It’s been said there are two seasons in Alabama: football season and the offseason.
Football season in this state is wild enough, with enough ups and downs to keep a Prozac salesman busy. But the offseason is where the drama usually happens.
It was in the offseason that we learned about the “rumors” that Mike Dubose vehemently denied in May of 2000, which happened to be a bit more.
It was in the offseason of 2003 that we learned that Mike Price loved him some strippers.
In 2006, the death of Logan Young took the cake. Young, the controversial figure at the center of Alabama’s NCAA woes from 2002, was found dead in his multimillion dollar home. First Memphis police ruled the bloody scene a homicide. Then, days later, retracted that thought, saying he simply fell and hit his head. The smell hitting your nostrils still wafts of fishiness, doesn’t it? Five years later it still doesn’t add up.
The offseason of 2009 was eventful, when a fishing trip with a man from a staunch Auburn family “who didn’t really know Julio Jones or Mark Ingram played football” took the headlines. Other inducements were given by this “innocent, well-meaning citizen.” Girl, please.
And don’t forget last year, when Marcel Darius, this year’s No. 3 pick in the NFL draft, found himself at a party in Miami he shouldn’t have been at. Alabama, who suspends its players when under suspicion of wrongdoing (rather than making them their starting quarterback at other schools) held his eligibility in question through the beginning of the 2010 season.
But this year has been different. This year it’s been taken to a whole new level, and I can’t remember an off-season with as many twists and turns.
And we’re not even halfway through May.
First you had Eric Smith, Auburn’s resident felon, getting arrested again and finally, through Frank Chiznik’s 18 strikes and you’re out program, getting booted from the team.
Then you had Al from Dadeville admitting on the Finebaum Radio Network to poisoning the Toomer’s Corner trees. The public outcry and somber tree hug from the Auburn
cult fambly was nothing short of embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as the “Tide for Toomers” fund that followed. Talk about self-loathing.
Next you had Auburn’s felony four Mike McNeil (a starter last season), Shaun Kitchens, Antonio Goodwin and Dakota Mosley getting busted (amazingly) by Auburn police for robbery and a host of other charges. The publicity forced Chiznik to bypass the first 17 strikes and dismiss them from the team.
Next up, Cyrus Kouandjio’s and Brent Calloway’s decommitment from Bama, commitment to Auburn, and then recommitment to Alabama was a firestorm that could’ve carried the off-season by itself. Jeffrey Lee, Auburn’s un-credible auburnsports.com writer and operator, again made a clown of himself alleging complete and utter manure in hopes that some of it would stick. None did, and Mr. Lee again took the trophy as the biggest Auburn goober in the state. Rumor is that he declined the prize: a lifetime supply of toothpaste, whitening strips and oral hygiene products.
The NCAA took the headlines next as it looked into possible Auburn links to the use of street agents in recruiting. Oregon’s involvement with an agent from Texas broke the story, but slowly the leaks began to trickle toward Lee County as Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson had a little sit down with NCAA investigators. Other whispers toward a pattern of street agent usage in Arkansas with Gus Malzahn’s longtime relationship with Walt Williams began to rise to the surface.
Then you had the Abarn idiots who proclaimed in excited jubilee that since the NCAA had not hit Auburn with sanctions within the apparent 48 hour window that they think is feasible, that “thar’s nuthin’ to it all…jus bammer lies!!!!” The reality that the NCAA works at the speed of an invalid snail but packs the punch of a Grizzly when they finally get to you simply escaped them.
Next the HBO four went public proclaiming what the rest of us have known for decades: (1.) The Alabama game IS their season, and (2.) Cheating continues to be rampant at Auburn. The NCAA also added these four to the ongoing Cam Newton investigation (as admitted by Jay Jacobs just this week), the use of street agents, and other areas “of interest” down on the plains. But again because the NCAA didn’t immediately tweet their findings, jubilee returned to Lee County “cuz weeze allllll cleyahh!!!”
Then side-splitting hilarity ensued as Jay Jacobs admitted that Auburn began planning to erect statues of its two Heisman winners in the spring of 2010. Though banished from the fambly for some reason, Pat Sullivan would join the overweight and bloated Vincent Jackson in a statue threesome with John Heisman. Didn’t matter that Heisman is best-known for his sixteen years at Georgia Tech. The fact that he stepped on campus made him statue material (Rumor has it Kentucky is planning a similar statue of Bear Bryant on their campus). Now let’s see….what had just happened in our state during that period that would lead Abarn to want to erect statues? Oh yeah! Bama was about to add it’s fifth statue of national championship head coaches to its walk of fame. The little man’s syndrome apparently continues, and Auburn’s bought cow from 2010 would eventually make the plans a foursome.
Next the Saban statue was unveiled at A-Day, where Alabama again set a record for attendance at a spring game with 92,310. Little did we all know that just 10 days later the shape of this off-season, and for many their lives, would change forever.
April 27, 2011, the worst tornado outbreak in our state’s history, the second worst natural disaster and the third deadliest storm in U.S. history ripped through the state of Alabama, with the biggest of the twisters touching down in Tuscaloosa. Missing the campus by yards, it and other tornadoes took the lives of hundreds, forever changing the perspective on what is and isn’t important in life.
Not wanting to miss a chance at some PR, the Abarn Fambly manufactured “Toomers for Tuscaloosa”, making sure TV crews captured their good will efforts while decked out head to toe in Auburn gear. When a friend told me of a co-worker comparing the Toomer’s Corner tree incident to the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa, I almost vomited in my mouth. The cult mindset never lets up, even in tragedy.
News of Frank Chiznik’s upcoming book crept into the news; the prolific loser apparently had the nerve to write a book about how to win, combined with his artificial faith (Remember the “it’s a God thing” comment after the Clemson game?…WTH???). Can’t wait to read chapter one: Buy a lightning-in-a-bottle player and then attribute one fluke season as a successful career. I literally may buy the book so I can take a dump on it.
Finally, news broke yesterday that Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas had passed away overnight, the result of a possible overdose. A junior college transfer, Douglas had reportedly battled depression and substance issues in the past. Douglas had figured into the Tide’s plans for the future, though with the move of Barrett Jones to left tackle it was unclear after spring if he would break into the starting lineup. Still, any news of a young man (in his case 21) yielding his life to excess is cause to circle your family around you and remind them again about the frailty and importance of life.
And like I said, so far that has been our off-season….and we haven’t even reached May 15th yet. With two and a half more months until fall camp, can’t we just stop now?