The two-minute column

The two-minute column, the $3.50 hotdog and the $32 million coach
By Hunter Ford

I’m writing this column in two minute mode so don’t bother pointing out simple typos. Ttry reading it in two minutes and you wonnt notice.

I’ve got two time-outs and the clock stops briefly at the end of every sentence.

I’m doing this under pressure, in a hurry, with intensity, and precision in front of cheering teammates (co-workers) and fans (whoever reads this). I thought, heck, if it works so well for Alabama and JP Wilson, why wouldn’t it work for me.

Who needs a methodical, carefully planned, time-consuming drive (or blog) when you can rush through it just as well??

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Under normal circumstances, JP Wilson couldn’t deliver a pass to a receiver if he used UPS. What are we gonna do about it? Maybe start Greg McElroy and only play JP at the end of each half?

I got into an argument with a fellow Alabama fan over the Saban situation. “Man we are paying this jerk millions to perform just as well as Mike Shula,” I said indignantly.

“Hey man!” said my friend. “He’s gonna turn it around, we’ve lost to Florida State and Georgia man, get a grip! You and all the other media hacks will be harping on his salary every time he loses. Get over it! Why does it bother you anyway?”

Well for starters, the Alabama coaches’ movie star salaries should be earned with some blockbuster wins. And, I pointed out to my friend that the face value of end zone tickets is $55 and Bryant-Denny concession stands charge $3.50 for a 25-cent hotdog. You can’t tell me the cost of the salaries and the recent renovations to the stadium doesn’t get passed on to the fan. And most of us can’t afford the luxury skyboxes.

With that off my chest, I must admit I was too harsh on Saban and company in the wake of a disappointing loss to the Seminoles. It sounded like Bowden’s tribe got more inspiration out of the Tide tradition than our own boys in Crimson.

But, over time, I’m sure Saban will do fine at the Capstone. I wonder how many LSU fans wanted to send him packing when he lost to UAB in his first season? Those impatient souls would have forfeited two SEC titles, a national championship and a powerhouse talent pool that is still drowning the rest of the competition.

It has been rough being an Alabama fan since Gene Stalling’s last season in 1996. When Bebes closed his Crimson career with a win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl it marked one of the few really quality wins we would see in an entire decade of football. The Mike Dubose era saw us beat Florida twice in the same year to claim an SEC Title. But mixed in with that were losses to La. Tech (twice) Central Florida, Kentucky, an embarrassing bowl loss to Virginia Tech and a shoulda, coulda, woulda loss to Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

Franchione had a big win at Auburn in his first season. He then followed it up in 2002 by destroying Saban’s LSU team in Baton Rouge and by ending a losing streak to Tennessee. But Franchione era was over before it really sunk in. Shula took two years to earn his signature wins over Florida and Tennessee in 2005. In 2003 Mikey lost to Northern Illinois and Hawaii. In 2004 he lost to every quality opponent. In 2006, Shula again lost to every quality opponent, unless you call the “revenge game” against Hawaii a “quality” win for Alabama…and wouldn’t that be sad?

So, what we are facing here, in 2007, is a team that has shown potential, but still hasn’t put together a complete game against competent competition. In its remaining games, the Tide will face a pass-happy Houston team, two scrappy Mississippi teams, traditional rivals Tennessee and Auburn, and the formidable LSU Tigers. Only La. Monroe should be considered a sure victory.

Give the Tide victories over Houston and the Mississippi teams, plus La. Monroe and it’s a respectable 7-5 showing, but with no glittery, marquee wins. Is it too much to ask a multi-millionaire and his highly paid staff to carve out at least one diamond from this coal mine? Or am I being too impatient?