I promised everyone I’d be back soon. On this edition of The South Will Blog Again we will finish our coverage of the 2012 Bowl Season with my analysis of the National Championship of between Alabama and Notre Dame.
Once again, to no surprise to my readers, the SEC emerged victorious. And I suspect to folks not named “Holtz” it wasn’t too shocking that Bama won. But I suspect it surprised a few Yankees and SEC haters just how much of a beat down it was.
As I said on Facebook at the time, the Irish haven’t looked this weak since the Potato Famine.
While on the one hand, having the “Houndstooth Mafia” win again is going to be obnoxious. All of us non-Tide SEC types are going to spend all season hearing the arrogant rants and chants of Crimson Pride. No one has more annoying Sidewalk Alums than Bama. Not even the Irish. On the other hand, what am I saying? Even Bama’s concrete graduates take a back seat to the hordes of Plastic Paddies in this country.
Still, my blog, nay my entire life is about all things Southern so despite my dislike of Rammer Bammer Jammer and Company I was glad to see the mighty elephant stampede the leprecaun.
– Southern Blogger
RUDY VERSUS FORREST GUMP
“Mama always said football is like a plate of barbecue. The North don’t know anything about it”.
I hate the movie Rudy. I really hate it. For those who haven’t seen this Disney “classic” 3’7” Hobbit Sean Astin graduates high school, kind of sucks but “has heart” (which is coach speak for that girl has a nice personality), fails at his Midwestern steal plant job, somehow gets into community college, fails to get into Notre Dame because his grades “have heart” and then still buys a letterman jacket he didn’t earn from a lame school he didn’t attend. Someone lit a candle and/or found the pot of gold and “it’s a Mighty Ducks miracle!” he got into Notre Dame.
But then our Hobbit friend meets up with Pauly Shore and a caveman at UCLA (wait that’s another movie)….oh no….I remember…He tries out for the Fighting Irish and his heart gives out…figuratively. Then yada yada the kid bugs the coach to let him be a human tackling dummy so he can pretend he earned his dumb letterman jacket. After 2 hours of being discouraged he gets help from some Louis Gossett Jr. type guy who tells him to (surprise) “have heart”. Rudy makes the team because it’s actually not too hard to make the teams outside of the SEC and he eventually tackles someone. He’s carried off the field because as we know not many Notre Dame players can make tackles.
Forrest Gump on the other hand is a lesson in Southern courage. Rednecks chase Gump, Gump is forced to run. In the SEC running is a good thing and Bear Bryant agrees and so Gump is a star halfback at Alabama. It’s no big deal that he can barely write his name because he can play football. This means Rudy wouldn’t have had much of a chance to tackle him. Being a Southerner, Gump fights for his country while in Rudy’s part of the country people are burning draft cards. Gump excels at all sports and at life. He even gets the girl although that girl isn’t on the righteous path. Rudy just got a stupid jacket.
Gump also got an Oscar. As I said Rudy sucks.
WHEN IRISH COMMENTATORS ARE LYING
The point of the above treatise is to show that while having heart and making good grades is nice and all to win at football you need to know how to run.
And Alabama and the other teams in the SEC can run. Notre Dame cannot.
Alabama plays in a conference with the toughest schedule in the land and a championship game versus a top ten squad.
Notre Dame doesn’t even have a conference. They believe it’s 1937.
Both teams get a lot of media hype and attention. One can back it up.
If you watched the coverage leading up to the game Lou Holtz and his cohorts were predicting a Notre Dame slaughter. It was laughable. Never mind that Notre Dame played a weak schedule, barely survived against some weak opponents, was slow, and hasn’t been to the Big Show in two decades, and were playing the defending national champs. The media had them ranked #1 and they had heart.
But didn’t you see Rudy? Heart always wins.
That’s what Dr. Lou says.
ROSARIES VERSUS ROADSIDE SIGNS
This game had it all. It was the ultimate Northern school versus Southern school. Two classic programs who’ve added way more titles to their count than records seem to indicate. They have huge national fan bases. It pitted #1 versus #2. The game was to contain dozens of future NFL players led by two big-time coaches.
And it was a fight between Catholics and Southern Baptists.
Yep. Oh I know you heard about the “Catholics versus Cousins” t-shirts and all that, but what this really pitted was fandoms of the two biggest denominations on Sunday rooting for their respective congregants for their Saturday religion.
I have a feeling this is how it went down. Throughout Catholic America Notre Dame had quite a few prayer candles lit on the weeks leading up to the game, while in Southern Baptist pews Jesus was asked to work a few miracles for A.J. McCarren (and no by Jesus I don’t mean Tim Tebow). This game pitted intercession versus direct line Christianity.
I went to Catholic High School. I went to college in the SEC. I’m certain this is how it went down. It must have really been hard for Alabama Catholics….having to choose one religion over the other. Either way you choose you’re damned.
But remember folks, Jesus doesn’t care who wins the Super Bowl or the BCS championship for that matter. But that doesn’t stop you from praying.
RUDY KIND OF SUCKS AT FOOTBALL
Then there was the game itself. I had loudly predicted all week to all that would listen (and to others that had to listen anyway) that Alabama and the SEC would win. I reminded folks that Northerners play football while Southerners are fighting a war. I explained that the past six years were no joke. I harangued about Notre Dame’s media hype, lack of conference play, and weak schedule. I predicted an Alabama victory sure as the sun would come up the next day. But even I didn’t predict this much of a butt whooping.
It was a mismatch from the opening kickoff. Like bowls past the size and speed difference of the SEC teams was obvious. So long as conference teams stay disciplined and motivated (unlike say Florida) they tend to win the game. Saban was focused, which meant the team under penalty of death was focused, and the Crimson Tide started rolling.
Notre Dame’s best play was to complain about a couple questionable calls. Yep, that was pretty much it. They couldn’t run more than a couple yards, complete many passes with the exception of their tight end, and even more damning make any tackles. Eddie Lacy ran all over their vaunted defense, and when he got bored with that, they put in T.J. Yeldon and the freshman put up even more numbers. And when Alabama got tired of running they threw a few bombs down the field for touchdowns. The running game, the passing game, the defensive attack, and especially the offensive line were superior in every way.
All we heard about leading up to this game, and indeed all season was Notre Dame’s defense. Well, we stopped hearing about them after five minutes of the game. They never did much if they even showed up at all. Maybe they too were make believe. The biggest hit on A.J. McCarren was from his own center for being kind of a punk. You know That punk with the hot girlfriend.
A STAR IS BORN
Certainly you noticed. Brent Musberger soon noticed. Yep to no surprise to anyone living below the Mason-Dixon the star quarterback was dating Miss Alabama. And being Miss Alabama, or really about any coed down there, Miss Katherine Webb was hot. The amusing thing was Mr. Musberger doesn’t spend too much time on SEC campuses because this type of beauty is in force down there. We count our Miss America titles along with our National Championships (three each for my alma mater).
And so Brent and an obviously equally obsessed cameraman focused on the young Miss Katherine as she struck a pose and seemingly model-pouted through the game. Touchdown….strike a pose. But who can blame them? What else was there to see after the first half? I mean Alabama showed up so thus Notre Dame’s chances were gone. So Brent went on and on and on in a treatise on Southern belles. As I said, no one could blame him. Except the ninnies at ESPN. For some reason sports journalism had moved to the left of Pravda you know in order to be taken seriously. So Brent had to apologize. Seriously.
You know who didn’t mind? … the lady in question. For one thing, Southern women aren’t insulted by polite compliments (not leering)any more than door opening. For another thing judging by subsequent TV appearances a star was born. It’s all about ratings. And in the South our coeds also command bigger ratings.
MORE ACCURATE THAN LOU HOLTZ (MAYBE NOT AS FUNNY)
I suppose all this bored most of America. They were looking for a close game. Perhaps they were looking for the SEC to finally get their comeuppance. But it didn’t happen. It was never going to happen. Heck this wasn’t even the best or fifth best Yankee team to throw in there.
Y’all may have been bored at the lack of drama but that’s because you thought this was a drama. I saw this as a comedy texting to my contact list how very funny this all was. Everyone should have known this was going to be a butt kicking of Marse Robert proportions. But then again not everyone reads this blog. I need ratings. Maybe my Katherine Webb cartoon will help.
I know that it’s been nearly a month since the bowl season, and nearly two months since my last post. I’ve been truant in the blogosphere. Another SEC -dominant bowl whooping went down and your Southern Blogger wasn’t around to detail it.
I had a good reason. I got injured. Playing whiffle ball with my nephew on Christmas. Yep I’m pretty tough. It was nothing too big at first, just a little soreness that turned into a big soreness, which turned into tendonitis. If you’ve never had the pleasure of tendonitis it sucks. I’d rather watch General Sherman eat cheese fries with ranch dressing while singing the Ohio State fight song than have tendonitis. So yeah, it sucks.
Add to that a little carpal tunnel symptoms associated with my injury and it makes it hard to draw and type. But I’m in physical therapy three times a week and trying to manage things. Well, slowly but surely I’ve drawn 14 pictures and have two posts worked up about the bowl season. It’s a bit outdated, and I’m out of practice but here goes…
Rising Again: Every Bowl Season
I love bowl season. It’s like hunting season only the “game” is Yankee running backs. It’s “put up or shut up time” where every year the SEC puts up with anti-South diatribes and accusations of cheating and then pummels the opposition causing them to shut up. And for the seventh straight year we proved once again who the best is.
One of my favorite blogs is Saturdays Down South. On one post a commenter mentioned “some of you guys equate the SEC with the Confederacy”. I think he was talking about me. Every time I see a Big Ten school get pummeled I fist pump like it’s 1863. It’s Gettysburg folks, only this time George Pickett is 6’6” and runs a 4.4 40.
This year we had nine of our fourteen (if you count Missouri) Southern armies/schools going up against the rest. The ESPN types, Oregon homers, Golden Domers, and Ohio State fans sitting on probation said “this year…THIS bowl season” would be different. It wasn’t. It never is.
Even Our Nerds Can Ball
The first game we had NC State versus Vanderbilt. This was clearly an undercard. First of all NC State is a Southern enough school on the right side of the sweet tea line but wrong side of the football is cooler than basketball debate. And they went up against Vanderbilt, not exactly the typical SEC school. They actually go to class…players too. Yeah, hard to believe.
But Vandy has gotten much better of late. They sent the Wolf Pack to the kennels and handed them a beat down. Since it was the Music City Bowl nobody really watched. Sad, because they missed seeing a real up and coming team. Even our nerds can ball.
Not Everyone Got the Memo
But like any great drama there was a bit of a scary moment when it looked like our braggadocio would backfire and I’d have to write a post defending Yankee football. Well…or at least go back to writing about barbecue. Three of our teams lost to non-SEC opponents. They let us down.
The first to backfire was perhaps the most excusable. LSU blew a big lead against Clemson. What makes it excusable is that Clemson is the most SEC-like (along with Florida State) of any non-SEC team. Clemson’s Boyd can throw and run and had experience in big games. Clemson usually wins their bowls and has a fast defense and good play calling.
But LSU had something too…a big lead going into the fourth quarter. Then the lead got smaller. And smaller. And smaller until LSU had the chance to escape with a victory by icing the clock. Cool Les, all you’ve got to do is throw in a few running plays and get a first down and you’re out of there. At worst, you can go three and out and leave a few seconds of the clock.
Well clocks and Les Miles don’t really go together. I don’t think he believes in the same space-time continuum that you and I do. He ran three straight passing plays and no first down. The space-time continuum if you will stopped long enough for Clemson to get the ball back and score.
Then there was Florida. They’re the so-called #3 team in the country. They were going up against Louisville of the Big East. This is like candy from a baby. Only stealing is a penalty and that’s what we found out Florida was good at…penalties.
As in three in a row….personal foul, personal foul, personal foul on the coach. Kind of hard to win when the other team is walking all over the yellow flag carpet into the end zone. Will Muschamp is a hothead and clearly he controls his players no better than his temper. Florida chumped out, embarrassing the SEC and breaking bowl pick ‘em pools everywhere (including mine).
Then came New Year’s Day. The SEC was a shocking 1-2 and people were starting to talk. Then Mississippi State and their no-neck coach down Southeast rolled into town to play the nerdiest school this side of the Commodores…the Theorizing’ Wildcats of Northwestern.
Northwestern hasn’t defeated a bowl opponent since Dewey defeated Truman or rather Truman defeated Dewey in an upset. I guess they were hungry. I guess they figured out an algorithm that forecasted their victory. Or perhaps they consulted the forced with their plastic light sabres or held a séance which guaranteed their offensive prowess. Or maybe…just maybe they figured that Mullen’s mullets were the most overrated team in the country with a baby schedule and hammered them.
I have to say of all the SEC losses that one was the best. I’m of the school of thought that you hold your nose and root for the whole conference…but still as an Ole Miss alumnus, this one was pretty funny.
The problem was, that left the SEC looking bad. All the usual network talking heads were jumping on the idea that this was a bad year for the SEC. But while the bulldogs were getting chased up the tree by the ‘Cats other better teams were taking care of business.
Taking Care of Business
In a well-predicted shootout the Georgia Bulldogs were duking it out with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. On the one hand Georgia could have been feeling a let-down after coming close to a BCS title shot after losing to Alabama. On the other hand, Nebraska is a pretty tough Northern football team with size, speed, good coaching, and NFL prospects.
In Georgia’s favor Mark Richt has a disciplined team. While he blew last year’s bowl he had his team prepared to air it out with the best of them. If you can hang with Alabama, well then you can hang with anybody. Also in their favor was Aaron Murray a pocket style passer with a first round draft selection to Oak-Cleve-land in his not too distant future. While Nebraska could air it out too, they didn’t have the defense that the Dawgs were bringing and the SEC notched it back up.
The Tackle Heard ‘Round the World
Simultaneously the South Carolina Gamecocks were in the ring with the winged helmets of Ann Arbor. We’ve been told that Meecheegan was coming back to their former glory and could hang with the SEC. Well they didn’t really hang very long early in the year when ranked #4 and getting stuffed by the Tide and well they didn’t hang in the end against Sakir Liner.
Funny thing about winged helmets. They can fly. At least when a player wearing one gets bulldozed by Jadeveon Clowney. In the greatest Southern defensive barrage since Fredericksburg Clowney got revenged on Michigan moments after the worst call in NCAA history (not involving Notre Dame). The referee had just called a first down after a fourth down play was stopped. The ball was six inches from the first down line. The chains were clear. Six inches. That was farther than Steve Spurrier’s face was from the ref after screaming and jumping up and down after that dubious pronouncement.
At that point the game was on the line and was the SEC’s bowl dominance. A Michigan win would be a strong blow for Bluecoated football fandom. And then came the next play. BOOM!!! In a split second I saw a Michigan player get flattened and then the ball come out in a fumble. Clowney had bowled over the line, crushed the Michigan running back forcing off the helmet ten feet in the air and then palmed the football. It’s like you’re playing nerf ball with some kid, taking it easy, and then that kid kicks you in a non-cool place to kick you. You catch your breath, get mad and well take the nerf ball from the baby.
It was 3-3
Johnny Bowl Season
The next game was to be a bellwether. In a matchup of former Big 12 foes the Texas A&M Aggies were going up against Bob Stoops (the shortest neck this side of Dan Mullen) and his Oklahoma Sooners. It was supposedly even. ESPN big-time Boomer Sooners said so. Well “shockingly” the folks in Bristol, CT were wrong again.
See Texas A&M had Johnny Football. Johnny Football not only plays quarterback, throws, and runs well, and had won the Heisman…no siree. Johnny Football composed symphonies when he was 6, cornered the stock market, solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while riding a unicycle and juggling, has a 7.2 GPA because he teaches his own classes, rescues cats from trees, and children from burning buildings and may in fact be a child of a deity. At least according to the play-by-play men.
Well one thing is for sure, Johnny Football and the Aggies completely gutted the Sooners. The wheels of the wagon fell off. Welcome to the SEC kid. We’re glad to have you.
Yep…Even Ole Miss
Now it was Ole Miss’ turn. Say what you want about us we win our bowl games even if they’re often bowl games no one else watches.
This however is a team on the rise lead by first-year coach Hugh Freeze aka Freezus. Freeze is the Mississippi reared Archie Manning hand-picked replacement for Houston Nutt. He’s a disciplinarian, a father-figure, a good recruiter, and an excellent play caller. In other words he’s the opposite of Houston Nutt.
Ole Miss was playing their own Big East opponent in Pitt but unlike Florida the Rebs didn’t take this game for granted even though this was in Birmingham, AL. While Birmingham has the failed iron industry and empty buildings that make any Pittsburgher homesick it is in fact much closer to Oxford, MS as the sea of red in the crowd showed. A 6-6 team played a 6-6 team but of course one of those 6-6 teams had played Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, and LSU.
It wasn’t even close. Sure the Rebs won a BCPM Bumpus Compass Bowl in a broken stadium, in a broken town, in a part of town you don’t want to be broken down in, on the bad ratings time slot of bowl season, with a trophy that looked like pretty bad aluminum modern art. All true. But we won and got to say “S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C”. Mississippi State didn’t get to do that.
5-3 with Alabama and Notre Dame to go. The ultimate North vs. South contest.
That’s coming next post. Soon I promise. – SB