc.
Alabama was the upset favorite of the week. Everyone thought that Alabama would beat Auburn and save Coach Shula. Things did not look so great after losing the last two ball games to Mississippi State and LSU. The Tide was 6-5 and looking for anything to go right.
Jamie Christiansen started the scoring with a field goal midway through the first quarter to make it 3-0. Both defenses were pretty solid for this game - it was just a matter of who would mess up first.
And that, of course, proved to be us.
Early in the 2nd quarter, Groves blew right by Chris Capps on the right side of the line and sacked John Parker Wilson, who subsequently fumbled the football, allowing Auburn to recover deep in Alabama territory. The 'Barn then scored a quick touchdown to make it 7-3. Amazingly, rather than taking Capps out, they left him in the game in the next series and the EXACT same thing happened again. Groves around Capps, Wilson sacked and fumbled, Auburn gets it deep in Tide territory again. Another quick score.
Before anyone really knew what happened, it was 14-3 and any hopes we had were quickly vanquished.
Before the end of the half, Wilson found Nikita Stover for a 52 yard touchdown to make it 14-9. The 2 point conversin failed and that's how the half ended.
Midway through the 3rd quarter, Alabama finished off a drive with a 13 yard pass to TE Travis McCall. The 2 point conversion failed again, and we had a 15-14 lead.
Of course, Auburn wasn't near done. They drove the football as well, and Brandon Cox hit Rodriguez for a 22 yard touchdown towards the end of the 3rd quarter. They converted their 2 point conversion, so it was 22-15 at the end of the 3rd.
In the 4th quarter both teams slugged it out, with nobody really gaining any kind of advantage over the other one. Bama took the ball midway through the quarter at our own 11 yard line and managed to drive all the way down to the Auburn 13 yard line. It ended up 4th-and-15 with just under 5 minutes left. Initially the field goal unit came onto the field, and then Shula, showing his indecisiveness and inability to successfully manage a college football game, called a time out and sent the offense back on the field.
I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. We didn't get the first down, and we didn't score. We gave them the ball back, and then punted back to us with 1:50 left. So we get the ball at our own 41 with just under 2 minutes. Wilson completed a short pass to Stover.
And then David Irons, the kid that got a 4 on the wonderlic test, picked off his next pass with 1:17 remaining.
Bernard Hopkins scored a unanimous decision over Winky Wright on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The fight was still boring to me. I'm sick of decisions, y'know? Gimme a fighter with a killer instinct for once. Kelly Pavlik and Jermaine Taylor is looking better and better. I just hope that the Bama / FSU game doesn't interfere with the time of the fight. :-)
The Ledger ranks the SEC's top 5 QBs, WRs, and OLs. John Parker Wilson comes in at #4, DJ Hall at #4, and Andre Smith at #3.
Wanna read more about Julio Jones? The Mobile Press-Register has you covered.
Josh Moon compares the three arrested Alabama players to little kids who've been told "just wait til your father gets home." There's no precedent that's already been set, so they don't know what to expect.
Finebaum gives us an update from the lines of Danny Sheridan. Apparently Alabama will be an underdog against Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn. Whoopity Doo.
Pete Fiutak seems to think very good things will happen at Alabama this year, if certain things can go right. Check out Fox Sports' preview of the Tide.
Athlon goes ahead and predicts several of the games for this season. They say we'll be 6-1, but don't project the Arkansas, Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee, or Auburn games. They went ahead and chalked up the LSU game as a loss.
ESPN's College Football Live starts today, so make sure you DVR it, since it's coming on while you're at work.
There's more talk about Arkansas moving to the Big 12. Sounds good to me.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#12: Arkansas 24 Alabama 23Sept. 23rd, 2006 in Fayetteville, AR
Yeah, last season's Arkansas game ranks up near the top 10 from Shula's regime.
Arkansas kicked a field goal to make it 3-0 in the first quarter. We came out slingin in the 2nd quarter, as JP hit DJ for a 78 yard touchdown pass, making the score 7-3. Tiffin hit a field goal on the last play of the half, and we went into the break with a 10-3 lead.
The Hogs drove it right down the field, with McFadden punching it in from 3 yards out to bring them within one point. Jeremy Davis missed the extra point. Several minutes later, John Parker fumbled after being sacked, and Arkansas ran it back for a 39 yard touchdown. McFadden caught a pass from Mustain to convert the 2 pointer, which made it 17-10 Arkansas. We then drove it down the field and hit Keith Brown with a 14 yard touchdown pass to tie it up, early in the 4th.
We got the football back midway through the quarter and drove the ball all the way to the arkansas 13 yard line with a little under 3 minutes left. Leigh Tiffin then missed the field goal, and after some crazy plays by Arkansas to try and get into field goal range, the game went into overtime.
Mitch Mustain threw an interception, so all we had to do was kick a field goal. So Tiffin lined up and missed a 37 yarder wide-right again.
Then, in the 2nd overtime, we scored on a 1 yard touchdown pass to Nick Walker in the back of the endzone. Tiffin lined up to kick the extra point.
And missed wide-right.
Arkansas scored on an 11 yard pass to Ben Cleveland, and Jeremy Davis, who had missed an extra point earlier, kicked this one right through the middle.
I normally don't post on Saturdays, but this was just too good to pass up...
Snoop Dogg lays down the law on Les Miles. Haha. Offensive language, so be warned.
The Oct. 4th Thursday night game between Daphne and Foley, featuring prized recruit Julio Jones, has been picked up by ESPN2. Julio Jones is the 6'4", 215lb, 5 star receiver we're going after right now.
Notre Dame is, once again, showing why they're the biggest football program in the country. They've inked a home game against Washington St at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio for 2009. Jeez...that's ridiculous.
If you didn't already know (to my knowledge, the University hasn't announced it), the Homecoming concert this year, to be held on Friday, Oct 5th, will be Daughtry over at Coleman Coliseum. I don't remember a homecoming concert at Coleman before, so I might have to make an early trip down to try and see the show. I kinda dig that guy's music.
Dennis Dodd proves his idiocy by taking pot-shots at Alabama and proclaiming that the Big East will have 3 national title contenders in any given year. Riiiiight. And LSU's moving to Conference-USA.
It's finally going to happen. After the fight back in May at FedExForum, everyone's been ready to see Kelly Pavlik fight Jermaine Taylor for the middleweight championship. We get our wishes on Sept. 29th in Atlantic City at the Boardwalk. I am SOOO ready for this one. Should be the best fight this year, hands down.
If you wanna read up on all the Michael Vick crap, check it out here. It is absolutely unbelievable.
I guess he's close enough now that we can start talking about it. Barry Bonds hit 752 and 753 last night against the Cubs, which means he's 2 home runs away, and 3 away from breaking Hammerin' Hank's record. To me, it's a little disheartening. I'm gonna have to explain to the next generation why Barry Bonds is the home run king, which is ridiculous in its own right. But, alas, so be it. I don't really care enough about baseball to try and explain an asterisk to anyone. Haha.
John Frierson, over at the Times Daily, lets us know that the "stupid season" never really ends. He writes about all of the arrests over college football in the past few weeks, and how Coach Saban will deal with discipline in this case.
It appears that Tennessee is already courting their next head coach. Apparently John Gruden was recently in East Tennessee, said he loves it there, he loves Coach Majors, and he hates Nick Saban. Here's hoping we can get him to join the college ranks...I'd love to whip Chucky's ass year in and year out.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#13: Alabama 13 Ole Miss 10Oct. 15th, 2005 in Oxford, MS
This had all the makings of a huge upset. Head coach's first year, a home game against a top 10 team, an 11am kickoff, a team coming off an emotional high, and the top 10 team getting the SI cover (curse) the week before.
And somehow, we found a way to pull it out. It wasn't easy though.
Michael Spurlock, the right handed Brent Schaeffer, looked like an All-SEC quarterback against us that day. He started out early by throwing a touchdown pass late in the 1st quarter to take a 7-0 lead. We answered midway through the 2nd with a field goal to make it 7-3. We took that score into the half.
Then, on the first drive of the 2nd half, Kenneth Darby ran 48 yards into the endzone to take a 10-7 lead. Both defenses were pretty stingy for the rest of the afternoon. Alabama gave up a 24 yard field goal that made it 10-10 early in the 4th after keeping the Rebels out of the endzone.
After the ball swapped hands a few times, we got the ball back on our own 24 yard line with 2:39 to play. Brodie made some great throws, Darby made some great runs, and we called a timeout with 3 seconds left to play on the Ole Miss 14 yard line. Christiansen booted the 31 yarder with no problem and we sneaked out of Oxford with a hard-fought victory.
I played Vanderbilt yesterday and won 72-13. Then played Arkansas and won 42-25. Kinda odd games. It would've been a blowout had I not played man coverage for most of the game trying to stop the run. Marcus Monk is a beast.
The Alabama gameday experience has changed a touch this year (first reported by the Tuscaloosa News), with RVers having to pay fees to park on campus, certain former parking spots no longer being public access, and the new 9'x12' big screen tv that will be on the quad for all home games. It will televise all of the home games for people that couldn't get tickets, as well as show other games of interest before and after the game. Check out UAGameday.com for more information about all of this.
Barrett Jones, an OT from Memphis and the #1 prospect in the state of Tennessee, has visited Alabama several times and really likes Coach Steele and how Coach Saban and his staff interact with the players.
As far as basketball news goes, the Vols and Razorbacks should be the best teams in the SEC this year, or so we're led to believe. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#14: Auburn 28 Alabama 18Nov. 19th, 2005 in Auburn, AL
Even in Mike Shula's best season, he still couldn't beat Auburn.
This was the game where all the bumper stickers came from. You know, "Honk if you sacked Brodie." This game was pitiful. The offense sucked and consistently gave Auburn the football early in the first quarter. By the time the 1st quarter was over it was 21-0.
Early in the 2nd we finished a drive with a Tim Castille touchdown run which made it 21-7. Then we swapped the ball several times and Auburn scored before going into the half 28-7. By that point, the game was over. Brodie was sacked 7 times in the first half and 5 times in the 2nd before we put in John Parker Wilson.
We basically just got our rear ends handed to us. I still remember Travis Williams saying after the game "We really wanted them to be undefeated coming into this game so we could really make them look bad." And we couldn't say anything about it.
¶ 8:45 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Ran across some pretty good hip-hop (yeah, like I know what that is) over at Lord T & Eloise. I think you guys would get a kick out of it. I'm contemplating writing some SEC songs this year to post on the site.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 45
Well, I spent all night playing NCAA 08. I went ahead and started my dynasty. I don't know if I accidentally cut Javier Arenas, but I can't seem to find him. Doesn't look like it's really going to matter - DJ Hall ran a punt back for a touchdown in the first half against Western Carolina.
The game started out rather slow. I played the normal 5 minute quarters and couldn't get ANYTHING going on the ground with Glen Coffee. John Parker Wilson was making some awful throws, so nothing was really going right. Western Carolina picked up momentum early with some quick 3-and-outs, but with 13 seconds left in the quarter, Simeon Castille picked off a pass and ran it 46 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. Then, after a quick 3-and-out by the mighty Catamounts, DJ Hall returned a punt to make it 14-0. After another 3-and-out, Glen Coffee took a strong side counter trap 68 yards to the house in one play. 21-0, and just like that, it was a blowout. Ended up 35-0 at the half, then I put in the 2nd teamers. The final was 63-0.
Roy Upchurch is the real deal. He had 11 carries for 123 yards in the 2nd half alone. Had two open field stiff arms that would've broken normal people, and took two decently long runs to the house (40+ and 20+). Greg McElroy has a damn good arm, and he and Caddell and Stover look to be just fine. The defense gave up 12 yards on the day, including -28 yards rushing. Lorenzo Washington is a hoss and, I'm sure, Luther Davis is the other beast in there. Wallace Gilberry, of course, is sensational as well.
Anyway, enough about that. Now onto some news.
Cecil lets us know that discipline for the 3 arrested players will come in due time. The worst case scenario would be if Coach Saban rushes to judgement, and that won't be the case. WTVY is reporting that Saban may not make an announcement until media days in Birmingham next week.
Michigan State people up in Detroit are even chiming in on the Saban craze - here.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#15: Tennessee 17 Alabama 13Oct. 23, 2004 in Knoxville, TN
I remember this game mostly because we had a chance to win, with a quarterback that couldn't get it done.
The game started with a fumble return for a touchdown, giving Tennessee a 7-0 advantage, but we drove the ball downfield and Tim Castille pushed his way into the endzone for a 7-7 ball game.
We drove the ball again in the 2nd quarter, but had to settle for a Bostick field goal and a 10-7 lead, which was quickly given back on a Jason Swain touchdown grab to make it 14-10. The teams exchanged field goals in the 2nd half to make it 17-13. We lost Tim Castille to a torn ACL in the 2nd half as well.
Pennington and the Tide offense had one final chance to drive the field and score to win the game. We had 1st-and-10 at the Tennessee 37 with just over a minute to play, but the game ended with a Corey Campbell interception with 46 seconds left.
Today, I will wreak havok on the college football universe...
Go get your copy of NCAA 08 today. I'll be at the store in about an hour to get mine. To download your full rosters, go to PSX Sports, then load it on a usb drive and put it into your ps2 to load it up. Rock n Roll, my friends.
Check out some early recruiting stuff from The Tuscaloosa News - with even more about Julio Jones.
Alabama is trying to change Quinn Sanford's mind - the OL prospect from South Panola, in Batesville, MS, has already committed to Ole Miss, but other schools are working hard to get him to switch.
To make matters worse, Brandon Fanney, sophomore defensive end/linebacker, was also arrested along with Upchurch and Deaderick. Read more about it here.
Scarbinsky tells us that wanting to play Notre Dame isn't that big of a deal - cause they're not that good.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#16: Ole Miss 43 Alabama 28Oct. 18th, 2003 in Oxford, MS
This was the year of the Eli. And I have never been so embarrassed to be a Bama fan at a game in my life. After the first touchdown early in the 1st quarter to make it 10-0, I remembered thinking it was going to be a long day.
My dad and our friends we bought tickets with sat through another few minutes and watch Taye Biddle rake in catches for touchdowns to make it 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. We scored a field goal and a touchdown to make it 24-10, but when Eli threw a 41 yard touchdown before half-time, we decided to jet back to the car and start early on the tailgating again. It was 31-10 at the half, and that's when Cutcliffe called off the dogs. It ended up 43-28, thanks to two touchdowns in the last 5 minutes by Brodie, but it was much worse than the score indicated.
¶ 8:51 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Wow, talk about a crazy weekend. We'll have the audio from the interview with Chris Vernon up very soon. The show went great. All in all, it was a good weekend in my little part of the world.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 47
Single game tickets for Western Carolina and Louisiana-Monroe are onsale at rolltide.com RIGHT NOW. They went onsale at 8am this morning. These may be the only 2 games that end up onsale from the University, so get them while you can.
If you don't like the seat availability for the Western Carolina game, go check out what our friends at TickCo.com have available. They've got the best seats at the best prices. That's where I'll be getting my tickets this year.
Roy Upchurch and Brandon Deadrick were arrested early Saturday morning, just outside the Legacy. Coach Saban was out of town and declined comment, but Doug Walker stated they're still in "fact-finding mode." Boy, would I hate to be the first ones that Coach Saban had to make examples of.
Our boy Nikita, and some other Bama players, are apparently friends with Auburn players, off the field. But that's cool, cause "Last year, they had ‘fear the thumb’, this year, we have ‘fear the finger,’ ” Stover said with a grin.
Josh Moon discusses how the rivalry is back. For the past decade it's been tough for either side to talk trash when one team always comes in with 4 to 7 wins. But this year there's genuine excitement around both programs.
The Advertiser breaks down Coach Saban's special "In My Own Words" on Sportsouth from this weekend. If you missed it, or your dvr only got the end of the damn braves game (like mine), it's coming on again at 9:30 tonight, I believe. I'll double check the time when I get home.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#17: LSU 26 Alabama 10Nov. 13th, 2004 in Baton Rouge, LA
This is the perfect case of how one play can completely shift momentum, field position, and basically the shape of the rest of the ball-game. In one split second you can see everything change. Your mood goes from cheery to depressed. Your beer goes from cold to warm. It just sucks.
Because it should have been called.
We scored a touchdown in the 1st quarter on a Ken Darby run up the middle, and then swapped out some field goals in the 2nd quarter. We took a 10-6 lead into the half.
Then in the 3rd quarter, we had driven down the field and were in a prime position to take a 17-6 lead. Momentum and complete control of the ball-game rested on this possession.
Spencer Pennington threw a fade route to Keith Brown in the endzone and LaRon Landry jumped up, noticeably pushed Brown to the ground, grabbed the football out of the air, and ran it back to about the 40 yard line.
Shifted momentum. Shifted field position. Shifted the game.
And from that point, it was all LSU. They scored and took a 13-10 lead, then scored again to make it 20-10, then again to make it 26-10. We didn't get back on their side of the field, if I remember correctly.
Tonight's the night. Don't forget - if you live around Memphis, come out to the Daisy. If you wanna show up late, that's cool. We don't play until 10:30pm. :-)
Alright, everyone remember I'll be on the Chris Vernon show this afternoon at 5:40pm CST on 730 ESPN in Memphis. If you're out of the listening area, check out the website (previously linked) and listen to the live stream. Should be good times.
The Sand Mountain Reporter details what each episode of "Aaron's Football Saturdays in the South" will be about. Won't find much about the Tide until week 3.
So, by now everyone has heard about the sentence handed down to Oklahoma's football team after it has been researched and found that former Sooner players had been taking money from boosters. They were forced to forfeit all their victories from 2005 (whoopty-do) and give up two scholarships. They're on probation 'til 2010. Seem like a slap on the wrist? Look at this versus the Alabama case. Of course, Dawg Sports thinks it's just another case of the big-bad NCAA wimping out on imposing sanctions on a big-time college football market that isn't Alabama.
Coach Saban announced that Bobby Gaston, the retired SEC supervisor of officials, will be a consultant with the Tide this year, helping Alabama prepare from a rules standpoint.
It was also announced that the University of Alabama will help Jamar Taylor find a new school closer to his family in Florida. It appears that he will probably be headed to South Florida, where he can team up with former 'Bama signee Mike Ford (who failed to qualify academically).
Coach addressed high school coaches from around the area at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville yesterday. To read more about his speech, click here.
#18: Auburn 21 Alabama 13Nov. 20, 2004 in Tuscaloosa, AL
We Bama fans like to think that our inspired play is the reason that Auburn didn't get to play against USC for the National Title that year. We were a 6-4 team that year, with our fate already pretty much sealed for either Shreveport or Nashville, so our only inspiration was beating the Barn and keeping them out of the title game.
Brian Bostick kicked two field goals in the first half, and our defense stood firm, giving us a 6-0 lead at the break. But then came the 2nd half.
Jason Campbell showed why he would be a first round NFL draft pick and drove Auburn down the field three times in the 2nd half to take a 21-6 lead.
We did make it somewhat interesting though. Spencer Pennington threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to DJ Hall with 1:32 left. Sadly, Auburn recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Everyone remember, the big show is tomorrow! If you're in or around Memphis and can make it, please come up, say hi, and let me know that you visit the site! Also, thank you to everyone that's already chipped in with some donations!
Also, I'll be on the Chris Vernon show on 730 ESPN in Memphis (730am) tomorrow around 5:40pm, so be sure and listen to that. I'm sure I'll talk a bit about the Tide, and my guitar player and I will play an acoustic song and tell a bit about the show tomorrow night. If you're out of the listening area, you can listen live on 730espn.com.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 51
The Dothan Eagle has pointed out the top five controversies for Alabama football over the past few years. Not surprisingly, two of the five involved Mike DuBose. And the program has been in shambles since.
Coach Saban has definitely started the talk about building up the non-conference schedule. He told reporters after a speaking engagement yesterday that he'd like to play Notre Dame, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Penn State, and Oklahoma. He wants one high-interest intersectional game every year. He started a trend at Michigan State by playing all of the in-state competition, which would be a little different from what Alabama is used to. At LSU he setup games with Arizona State and tried to setup with Texas. Read more about it here and here.
During the short interview he also mentioned, about freshman Jamar Taylor, that they are "trying to work through (his issues) and help him decide whether it's better to go a little closer to home to school. In some cases, it might be, and if it is in his case, we're certainly going to help him do that."
And if you want to see Coach Saban mad, just ask him about the recruiting violations. "I get criticized all the time, saying that I go talk to players at a high school. But I go talk to the coaches. I go to practices because I think it's important for all of these kids to know that football, the game they invest their time in, is special. I want to be there, so they know it's the greatest game in the world. Then everybody says, `Coach Saban' is there, he's got to be cheating talking to players. But my response is, it's important in developing the game for me to be there."
Saban reminded the media that he has served on the ethics committee and the football rules committee in the past.
"We have so many rules at the NCAA that sometimes it's inadvertent that you do things that are violations," he said. "When we do it, we report ourselves and want to get it corrected."
photo from al.com
The top ranked strong-side linebacker in the country has narrowed his list of schools, and Alabama made the list. Jon Major is a 6'4" 225lb prospect from Parker-Panderosa, CO.
If you wanna read up on all the stuff that Terry Bowden has been into lately, check this out. He happens to have his own opinions about the Saban and Alabama relationship, saying simply "Alabama didn't pay $4 million to come in 2nd."
This is just a touch off topic, but I'm highly irritated that my Memphis Grizzlies have decided to sign Darko Milicic from the Orlando Magic. Disgusting, but I guess, in a high tempo offense, it could be a good thing. We'll see.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#19: Alabama 17 Mississippi St 0Nov. 5th, 2005 in Starkville, MS
Y'know, there were definitely some highlight plays in this game, but nothing stood out more than losing JB Closner to a broken leg. After we lost him, we lost our next two games, and our shot at the SEC Western Division Championship.
There was no scoring in the first quarter. Both teams absolutely stunk offensively, to say the least. It was awful. Maybe one of the worst football games I've ever had to watch. We finally managed a field goal about midway through the 2nd quarter to take a 3-0 lead into the half.
Then, we struck gold with two absolutely huge plays early in the 2nd quarter. State fumbled the opening kickoff and Matt Miller picked it up and ran 15 yards into the endzone to give us a 10-0 lead. Then, not even 2 minutes later, Rudy Griffin picked off a Michael Henig pass and ran it 17 yards into the endzone. Lightning struck twice.
All the hope that State had from that point on was gone. What had been a 3-0 lead had suddenly turned into 17-0, and the rest was history. Alabama didn't score a single offensive touchdown, but I don't really think that mattered, at least not at the time.
¶ 8:55 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Right dead in the middle of the week. It can't get by quick enough.
In case you didn't see it, we now have a "donation" button at the top right hand corner of the blog. If you enjoy reading the blog and feel like chipping in so I can keep doing this on a regular basis, please chip in. Even 50 cents or a dollar is cool. :-)
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 52
Bama fans have been gearing up for several weeks now waiting for this Saturday's "In My Own Words: Nick Saban" special, which will air at 9:30pm CST on Fox SportSouth. The Tuscaloosa News has a preview of what to expect.
If you missed it, Yamene Coleman, next in line to take over for Jermareo Davidson at the 5 spot on this year's Tide Basketball team, was arrested and charged with 8 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. Mark Gottfried isn't saying anything yet, but this could be verrrry verrrry bad.
There's a good discussion going on over on the Tidesports.com board about the need for a new jumbotron in the south endzone to compete with a new one at Jordan-Hare. Personally, I feel that, if a sponsorship agreement can be met, we should go ahead with a new one. The Sony contract supposedly runs out this year, and it will be at least another 5 years before the South endzone expansion. I say go for it.
If you listen to Finebaum, he mentioned the other day that he feels that the Birmingham News has some info on Coach Saban and violations that they're not reporting yet. I'm curious if this has anything to do with the stuff going on over at Hoover or not. Somehow, I doubt it. I honestly doubt they have anything at all, because it would already be out, but we'll see what happens with that.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#20: Alabama 25 Hawaii 17
Ahh yes. Another rededication of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The coaches' statues were out front, the new "front door" looked fabulous, and we got a helluva football game.
Who woulda thought, other than Phil Steele, that Hawaii would be the read deal last year? They had been pitiful the year before, and showed no signs of really stepping up the talent. Boy, were we mistaken.
Our defense, in the first half and most of the 3rd quarter, showed signs of not missing a beat after losing a ton of NFL draft picks from the year before. We led 22-3 until about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter when they finally scored a touchdown.
We kicked another field goal early in the 4th to make it 25-10, but they drove right down the field and made it 25-17. Both defenses held the rest of the game, and Brennan's pass from the Bama 26 on the last play of the game was intercepted by Lionel Mitchell.
For any of you who live in Memphis, or anywhere close enough to drive, we've got a pretty big showcase on Friday night at the New Daisy Theatre, so if you can make it out, please do.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 53
There's more talk about how John Parker Wilson is ready to put Alabama football back on the map this year. Check it out here and here. Also check out Gatorsports.com's preview of the 9 SEC quarterbacks that have a shot to be all-conference players this year - yes, John Parker is one of them.
The Montgomery Advertiser lets us know how the SEC shapes up. It mentions that Saban will have to recruit hard for a couple of years to match talent with LSU and Auburn.
Apparently the Western Carolina game is high on the radar for Lincoln Financial Sports' telecast the first weekend. Alabama officials don't want to play an 11:30 game that weekend, partly because they could make more money on a pay-per-view broadcast since it is Coach Saban's first game, and partly because they have to play at 11:30 the next week at Vanderbilt. Looks like Florida and Western Kentucky may get to open up the LFS season.
Tommy Hicks decides that he wants to do some scheduling and come up with great overall SEC non-conference games, like Alabama vs Notre Dame or Florida vs Boise State. See his full list here.
And finally, here's a great example of why you shouldn't EVER schedule a wedding on a football Saturday. I've already made this point clear with my fiance. She understands that, during the fall, I am absolutely worthless on Saturdays. As I should be. Haha.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#21: Tennessee 16 Alabama 13Oct. 21st, 2006 in Knoxville, TN
This could be the game that sealed Mike Shula's fate. We'll never really know when the wheels got turning behind-the-scenes for what would be one of the most important coaching searches in Alabama history...but if I had to wager, it was giving up the lead in the 4th quarter of this game.
This game could really just come down to the fact that we had to settle for a 24 yard field goal in the first quarter (for those that don't know, that means we were on the 7 yard line), and an 18 yarder late in the 2nd quarter (for those that don't know, that means we were on the 1 yard line). Score touchdowns in those two situation and we're up 14-3 at halftime rather than 6-3.
UT tied it up midway through the 3rd, and we finally stuck it in the endzone with about a minute left in the quarter to take a 13-6 lead into the 4th quarter. That was our last points of the game.
Tennessee kicked a field goal with about 8 minutes left to cut the lead to 13-9. We then gave them the football back on a punt to their 30 yard line. They called pass interference on us, which gave them a first down midway through the drive. Then they steadily drove down the field and scored on a 1 yard over-the-pile dive by Arian Foster. They took the lead 16-13.
We had a chance with about 3 minutes left, but we looked so confused, disappointed, and panicked that I'm absolutely positive nobody could come through in the clutch.
Just so all of you understand exactly how much Coach Saban is putting into Nov. 3rd this year, here's what Ron Higgins from the Commercial Appeal in Memphis has pulled up - "... My mole in Tuscaloosa tells me new Alabama football savior Nick Saban has already had his staff breaking down game film of LSU's 2006 season. Think Nick wants to beat his last college employer? LSU fans, by the way, requested 36,000 tickets for this season's game in Tuscaloosa. If you think this year's game is big, wait for the 2008 return match in Tiger Stadium. You'll see some of the finest Cajun throwing arms since former New York Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry."
It's very ironic, to me, that Josh Moon is bitching about how awful Auburn's non-conference schedule is, when he could look in Tuscaloosa and have a heart-attack. At least Auburn has top-notch no-names on the schedule, like New Mexico State and Kansas State. We get Western Carolina and La-Monroe.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#22: Alabama 26 Ole Miss 23 OTOct. 14th, 2006 in Tuscaloosa, AL
We'll bring last year's Ole Miss game in at #22, simply because it's still fresh in the memory, and because it had some last minute drama.
Ole Miss was the 2nd worst team in the conference last year. They would have lost to Vanderbilt at home, had Chris Nickson not had 4,000 turnovers. They played well against almost everyone, but always ended up losing (see the LSU game last year).
Somehow, with us being 13.5 point favorites, we managed to nearly give them the football game. Brent Schaeffer ran the football on us with ease. Everyone else though, BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Mico McSwain, ran a combined 27 times for 75 yards. Not exactly a great average.
Ole Miss took a 13-10 lead into the half, and we came out and drove the ball down the field in the 3rd quarter. We had to settle for a 26 yard field goal by Christiansen to tie the game up at 13.
We then drove down the field again in the 4th quarter and actually scored, making it 20-13. But Schaeffer rallied the troops and threw a 55 yard touchdown pass to tie the game up. The Ole Miss defense held, as did Bama's, the rest of the 4th quarter to force overtime.
In OT, Ole Miss got the ball first and had to settle for a 37 yard field goal. We took the ball and marched 25 yards right down to the goal line, where we threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Le'Ron McClain to win the game. It was great to win in such dramatic fashion. It just sucks that it was against one of the lower tier SEC teams.
¶ 9:21 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Ok, back to the headline. I've been running this site since Oct. 1st of '06. I've bitched about EVERYTHING. I've made fun of ALL of our rivals. But I hadn't gotten any mail from opposing fans telling me I'm stupid.
Our buddy, AuboSox@aol.com, has chimed in on a post I made back in January about next year's schedule. I chalked up the Auburn game as a win for us and compared this year's Auburn team to Georgia's team last year - young, but still dangerous. He lets us know that "the only way you are winning this game is if our bus crashes on the way to the stadium......funny read though." Feel free to crash this guy's inbox with hate mail. Haha.
Aside from that - the CRIMSON & WHITE ROUNDTABLE is up over at Tide Druid's page. This week's question has to do with which team do you think Alabama could upset this year, which team could upset Alabama, and how important is it that Coach Saban win a bowl game in his first season? Check out my response, along with all the other big Bama bloggers, at the link above.
LSU's Chris Wells isn't upset that Coach Saban took the Alabama job. He says "Some folks in Louisiana are unhappy he's now at Alabama, but not me. We're pleased with Les Miles. I know there will be a lot of eyes on that game. I can't wait." His early prediction on the game - LSU 24 Alabama 16.
Alabama has self-reported 3 secondary violations to the NCAA since Oct. 16th, 2006. Read about them here.
We'll knock out 3 games on the Mike Shula countdown today. All 3 were losses, so I guess it's better to get those out of the way all at once.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#23: Northern Illinois 19 Alabama 16Sept. 20, 2003 in Tuscaloosa, AL
There weren't many big plays in this one that I can remember, other than the difference in the game being the blocked PAT returned for 2 points in the first quarter. Take away 2 points from No. Ill. and give us one point and we're going to overtime. That's the difference that good special teams will make in a game.
Their bruising running back, Michael Turner, ran for 156 yards on 27 carries. He bruised out linebackers and our defensive line, taking out anyone that got in his path. Their offensive line was ridiculous as well. They were beasts.
It was easily Norther Illinois's biggest win in school history, and it propelled them to a 10-2 record that year.
#24: Arkansas 34 Alabama 31 2OTSept. 27, 2003 in Tuscaloosa, AL
Talk about heartbreak. Midway through the 3rd quarter we were up 31-10 and were on the way to a blowout victory over 3-0 Arkansas.
Then Shula got stuck in the headlights of a big-time win. Houston Nutt knew he could run on our defense, so they stuck to their gameplan and pounded out 289 yards on the ground, including 198 from Cedric Cobbs.
They scored once in the 3rd to make it 31-17, then again midway through the 4th to make it 31-24. Then, after our offense stalled again, they drove the ball down the field and Matt Jones threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to tie it with 27 seconds left.
In the first overtime their kicker missed a field goal. Brian Bostick had a chance to win it for us, but he sent his 38-yarder wide. On the next series Brodie was picked off by an Arkansas linebacker. Their kicker, a backup, hit a 23-yard chipshot to win it. Sending us into another weak of heartache, since this was the week after the Northern Illinois loss.
#25: South Carolina 20 Alabama 3Oct. 2nd, 2004 in Tuscaloosa, AL
I remember leaving this game midway through the 3rd quarter. It was the earliest my father had ever made us leave a game. The entire day was awful. Guillon and Pennington made up possibly the worst quarterback tandem in the SEC that day, going a combined 10 of 24 for 67 yards and 4 interceptions. South Carolina only passed for 53 yards, but we kept giving them the football in short-field situations.
I remember a glimmer of hope at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. South Carolina was driving, but Newton made an awful pass that Anthony Madison picked off at our own 22 yard line. The crowd was fired up - we had just stopped them and momentum had begun to swing back our direction.
Then Guillon threw an interception on the very next play, and Newton ran the ball three straight times, capping the drive off with a 8 yard touchdown run that made it 13-3.
My dad was ready to go and we told him to just wait for a little bit. There was still plenty of time left, and we were switching quarterbacks. Spencer Pennington was running out to the huddle.
Then Pennington's first play was an interception that was returned to the 9. That's when we left. We heard South Carolina score just as we were leaving BDS. That ended up being the final score - 20-3.
¶ 9:20 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Why did this holiday have to only be one day? And why couldn't it have been on Thursday, so we'd only have one day left til the weekend. Instead, we got off work on the 4th, and I'm stuck at work for 2 damn days. Oh well.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 58
The Billings Gazette gives us an early football fix, including dream matchups featring Alabama vs Oregon, Oklahoma vs Florida, and Tennessee vs Ohio State.
No LSU coach has ever won 10 games or more in their 3rd season at LSU. Wonder what "the Hat" will do.
The Times Daily gives us an early look at the biggest games in the SEC for this upcoming season. Alabama happened to be mentioned in 4 of them, so that's cool.
The Tuscon Citizen has a couple of words for Les Miles: Shut Up. His recent sarcasm regarding the toughness of USC's schedule has gotten on some nerves over on the west coast.
BamaMag.com has a sit-down with new Tide offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. Check that out here.
Apparently the faculty and staff are excited about football season. 4800 ticket requests are going unfulfilled this year - there were 9300 requests and only 4500 allotted for them. The 4500 is the same amount they've had for the last few years.
The SEC will be watching what goes on with the Big Ten Network this fall. They go live on Thursday, August 30th, and will have their first game on Sept. 2nd. The SEC, while interested in starting their own, will wait and see what happens. The Big Ten gets to be the guinnea pig, of sorts, for this project.
The Iron Bowl has been voted the greatest rivalry over at Rivals.com, beating out Fla St / Miami, Texas / Oklahoma, Notre Dame / USC, and even Ohio State / Michigan. They claim it's due to hatred.
We are now inside of two months until kickoff. Which is pretty awesome, if you ask me.
Finebaum tells it like it is: never before has the national media wanted someone to fail so badly. Wonderful read - and the story about the secretary telling him "nice haircut" was awesome. Hahaha.
Phil Steele says ""Alabama could be like Arkansas was last year. The stats are eerily similar." Pat Forde, from ESPN.com says "Steele has the Crimson Tide ranked 17th. None of my other four magazines puts Bama in the Top 25. The man could probably run for mayor of Tuscaloosa right now and win in a landslide." Read more about the preseason magazines here.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#26: Oklahoma State 34 Alabama 31Dec. 28th, 2006 in Shreveport, LA
I know, I know. Shula didn't actually coach this game. But his staff did, so the same gameplan was pretty much in place.
This game was ugly, then insane, then ridiculous, then gut-wrenching at the same time. Another heart-breaker.
Oklahoma State knew exactly what to do against our defense. They piled up yards like crazy in the first half, taking a 24-14 lead into half time. They scored with 41 seconds left, right after we scored with 2:30 left. Talk about a momentum swing...thought we were going in only down 3, and they score a late touchdown to make it a 2 posession game.
Regardless, we came out and kicked a field goal in the 3rd quarter to make it 24-17. That's how the quarter ended. Then, in the 4th, they scored another touchdown, making it 31-17. After a quick 3-and-out, Bama punted the ball back, and most of the Bama fans in attendance decided to make an early exit. Disgusting play leads to much drinking...and the casinos were calling everyone's names.
But our defense held Okie State and they were forced to punt to Javier Arenas, who took it 86-yards to the house. The score was 31-24 with 10:50 left.
Then another miracle happened. The Cowboys fumbled the kickoff and Bama recoverd. First down at the 21. 6 plays later, Andre Smith's famous catch-and-run for a 2 yard touchdown tied the game at 31.
And then, the heartbreak occured.
Oklahoma State was able to hold on to the football, and Alabama was not able to make any more stops, even with momentum. We used all three timeouts, but couldn't ice the kicker, who hit the game winner with 8 seconds left. Losing sucks, but at least it was a fun game, right?
#27: Arkansas 27 Alabama 10Sept. 25th, 2004 in Fayetteville, AR
This game is best known by Mike Shula claiming Houston Nutt ran up the score at the end of the game.
I say, if you can't stop them running the football down your throat, what are they supposed to do? Run backwards?
Matt Jones, their 6'6" 4.2-40 speed-demon-killer-athlete-of-a-quarterback did anything he wanted to us all day. There's a reason why he was able to switch to wide receiver in the NFL. He's a freak. He ran 9 times for 60 yards. He was 7/12 for 122 yards. He did what he wanted, when he wanted to. It was disgusting.
Then, at the end of the game, Arkansas, leading by 4, scored a touchdown with 3 minutes left, then another one with 1:12 left. But it was all rushing.