On Thursday, after a long, hard day at the old salt mine, I punched out and headed to Orange Beach to spend the weekend with my pal and Roll Bama Roll groupie, @gbdawkins. You know, it's only about 30 miles from the OB to Pensacola, where I was covering DeLuna Fest for Birmingham Box Set and al.com, but it took nearly an hour each day to get over. People kind of drive at a different speed down there, you know? In any case, I spent the Auburn game in the NBC Sports tent, filled with 10 or so HD screens. I had already situated myself into a comfy spot directly in front of the television well before kickoff. Caught a nap in there, too. I had no intentions of watching many bands Saturday, catching the last five songs or so of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and catching a little Jimmy Cliff from the rear of the crowd. I was leaving for Foo Fighters, regardless of what was happening with Auburn, in time to get to the pit before the 9:15 start. So there we were.
1. Kevin Scarbinsky makes a good point. The Birmingham News columnist voiced the concern in his Sunday column that Auburn isn't taking chances. That Auburn had three opportunities on fourth down late in Saturday's contest to try to convert, to reach into its bag of tricks, and didn't. And he's right. It was a field position game, and your defense was playing very well, but you had nothing to lose.
Those were the types of risks that Tommy Tuberville took. Now, Tuberville couldn't bring the same kind of talent to Auburn, and he would have certainly blown a game he wasn't suppose to lose, but he beat top five and top ten teams by taking chances. Imagine that audacity with the talent Auburn has and is currently recruiting.
2. Defense looked better, right? Sure, even Ted Roof had his day in the sun (against Oregon). But Ted Roof had never before and never after gave you a reason to believe that was the norm. Brian VanGorder has given you reason to believe in the past, and the hope must certainly be that we just watched the beginnings of a corner being turned. No one expected it to change overnight, but maybe it's getting there. LSU may have proved itself flawed, but it's still a very good football team. Keeping that offense in check was a huge confidence boost to a team that no one expected to win on Saturday anyway. It's encouraging as Auburn gets ready to host Arkansas, a team no one believed the Tigers could beat four weeks ago, and move on to an October filled with winnable football games. It allows optimism that brighter days are ahead.
3. Alabama fans. Oh, Alabama fans. In this hot sports takes column last week, I made a comment about Alabama football being boring. It still is.
It actually became somewhat of a sports topic on two different local radio shows this week (that I know of). And the consensus from Alabama fans blows me away:
"WELL WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO? WE S'POSED TO BE MAD? THEY S'POSED TO NOT WIN BY A LOT? WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM, PAL?"
Nothing. Nothing is my problem. No, you're not supposed to do anything. No, you're not supposed to be mad.
When I broached this topic first with a longtime colleague and friend, that person's first reaction was, "You realize, as a rival, you are paying Nick Saban the ultimate compliment, right?"
Yes. That is the appropriate reaction. It's a compliment. I even said it last week. I completely understand that if it were my team, I'd be ecstatic. It's cool. But for everyone else, it's boring. And the only team I thought could give Alabama a run for their money nearly lost to little ol' Auburn on Saturday. So it may be even more boring than I feared. We'll see. Lots of football left, despite these obligatory, "Man, y'all realize we're already a third of the way through the season," posts and comments.
4. Y'all realize we're a third of the way through the season? Hey, y'all realize we're a third of the way through the season? Who's on the hot seat? Who's gon' get fired? Hey, football is not through its first month. Really flying! Hey, hey, hey, hey...
Bros, we spend eight months literally counting down days until kickoff. Then, when it's here, we sit around and wish it away. Take a step back and just enjoy it. You don't have to spend every waking minute trying to grasp the concept of time. You can just live right now. It's fine.
5. Who's gon' get fired? Here is a list of candidates for the coaching vacancy that is not currently open at your favorite school:
- Bobby Petrino -- I mean, it wasn't all of that big of a deal. Now, after all that Penn State foolishness, he don't look so bad, does he? Also, he's gon' be coaching somewhere. May as well be your school. Plus, your school is a rebuilding project. You already have a quarterback that could be good. If only he had someone to coach him up.
- Jon Gruden -- Ol' Chucky is still a young man, and he ain't gone be in the booth forever. Plus, he has a house roughly near the town your school is in. He's gone get a look.
- Houston Dale Nutt -- Houston knows the SEC. This ain't his first rodeo. He knows how to recruit to your school, because he has recruited to schools that aren't really all that good, and he often wins eight games. Why not?
- Chris Peterson! -- Why not Chris Peterson? He ain't gone stay in Boise forever, may as well be your school. Plus, the shine is kind of off because he's been waiting around so long. So your school that ain't a great job may be able to get a real gem. He wasn't gon' go there eight years ago, but now? You got this. Your town has much better amenities than Boise. Like a Chili's.
- Bill Cowher? -- Of course Bill Cowher. He's not all that old and he's a slam dunk. Every time I've voluntarily walked away from the Steelers, I've immediately said to myself, "Man, your town is great." Plus, he likes the college game a lot.
- Butch Davis -- Listen, he's won a national championship. He can probably do it again at your school. Because your school has everything Miami does.
- Kirby Smart -- Listen, he learned under Coach Saban. What he will do with this is come to your school and beat Coach Saban.
- the guy at Louisiana-Monroe -- That fella sure is winning, ain't he? Heck, he could probably win the SEC East right now! You know you're not going to get a big name at your school because you're just not quite huge enough. And you don't want a retread. Why not take a shot on this guy? Tell your friends about it.
"Who?" they'll ask.
"You know, the guy at Louisiana-Monroe! Real hot shot. Up and comer," you say.
- Phillip Fulmer -- Tell y'all who knows the SEC? Phillip Fulmer. Thing about it is, he likes Krispy Kreme a lot, so you better make sure you don't turn him a loose with the university credit card! LOL. So if you like winning and donuts and orange and pumpkins something something blah blah Phillip Fulmer. lolololo
6. Bring Back Bobby! Oh man, this one is fun, right? I love these Arkansas fans saying, "Hell, just bring him back! Ain't like he did nothing that bad! He wasn't molesting kids! Hell fire. Hell."
You bros realize Bob Petrino wasn't fired for having sex with a 20-something that he wasn't married to, right? Bob Petrino lost his job because he used his power to sleep with this girl, then he got her a job because she was sleeping with him. That's super unethical! You can't do that, bros! So stop it. He'll land on his feet. But there's no way Arkansas could keep him and try to act like they have any ethics. They made a terrible decision with the interim hire, but now they lie in it. If I know ol' Jerry Jones, AND I THINK I KNOW OL' JERRY JONES, he'll really open up to coffers. Blank check. Do what it takes to get the Hogs back to glory. So, he'll probably hire one of the guys listed above. Congrats! Arkansas wins.