Friday, October 03, 2008

University of Alabama Football Report for 10/3/08

Uneasy lies the head et cetera, et cetera. But Lord am I tired of hedging bets. Many years ago, I was sitting a few chairs down from one of Umberto Eco’s translators and a girl wearing nothing more than a smile and a pair of glittery high-heels asked me, “Why so sad?”

It’s a good question. And if she weren’t likely, as they all exit the stage, in a grave or on a church pew, I’d have half a mind to give her an answer. If I had one, that is.

There comes a time when a gambler, with all due respect to Kenny Rogers, has to know what he doesn’t know and give in to the chaos, remembering that past performance is no guarantee of future results, that statistical evidence is but a summary or sampling of prior data, an unchanging snapshot of no bearing on an uncertain future.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer . . .

It takes a healthy restraint to remember that even the most beautiful wedding photos are but the work of lighting and poses. The numbers bear out that most of those pictures will end up boxed up, thrown out, or torn to pieces—no matter how pretty they are. It was the translator’s first trip to a strip club, his soon-to-be ex-wife would later tell me.

The two most relevant numbers from last week’s AP poll were 62 and zero, the number of first place votes received by, now, one-loss USC and, then and now, unbeaten Oklahoma, respectively. The other three first place votes were divided between Georgia and Florida, meaning that every college sports writer in the AP poll saw, in their opinion, the top team in the nation lose last week. Well, they’ll learn to love again.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .

Still, even though this gives some credence to not using the AP poll in the BCS rankings, it's a healthy indicator. After all, we should remember that in today’s football, being number two is as good as being number one. It takes two to tango.

The last I heard of the translator was that he’d found, following the legal necessities, a happy ending elsewhere. The best kind too. The kind that doesn’t end.

And without projecting or discounting the rest of the season—for God help us, things have turned ugly quick around here in the past—let’s simply assess where Alabama is at this moment and name the potential outcome: Alabama has in front of it a clear road to, at least, the number two BCS ranking and a spot in the national title game—all of this before October.

Again, as we all caution ourselves, this is a team that hasn’t beaten Auburn or LSU since well before its seniors were driving age, a team that hasn’t beaten Mississippi State in two tries, and managed a loss to Louisiana-Monroe—but to hell with all that. Any losses from this point forward—and there will probably be some—won’t come from lack of effort. Those are some big men up front and some hard runners behind them; better still, more are on the way. You will have to beat Alabama because they sure as hell aren’t going to beat themselves.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere . . .
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

Roll Tide.