Friday, October 24, 2008

University of Alabama Football Report for 10/24/08

Our labor knows no rest.
Our mountains crumble,
Our mountains crumble.

--Song of the Emperor Wu, second century B.C.

The Third Saturday in October arrives a week late this year, yet another testament to how broken the organism is. I cannot eat my vegetables for fear of disease. I cannot cross a bridge for fear of its collapse. I cannot kiss my imported, miniature, Chinese choo-choo trains for fear of poison. I cannot pass out facedown on Bourbon Street for fear of drowning. And I cannot set my calendar by college football.

One hopes the new administration will remedy these ills.

Logistics aside, another sign of entropy befell beloved nose tackle and geographic wonder Terrence Cody, who left last week’s game against Ole Miss with a knee injury. Given Cody’s folk-tale-like proportions (slimming down from a high watermark of 400-plus pounds to a svelte 360), it’s a minor miracle that those knees haven’t declared a strike before now.

“Mount” Cody (a.k.a. “Kitchen,” a.k.a. “Zip Code”) became a fan favorite not only by bulling through centers on rushing downs but also contrasting the terror of his physique with the pleasance of his personality. The love affair was inevitable. What else can one do with a monster who breaks furniture around the house yet dozes off to the Cartoon Network under his Spiderman sheets?

Play him at fullback? Sure thing. As it is, Alabama will go at least two weeks without their newest lead blocker or their full rotation at nose tackle.

Football is perhaps man’s least successful attempt in warding off chaos and, therefore, our most useful test case. When something goes wrong on a football field, by God, everyone can tell. Things can get ugly quick (ask Tony Franklin).

The most worrisome and the most heartening aspect of Alabama’s season thus far is that the team has yet to play a complete game. Their number-two ranking spurs from a string of mostly dominant performances put up in the first half of each game this season, followed by a deflating second half. It hasn’t cost Alabama a win yet, but . . .

For Tennessee to beat Alabama tomorrow, everything will need to go right for them. However, for Alabama to lose, very little will need to go wrong. If this bothers you, then you’re probably a baseball fan.

Each game should be a learning experience for the one that follows. By extension, then, the first half of any game should prepare the team to play better in the second half. This has not been a trait of the Crimson Tide in recent years, but the mark of a well-coached team is that they should improve as the season continues.

The second half of the season begins, and where Alabama needs to improve is clear: they merely need to overcome the second law of thermodynamics.

Roll Tide.