Friday, July 24, 2009

University of Alabama Football Report: SEC Media Days Edition

Day 1: We Control the Horizontal

Mike Slive knows no cure for hubris.

The commissioner of the SEC and carnival barker for the greatest show on field turf uses the opening day of what, despite its official rebranding as the conference kick-off, is still known to the lokes as “media days” to grandstand a bit (“if the SEC were a nation, it would have placed fourth in the Olympic medal count”).

Presently, he is on stage to announce an expanded television contract with ESPN, extending the SEC’s broadcast reach into 47% of American’s households before the sun’s even at a high angle. By this I mean the dissolution of the Holy Dave Trinity that accompanies the early-morning SEC game each Saturday in the fall.

Over the years its UHF broadcast flew under various official corporate banners--Jefferson Pilot, Lincoln Financial, Raycom--and unofficially, albeit affectionately, as the “hangover game” or the Bloody Mary Bowl.

It is appropriate first day topic because the four teams represented today, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt, will represent the conference’s east and west divisions the majority of the time during these broadcasts. Greats swaths of our nation, from Phoenix to Newark, from Oak Park to Portland, will have “ESS EEE SEE foo-baw” for breakfast for the first time.

Southern transplants, in case you have forgotten, the preferred recipe is one shot over ice, three squirts of hot sauce, four squirts of Worcestershire, one twist of black pepper, fill with tomato juice, stir with a teaspoon of horseradish, top with two olives.

You have your orders.

Quote of the day: “I am on stage,” via Twitter from Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.

Day 2: Last Night a DJ Ruined My Life

The recent dust up between Florida coach Urban Meyer and professional moron baiter Paul Finebaum reminds one of a joke political reporters tell each other at Washington cocktail parties about political reporters at Washington cocktail parties.

It goes as follows: A reporter named John Smith attends a party held in the home of a prominent political figure when, to the surprise of the guests, in walks the President of the United States. (Which one differs with each telling. Most prefer Teddy Roosevelt. Nixon is also popular, for obvious reasons. Clinton makes a strong showing. No matter.)

After some calming down, the guests each get their chance to meet the leader of the free world. But before our reporter can say anything, the President angrily blurts, “John Smith? You libelous guttersnipe! I’d never have attended this party had I known a lowlife, lying hack like yourself would be here!” With that, the President leaves.

John Smith, upon his return home, is asked by his wife, “How was the party?”

“Great,” he says, “the President knows my name!”

It is hard to imagine that Urban Meyer, the conference’s current offensive pioneer, winner of two National Championships in three years, mentor of arguably college football’s greatest player, doesn’t have enough sense to ignore talk radio in July.

But there you have it. Urban Meyer is no better than Phyllis from Mulga.

In other news, the Great Leader says that boys stormed the beaches of Normandy so that Steve Spurrier could vote for Jevan Snead in peace. Alas, they apparently died in vain and our coach’s struggle with appropriate metaphor continues.

Quote of the day: “Yes,” answers Tim Tebow, confirming that he, like the circumstance of his birth, is virginal.

Day 3: J’accuse, Steve Spurrier!

A mistake?

Arresting the President’s friend for a B&E in his own house is a mistake. Spurrier’s voting for Snead over Tebow is just nuts.

However, just as nuts is the idea that it matters or is unexpected. After all, this is the same man who said Peyton Manning returned for his senior season to become a back-to-back Citrus Bowl MVP.

Or is he the same man? The Spurrier of old wouldn’t have kowtowed to public pressure, even if he meant to vote for Tebow in the first place. He claims his vote wasn’t even his, that one of the administrative directors filled out the ballot for his review. This is common and reveals in snapshot how silly all coaches’ votes are, from all-star teams to top-25 polls.

But it also shows either a lack of interest or oversight, neither flattering.

Congratulations, South Carolina. First, he gave up calling plays. Then, he’s praising a seven-wins-per-season average as “success.” And now he’s backpedaling from outright jackassery.

Gamecocks, you have left Steve Spurrier a broken man. I hope you’re happy.

Quote of the day: “We had to create national attention immediately,” says Lane Kiffin, and with that he reached for a bucket of diesel fuel and lit his cigarette.

Roll Tide.