“It’s the first time since we’ve been here that I have felt the need to talk about things that you take for granted, like the dress code for a trip.”
—Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, on his team’s youth
Fashion week may have wrapped up yesterday in the Big Apple, but the runway show is just beginning for college football. In advance of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide’s first road trip of the season, the Great Leader has more to worry about than whose half Windsor in crooked and whose pocket square is wrinkled.
Although no one would think Duke can topple the near-consensus top team in the nation, no one thought the (James Madison) Dukes would simultaneously beat the Hokies and Boise State’s title-run hopes last week either. It was the exception that proved the rule, and there will be more to come.
Most of the marquee games last weekend ended up being routs, Alabama’s included. And such beauty contests, critics point out, reveal the fallacy of polling and the need for some new post-season mechanism to determine a national champion. However, the week-to-week unpredictability of the college football season remains the best argument against the simplistic play-off supporters—at least the fans’ best argument. For the folks in charge, it’s the dough.
Tomorrow’s contest also has a financial interest. When the series with Duke was first signed, an informal article of negotiation included Duke hosting their game in the locals’ NFL stadium, which is better suited to accommodate the invading horde. Not to mention it offers better drink specials.
Such a game was thought to expand Alabama’s recruiting footprint and provide a glitzier showcase for television, but that went out the window when Duke hired longtime Tide nemesis (and UA alum) David Cutcliffe, who, rightly, thinks his home games should be played at home. Sweet are the uses of a varsity.
And, truth be told, the Blue Devils are strong where Alabama is the weakest (if it can be called a weakness), so expect them to test the air, literally and figuratively, early. Thus, the schedule has provided at least one test for the Crimson Tide’s young secondary before their conference opener in Arkansas next week. They may not know how to dress, but after tomorrow, we’ll know if they can play.
Legend has it that Audrey Hepburn took a break from a film shoot to unexpectedly visit French couture designer Hubert de Givenchy. And, unable to take time away from a show, Givenchy offered her first choice of items from his current collection. Hepburn loved the clothes so much that, when she returned to filming, she wore them on camera, winning the Oscar for best costume design.
For Edith Head.
Unpredictable though it may be, the college football season is still beautiful. What else to call it when Boise State loses without even taking the field and Virginia Tech’s meaningless game takes on national consequence? It may not be fashionable, but, baby, it has style.