Just how bad is this Saturday’s slate of college football games? Well, thanks to Auburn and Tennessee sucking, ESPN’s GameDay is broadcasting from Fargo, North Dakota. Use to, Auburn-LSU or Tennessee-Florida matchups would call for the world wide leader’s premiere college football show to set sail immediately for one of the two campuses. In this media driven world, the media feels it has to create storylines for its lower-shelf viewers to follow.
For instance, in Baton Rouge, we have the Georgia-reject bowl, where issue has been made of LSU Quarterback Zach Mettenberger and Auburn QB Nick Marshall being former members of the Bulldog program (though as much publicized Marshall was a defensive back at the time).
In Gainseville, there aren’t enough ingredients to that game for anyone to conjure up anything worth partaking of. Florida isn’t your father’s Gators, and Tennessee’s string of abysmal play looks to be continuing (thankfully).But in Tuscaloosa, we see just how bad this week really is. The “big story” has been a rogue member of the Texas board of regents contacting Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s agent some eight months ago to gauge his interest in the Texas job. Not this week, not last week…heck, not last month, but eight months ago, following the Tide’s latest National Championsip. A recruiting period, a signing day, a spring practice, an SEC coaches summit, a summer vacation, an SEC Media Days, a summer camp, and two games later, Nick Saban still appears to be entrenched in Tuscaloosa.
Is it really news when a used-to-be top program wants to just see if the top coach in the land is interested in their possible opening? Isn’t that one of the perils/perks of being married to a supermodel, that everyone wants to look, but they can’t have? It is a privilege to have a coach everybody else wants because it means he (and Bama) is doing something right.
The University of Alabama broke unprecedented ground when it handed the keys to its kingdom to Nick Saban…exclusively, without interference. We also clearly forget that Nick Saban wasn’t the Nick Saban we know until he came to Alabama. A great coach, yes. Obviously. But before 2009, he had never had back-to-back 10-win seasons, much less back-to-back National Championships. The formula in Tuscaloosa has been a powder keg of success, one that is not guaranteed elsewhere no matter how green the grass may appear. And make no mistake; UA can match any financial offer he might receive elsewhere.
And while so many like to cue the soundbyte of him saying he wasn’t leaving the Dolphins for Alabama, the same folks tend to skip over the dozens of hooks placed in his waters from other teams, pro and college, that he continues to swim past, keeping his word every time.
But still, this non-story was the story this week because the competition on the field is so bad. So thank you Ohio State for playing Florida A&M. Thank you Auburn and Tennessee for being the suck. Thank you FSU for playing Bethune-Cookman. And yes, Bama hosts Colorado State, but that game at least has some fervor because of the Ram’s head coach being a recent member to the Tide’s coaching staff. Oh well. On to the picks…
Last week was much kinder to this prognosticator, going 7-0 on the day, taking the overall record up to 14-7 on the season.
Colorado State @ Alabama
The much publicized Jim McElwain return to Bryant-Denny Stadium will be well-received in Tuscaloosa today. With all the rain in Colorado and subsequent damage, it’s a sick joke that it’ll be a wet one in Tuscaloosa as well. It’s also interesting that with all the criticism Nick Saban takes of being a tyrant to work for, all of his coaches when asked about their experiences under Saban gush about him, as has McElwain in interviews. You don’t have to do that; there is a way to offer respect without endorsement. Still, TJ Yeldon sitting the first quarter for a personal foul penalty in last week’s game won’t have any effect…a gesture I personally saw Johnny Manziel make no less than six times without penalty the rest of the game. But, I digress…
The rain stops this afternoon, Bama rolls, but the critics identify something else over which we should all be worried about this team.
Colorado State 7
Tennessee @ Florida
The battle of two ungood teams. Florida is just kind of ungood. Tennessee is delightfully terrible. Maybe Butch Jones can whip out his trumpet in the Vol locker room and rally the troops. Prolly not…
Kansas State @ Texas
Mack Brown is fighting for his life, but I’ve read this script before, circa Alabama 2000. The team quits as the sharks encircle the dingy. The team that has historically done more with less tops the team that historically has done less with more, and the Mack Brown watch continues.
Kansas State 35
Auburn @ LSU
The Gus Bus blows a tire in Baton Rouge today. I’ve actually heard Auburn fans trying to talk themselves into believing this team can match the magically improbable season of 2010, desperately trying to connect dots between Cam Newton and Nick Marshall. Truly a delusional bunch they are. Auburn fan, you have experienced your sole season like that in your lifetime, and to this point in the season you have met half of your win total for 2013. Be happy with that.
Arizona State @ Stanford
Physical football wins over finesse again as Stanford and their stupid band hand the Sun Devils what they deserved against Wisconsin last week.
Arizona State 10
Troy @ Mississippi State
The Dan Mullen watch will continue today. If he hasn’t already, Mullen needs to send Mack Brown a thank you card for taking the eyes off of himself. He’ll need it when Troy upsets the Bulldogs today in Starkville.
Mississippi St. 24
Marshall @ Virginia Tech
Frank Beamer’s squad will continue to show why the Alabama offense struggled against them. They are one of the tops in the land.
Virginia Tech 23