Friday, November 02, 2007

University of Alabama Football Report for 11/02/07

He can take his'n and beat your'n. Then he can take your'n and beat his'n.
--Clemson head coach Frank Howard about, well . . . you know

The charm and the curse of hypotheticals is the haven they provide for bullshitters of the finest caliber. Stephen Lee Glashow took his charm quarks and bolted Harvard, perhaps outrunning the posse with noose, or string, in hand, for such thinking. After all, it’s one thing to go around propping up the Lagrangian for electroweak symmetry, but quite another to start spying fermions around every corner . . . one assumes.

Perhaps Glashow is right, but how can he prove it? Or not? If all your opponents are peddling is images no one can see and math no one can tally, your old-time religion doesn’t know which direction the SuperCollider is pointed, now does it?

Besides, Kaku has a voice for radio and hair for movies, and Hawking does cameos on Star Trek and The Simpsons. Even the geeks have abandoned ye.

The hypothetical is ironclad because it’s less than paper-thin. It’s impervious to attack because it’s not there. It’s beyond stealth, captain--it's nihilism with tap shoes. And the more outlandish it appears, the better for making your point. It’s fully predictable because it can’t happen.

Until now.

Of the 22 starting players for LSU, 17 were recruited by Alabama’s current head coach. This is as close to his’n and your’n as you’re likely to get.

But what advantage does that really create? And for whom? Ask any team in the nation if they’d allow the Great Leader to head up their off-season recruiting efforts, and you’ll see what they really think of our man even if they hate him. He has an eye for talent, but most of it will be wearing purple and gold Saturday.

But so LSU is talented. Many a mediocre team takes the field because the great victories in February don’t transfer to October. Tennessee proves that point clearly. However, LSU has not been accused of mediocrity for a long time now.

In fact, looking back on the teams’ last contests, Alabama’s drumming of the Volunteers impresses the casual viewer and committed fan alike. Before the game even ended the third quarter, a devotee said to me, “this team could beat LSU.” So persuaded was he by the spectacle.

Myself, I held silent. Certainly this was an improved Alabama team, and they would have looked so even in defeat to be honest. But beat LSU? Sure, Kentucky did it, but Alabama can do very little of what Kentucky does very well. So I enjoyed the win and was grateful I would have two weeks in which to see it fade into nothing, knowing that the undeniable awaited this team when LSU came to town.

And I would be lying if I said that seeing the fans say such foolishness wasn’t part of the fun, especially given how angered and despondent they were this time last year. So those words--this team could beat LSU--stuck around for a while, rattling about for the rest of the night as I watched LSU and Auburn play.

As Auburn, who lost to Mississippi State and South Florida, hung tough with LSU, I was still unconvinced. Perhaps LSU thinks this a trap game. Perhaps they are feeling the effects of the brutal conference schedule. Their bye week will remedy that, and thus, the inevitable slaughter.

But then I watched perhaps the most rock-headed and ill-advised coaching decision of the year turn up aces for LSU as the clock rolled to zero. And I waited for LSU’s coach to vomit up the praises to the football gods that are necessary when such fortune befalls his team: credit to the opposition, thankful for the win, happy for the players, got a good break.

Instead, he said, “oh no, we had plenty of time.”

And then I thought, this team could lose to Alabama.

Roll Tide.

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