Thursday, August 18, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
Once again it is hash and bash time in the SEC.
As has been the norm for innumerable years now, there has been a tendency to bash the Alabama Crimson Tide in the pre-season. Can you really put a steady finger on a solid reason for this attempt at denigration? Naturally, all true followers of the rolling Tide are just going to say “tough nougats” or “sour grapes.”
This season, right after the pre-season polls were released, the Tide emerged as number two in the Coaches’ Poll, and almost immediately there was a flurry of questions on Alabama’s worthiness.
Some believed this was highly elevated since the Tide finished the season previous (2010) with a standing at number 16 after starting the season ranked number one. Alabama had a conference record of 5-3 and an overall of 9-3. If you are a team lucky enough to be in the greatest conference in the NCAA, a final record of 9-3 is not only respectable, it is stellar.
The strength of the SEC was clearly mirrored in the Coaches’ Poll with eight teams taking up positions in the Top 25. However, the number one spot eluded all of them, including the Auburn Tigers which was listed at 19. This is not at all unusual since some teams don’t maintain that highest rating after winning a national title. Florida was number three and LSU was four.
The rest of the teams were outside of the Top 10 and included South Carolina (12), Arkansas (14), Mississippi State (20) and Georgia (22). It is interesting to note that Miss. State kept that position in the CBS Sports 120, fell one step in the BCS rankings and rose five slots in the AP. Auburn was listed at number one in the AP, CBS 120 and the BCS.
One blogger listed 10 reasons why the Tide is hated by some of the minions. They won’t be repeated here but it could be likened to one of my many New Mexico stories. In the ’60s the United States Air Force was shifting global priorities and returned the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing to the U.S. from France. When the unit arrived in New Mexico it had a new commander, a “spit and polish” colonel. His tactics were pretty much like those of General Patton of WWII fame. After the unit had been there for about six months, the commander found that the non-commissioned officer retention rate was below sea level. He put the word out that he would personally interview any NCO with more than 10 years who had opted not to re-enlist.
His first referral was a man who was quitting after 13 years. The colonel told the man to go home and write 13 reasons why he was not continuing his career. The airman returned the next day and handed the commander a sheet of paper with the colonel’s name listed 13 times.
And since Alabama has won 13 titles, the detractors could easily expand that “why we hate Alabama” list from 10 to 13.
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