Friday, November 07, 2008

University of Alabama Football Report for 11/7/08

Strange business, this making history. Stranger still to know one is making it while it happens, that one’s every step is hounddogged by a memory that will outlive one’s own.

This is as good a week as any to think about it. On Sunday, Alabama made its debut atop the BCS poll. On Monday, the University of Tennessee fired longtime nemesis and fitness icon Philip Fulmer. And on Tuesday, black President. At this rate, I thought we’d hit National Sex-with-Scarlett-Johansson Day by Thursday just to keep pace.

Of course, we’re talking degrees here, nuance not equivalence. But aren’t we always? Besides, you don’t take a direct path from the back of the bus to the White House to Mount Rushmore. Degrees matter. That’s how a 6 percent margin becomes a landside and 44 becomes a lucky number.

As for Fulmer, despite impromptu feel of his slovenly, blubbery address to the public this week, his departure has been a long time coming. You need only compare the conviction of his words with the truth on the field to know his time has come, and gone. Some men are born for failure, while others have failure thrust upon them.

Alabama, contrarily, seems determined to undersell its expectations and overperform on its return. Like the new President, the Great Leader displays what the pundit class call “message discipline.” Repeat with me the articles of faith:

External factors are no influence on our preparation.

The scoreboard has no bearing relative to a player’s goal of dominating his opposition.

Process. Process. Process.

Thus is the Zen nihilism of our Great Leader, the negation of all things beyond the 100-yard field upon which his life’s work takes place.

During the Great Leader’s Wednesday press conference, in which he was asked if he talked to the team about the presidential election and the importance of voting (as did his counterpart in LSU). He said the subject did not come up and that, as a rule, he doesn't really discuss politics—whether with the team or anybody. In fact, he did not know who won the election until someone told him that morning before practice.

Alabama has a coach so focused on football that he doesn't notice when a black guy becomes President.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but this making history, it can be a hell of a lot of fun.

Roll Tide.