**WARNING: This is a Squirrelian length post. If you read this all, it will take A LOT of time but is well worth EVERY Second. Clips are provided via links shown if you would like visual effects**
Your Team: Born and Raised an Alabama Fan into a diehard Bama Family with my Wife’s University of Alabama Alumni Status as a “reason for me to come back after an 8 year hiatus”. I’m a very proud Ole Miss Alumni and wish the Rebs well in each game but ONE.
Hometown: Brandon, MS (City)
Current City: Brandon, MS (Reservoir – Only those who have been to Rankin County will “get” this)
SEC East Champion: South Carolina
SEC East Last Place: Kentucky. I don’t see 4 wins total on their schedule and they’ll be lucky to win one SEC Game. There will be a “For Sale” sign in Joker’s front yard by the Vandy Game (November 3rd, 2012). An honest side question: Will there be more people at Kentucky’s first 2 home exhibition games in basketball against Northwood and Transylvania (combined for those 2 games: 23,500 x 2= 47,000) or more people at the Kentucky-Samford football game in Lexington on November 17th, 2012? I’m going with the former since Kentucky will be 2-8 going into that game (if things go the best they can). I honestly don’t see more than 40,000 at Commonwealth for the Samford game.
SEC West Champion: LSU. I really, really, really hope Nick Saban proves me wrong. I know its two completely different years but the reason I’m picking LSU is because of 2010. Reason: With Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Julio Jones and a host of other athletic freaks, the Tide went 9-3. I see Bama more than likely going 11-1, no worse than 10-2 if things fall apart. Nick Saban, please make me look foolish, I BEG YOU!
SEC West Last Place: Ole Miss. If Hugh Freeze goes 5-7, he should receive the award for Coach of the Century. Ole Miss “should” start the season 3-1 with its only loss coming at the hands of Texas (in Oxford). Starting on 9.29.2012, Ole Miss’ schedule goes as follows: @Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, OPEN DATE, @Arkansas, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, @LSU, Mississippi State. Please tell me where any logical person sees more than 1 win through that 8 game gauntlet. It’s waterboarding brutal.
SEC Champion: South Carolina. Georgia does not have to play Bama, LSU or Arkansas but will find some way to screw it up as always.
National Championship Game: South Carolina V. Oklahoma. Worth noting that Oklahoma has played in and lost the last 2 BCS Title Games that have taken place @ the Orange Bowl (2004 Season/2005 BCS Title Game: Annihilated by Southern Cal 55-19 and 2008 Season/2009 BCS Title Game losing to Florida 24-14). Though it irks Andy Johnson and leaves him dumbfounded and may actually not make much sense, I like to follow trends in College Football.
National Champion: South Carolina. I give credit to Clay Travis for his assistance in swaying me on this. The more I looked at South Carolina in what they did last year and what they “should” do this year, I think they are underrated at #9 and have an excellent shot at winning it all. I may be completely off base but time will tell this season. The only game I see South Carolina losing is @LSU. I see South Carolina winning the rematch in the SEC Championship Game. If @LSU is South Carolina’s only loss, there is no way they are left out of the BCS Title Game.
Heisman: Marcus Lattimore. If he has the year I think he will have, South Carolina will have the year I think they will have.
SEC Coach(es) that are gone after this season: Joker Phillips and John L Smith. Mark Richt is a dark horse to this list if the wheels come off of the train in Georgia.
Biggest SEC Upset of the year: Missouri over Georgia. This is Georgia’s first SEC Game of the Season and Missouri’s first SEC Game EVER. As Steve Spurrier said, “Georgia always loses games early because they’ve got players suspended”. The goalposts come down in Columbia and S.E.C chants will be heard from Kansas City to St. Louis. Vomit.
If you could go to 1 Game this year, it would be: Alabama V. LSU. I have owed my Wife this trip since Dave Matthews in Nashville, 2009. There is no way we make it this year since we will have an 8 week old baby boy at that time but hopefully we can make the Bama-LSU game @ Tiger Stadium in 2014.
Biggest SEC Thug: Tyler Bray. Who throws bottles at cars….and trying to do it for the affection of a girl? That’s an O.G. plus he has an amazing. Thuggish Back Tat.
SEC Coach who should join him: Trooper Taylor (I’m not going to stop the trend).
SEC Team you hope goes winless: Mississippi State. I will gladly pay $1,000 if Dan Mullen never uttered another syllable but then again, everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious, and by hilarious, I mean ridiculous and could never happen (State winning a National Title). Rest assured though, Dan is dead serious and believes it can happen.
Non-SEC Team you hope goes winless: Notre Dame. The most overrated program in the history of sport. I’ll admit that they’ve had the SEC’s number in the past which may be a large reason for my hatred of the Irish but I cannot comprehend the admiration the media has for this team year in and year out. They are the only team I know who could go 8-4 and find some way to “slip” into a BCS Bowl game. So help me if an 8-4 Irish squad finds their way into a playoff some day.
Most Overrated SEC Team: LSU. Though I have them winning the West, #1 is a little lofty right now for some reason.
Biggest Cheaters in the SEC: The Barn. (Thanks to E for this video reminder last year) EVERY Team cheats but Auburn just finds the most unique, yet visible ways to do it.
Worst SEC Fans: LSU. Until I personally see another fan base taunt an opposing fan who is a paraplegic (I swear I saw this happen in person), these corndogs will own the crown. Also, being at the 2012 BCS Title Game, as well as a few other LSU Games where the Tigers were thumped, I have NEVER seen “Fans” leave faster in droves when defeated is imminent (Case in point: 3rd Quarter @ BCS Title Game). Gary was right: LSU Fans do not care about winning…. they care about alcohol, partying and fist fighting. I’m willing the bet if you gave any LSU fan the choice of a 10-2 season where they drank free for a year, had a winnable fist fight at the end of the bowl game and a corndog from a reputable vendor on Bourbon Street afterwards OR an undefeated National Title winning year that was without good booze and a corndog or even a shoving match, they’d take the former EVERY TIME.
Strangest thing you’ve ever seen on a road trip to an opposing team: Home Team’s ringing of cowbells to show pleasure and pride in one’s Team. If I live to be 1,000 I will never understand how a cow walking on to a field is something to not only be remembered, but celebrated. Mississippi State is the Karl Childers of life. When I think of Mississippi State, I think of THIS.
Favorite Road Game Bar/Restaurant: Cat’s Meow. I’m not a huge fan of Karaoke bars where patrons have to endure hours of awful renditions of “I will survive” or “You’re the one that I want” but this place is the definite exception. When going to away games @ LSU, it is a must to stay in New Orleans on Bourbon Street and go to Cat’s Meow.
Predict this year’s biggest Football Scandal: SEC being denied 2 Teams in BCS Title for the 2nd Straight Year (LSU, Alabama or South Carolina will be dissed)
Alabama would claim a National Championship if: Squirrel diatribe time…..I understand this question but cannot think of anything coy to write but would like to take this time to extend upon what Gary wrote earlier. Gary got it right, 1941 is the ONLY bogus National Title the Tide claims and I would love to talk to the former S.I.D and ask, why? If the Tide was going to claim a bogus National Title that made more sense, they should have found some random poll in 1966 and claim that year. Reason: Bama went undefeated, won the SEC and destroyed Nebraska in the Sugar 34-7 yet was denied a 3rd straight AP Title because the pollsters went moron and gave the AP to Notre Dame and the UPI to Michigan State because these two yanks tied 10-10. The Bear called the 1966 team “the greatest team he ever coached”. They were ROBBED. If Bama was to claim a “mythical” National Title, why not 1945? Reason: The Tide finished 10-0, Won the SEC, Beat Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl 34-14 and was crowned National Champs by the National Championship Foundation (A legitimate poll recognized by the NCAA and is used by the likes of Michigan and Notre Dame in claiming National Titles). Claiming 1941 makes ZERO sense since Bama 9-2 and did not win the SEC (Mississippi State’s ONLY SEC Title). This “claim” is the reason Bama is the receiver of many a joke. I honestly have no issue with Bama claiming 14 (1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1964, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009 and 2011) or for that matter, Ole Miss claiming 3 (1959, 1960, 1962). My justification revolves around the absurdity of the Associated Press Poll coupled with the lack of the NCAA to take charge and create a Championship system for Division IA College Football. Up until 1965, the AP crowned their Champion BEFORE the bowls…..huh? Are we to believe that a bunch of nerdy writers were able to judge who was the best team prior to the invention of HDTV’s with the capabilities of EVERY game being televised. Teams were forced to play in a system that was broken, a system in which they had no control over who they played in bowls (strictly on the basis of Conference allegiance to bowls) and we just had to let the chips fall where they may? AP, UPI, NCA, FWAA and most every other poll out there is decent in my eyes because there were numerous teams who finished undefeated or who had better overall seasons than those who won AP or UPI National Titles.
Best SEC V. Non-Conference Game you have attended: 2009 Cotton Bowl (Ole Miss v. Texas Tech). This was the last game played in the original Cotton Bowl. Texas Tech thought they got “robbed” because in a 3 way tie, they were left out of the Big 12 Championship Game. Moreover, Texas Tech didn’t make a BCS Game and was beaten by Ole Miss by 3 TD’s. S.E.C!!!
Worst SEC V. Non-Conference Game you have attended: Alabama V. East Carolina, 1998 (Legion Field). I went to this game with my entire family and we walked out of the stadium questioning why we even bothered going. Alabama was up 23-3 in the 3rd Quarter yet had to hang on for dear life, with a little help from the S.E.C Refs who started the play clock late on 4th down with 24 seconds, to win the game 23-22. God bless Mike DuBose.
Best Game you watched that didn’t involve your team: That I was in attendance for? At the time in 2003, I was fully engrained with Ole Miss and was at the Ole Miss-Auburn Game in Auburn. When Obomanu caught the pass on Auburn’s last drive and ran 70 yards before being tackled, I had NEVER heard a stadium that loud in my life (now the 2nd loudest since last years BCS Title Game in the Superdome). Obomanu dropped a pass on 4th down and Ole Miss left Auburn 6-0 and had a week off before playing LSU in Oxford….. what might have been. If this game doesn’t count for me then I choose LSU V. Arkansas, 2005 (Tiger Stadium). That rivalry game comes down to the wire every year and is amazing 9 years out of 10.
First Game you attended (Your Team), year and opponent: Alabama V. Florida (Bryant-Denny, 1990). Gene Stallings first year, second game. Florida blocked a punt to win the game 17-13. Squirrel cried. Bama would go on to win 7 of the last 8 and made it to the Fiesta Bowl where they got rocked by Louisville. You are welcome, Andy Johnson.
Underrated Player from last Year: Marquis Maze. It goes without saying but he changed the complexity of the game for Alabama on special teams.
Which coach will receive the “Pour you a warm glass of shut the hell up” award for 2012 season. Basically which coach you think will deserve this b/c he has diarrhea of the mouth: Tie: Lane Kiffin and Dan Mullen. I have never heard 2 idiots talk more smack who could not back up said smack in my life. Jointly, Kiffin and Mullen are Rex Ryan minus any semblance of a personality. Hearing Mullen utter the words, “Mississippi State will win a National Championship in Football” is as funny as hearing Bill Gates say, “I am poor”. Mullen is 3-12 verse the SEC West as Head Coach. The ONLY team Mullen has beaten in the West is an Ole Miss team who has been without Leadership since 2009. Mississippi State is no closer to winning a National Title now, than they were in 1998 when they actually won the West in a year where EVERYTHING broke their way. Oh, I will pay $100 to any reporter who asks Dan Mullen about injuries. PMS’ing much Dan?
And Lane Kiffin…. Can this guy blow his nose without the help of his Dad? USC is projected to win or at least play for the National Title this year. My prediction: USC chokes and loses 2 to 3 games. I still have flashbacks to USC in 2006 and 2007. A team, stockpiled with talent losing to the likes of Oregon State and a 41 point underdog in Stanford (AT HOME!!). Chokers! USC will lose a game or 2 that they have ZERO reason to lose (@Utah or @Arizona come to mind but it may be others). Funniest thing is that the ramifications of the NCAA infractions will be felt for the next 2 or 3 years after this year so USC may need to get used to 9-3 or 8-4 for some time.
Describe your optimal Playoff/Post Season format: I preferred the BCS but since that dream died a few months ago I have come to accept the Playoff. Notice I said “accept”, not “like”, Andy. I accept that this system is how it is going to be forever and may be a gateway to having and SEC V. SEC National Championship Game EVERY YEAR but rest assure, some one will get hosed. Since the system is in place, we might as well give credit where it is deserved since I never thought something like this would be in place this soon. Perfect system within “Playoffs” would be where the Top 6 teams make it in. Because I feel the regular season should mean something, Seeds 1 and 2 would get “Bye” weeks. First week: Seed 3 plays Seed 6 and Seed 4 plays Seed 5. Games are played at the higher seeded teams home. The 1 seed gets the lowest seeded team who wins the first match up(s) with the 2 seed getting the higher seed who wins the first week match ups. Seeds 1 and 2 gets to play their games at home. The National Title Game is played by the winners of those 2 games. The National Championship Game is played in a neutral site 2 weeks later.
If you were NCAA Czar, what would you change regarding Football: Legalize some sort of “Pay for play” and set an equal cap across the board. It’s absurd that there is nothing set up now, though EVERY NCAA Team operates something underground or behind closed doors. Also, disregard any “forfeited wins” the NCAA has taken away. We were either at the game, we watched it on TV, we can go back and watch it on TV or we can read the box score. Thinking you can change the course of history or actually changing the history books is ludicrious.
Single word association with following: $EC, ACC, B1G, Big XII, PAC 12, Big East.
Big XII: Insecure
Big East: Metro (This is everything you are imagining from the days of the Metro Conference, Louisville and Cincinnati, as well as all things that fall under the “Metro tree”. This would consist of ALL of the following: Line beards, flat bills, tattoos, multiple piercings, hair gel, spray tans, tanning beds, tight jeans, MMA shirts, domestic violence, meth, Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs, working out 18 hours a day on biceps only, red bull, tank tops, cargo pants, jean shorts, watching WWE over Monday Night Football, idolizing “Jersey Shore”, and the like.
How many games outside your preferred conference do you watch (from beginning to end) each week? : Beginning to end, None. That said, I do I love watching high ranked teams verse low ranked teams in other conferences. I always cheer for the lower/unranked team unless said higher ranked team is playing Notre Dame or Boise State in which case I cheer for the higher ranked team. I usually watch 8 to 10 games from other Conference in bits and pieces, a quarter here and a quarter there.
Best Cheerleading Squad?: “Cheerleaders” as in competition, the best is Kentucky (Banners hanging in Rupp). “Cheerleaders” as in easy on the eyes, USC or Oregon with the nod going to USC for a snippet of what I saw in the 2007 Rose Bowl. Search for the clip I am referring to at your own risk. Trust me….you WILL know when you have found it.
If your favorite team was swallowed whole in a terrorist attack (Dark Knight Style), without the possibility that the team would be re-constituted in any fashion, would you A) Choose another team; B) Root for my Conference Brethren; C) Lose interest in NCAA football; or D) Perform harakiri as you could no longer remaining living in a world without your favorite team. B) Cheer for my Conference Bretheren, which is what I do now.
Will the UK football team have more/less wins than the UK basketball team has losses. Equivalent. I see the over/under for both at 4.
Do you know the difference in a Power O and Iso? Yes but I am more of an Historian than an X’s and O’s Guy.
Which fanbase is most likely to shop at Wal-Mart for its gameday apparel? College: Mississippi State, Pro: New Orleans Saints. I would love to look at Wal-Mart’s accounting books and see how much of said apparel is purchased at the Pearl and Flowood Stores. Astounding figures.
Can you rationally defend the $EC desire to constantly chant the name of a conference as opposed to your particular school’s favorite chant? Yes. Here is why: The South is unlike ANY other place on the planet. We are the butt of most every joke in the United States yet we know we live in the greatest region in the greatest country in the world. Rest assured, almost every SEC Fanbase hates each other but we treat each other like family (for the most part). We are the best at everything awesome and we know it (I have visions of “Ricky Bobby” as I type this). When I think of the SEC, I think of the USA. Dominance, Greatness, The place so awesome that every other country hates you because they wish they could BE you. We stick up for each other. Rationale for chanting: Think about it…. when “The Flying Squirrel”, Gabby Douglas, won the Gold in individual gymnastics, I don’t recall anyone chanting “Virginia” (Gabby’s birth state) nor “Iowa” (the state where she trained for the Gold). I heard the fans chanting “USA USA USA USA USA USA”. When the SEC wins, why not chant “SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC”? It absolutely pisses other Conferences off and it reinstates that we are the greatest because our best just beat your best. As Drew Kirkland said, “If you don’t want us to chant it, beat us”.
Other random thoughts:
I hope this email was EVERYTHING Mike and Courtney Rettew dreamt it would be. This also goes for everyone else who withstood my litany of dribble and has gotten this far. I tried to give as much thought to all of my answers as I could. My main point is to provide thoughtful and truthful dialogue with entertainment coming in a distant second though if you were entertained, that’ll work too.
I’m not as doom and gloom as Andy Johnson but maybe that because my Conference is in a state of dominance. I do understand his justification for some of his talking points though:
1) I too also believe the NCAA had no business making a ruling on the Penn State scandal and in a strange way, actually did Penn State a favor by giving them the sanctions they handed down. I’m calling it now…. The 2016 signing class for Penn State is going to be better than most would think. That said, I hope Jerry Sandusky dies the most horrible agonizing death imaginable and I wish those who helped cover up these horrific acts the same fate.
2) I’m not sold on the supposed “dominance” of the Pac12. Oregon will be good for the foreseeable future but I cannot be sold on Lane Kiffin @ USC until he proves he can win anything of substance. The only thing Kiffin has won is the love and affection of a woman he has no business being with (money had to have changed hands when Layla agreed to marry him). Though Kiffin’s numbers have gone in the right direction over the last 3 seasons (7-6 @ Tennessee, 8-5 & 10-2 the last 2 years @ USC) I see a plateau this year with results similar to 2011 and eventual decline in the years to come.
3) I echo Gary Rehm’s sentiment for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. I applaud Gundy for being a man and 40 as his efforts to stick up for his players but Oklahoma State and Boise State are pretty much the same team with the same plight and the same whining, cry baby fans. Anyone who loses to Iowa State has no business playing for the National Championship or complaining about how “unfair” the system is. Further, if you play ONE tough game a year and sprinkle in other Non-Conference powers like Montana State, I have no sympathy for you. And to ANY Poke Fans out there that happen to read this, just because Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma for the 2nd time in 20 years is no reason to think yall are now a force to be reckoned with. Justin Blackmon has gone to do his drinking and driving in the NFL and Brandon Weedon is gone as well. I can’t name a player on your team nor do I care to know one…. Chances are there are millions of people who join me in this sentiment. Welcome back to reality as well as a life of 7-5 or 8-4 with annual trips to the Alamo or Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Insight Bowl). I wonder if T-Boone would break me off a few Mil instead of wasting it on a 3rd tier Big XII Program?
4) This years’ College Football Season will be very special for me and Becca. If all goes as planned, around week 2 or 3 of this years’ Season we will have a Son named Thatcher. As he grows, I look forward to taking my Son to games around the South and raising him in the Culture of the S.E.C.. I look forward to the Midnight feedings so I can catch these mystical Pac12 games Andy Johnson referred to featuring the likes of Arizona State, UCLA and Washington State. Maybe Me, John, Drew, Mike Rettew, Andy Johnson, Alan McCormick and every other Dad or future Dad on this chain can set up a tandem skype to see who can change a diaper the fastest or have a contest with bets on whose kid can poop the fastest after feeding? This year is going to be awesome regardless of whether the Tide hangs #15 or whether the S.E.C keeps the National Titles streak alive at 7 years in a row. I love football but I’ve got bigger fish to fry. As long as my Son and Wife are healthy this time next year, I don’t care if Notre Dame wins the National Title. I’ve heard nothing compares to being a Father and I cannot wait to see what that feeling is like. I know all of this may come off as being unexpectedly sentimental and possibly cheesy but I am honored to have you ALL as friends. My life kicks a$$ and you all are a huge part of it in some way shape or form. Whether you have known me a month, a year, 10 years or 20 years or longer, thank you all for the awesome times we have had so far…… Rest assured, WE ARE JUST GETTING THIS PARTY STARTED! I vision a day when our kids are in their 20’s and are on this chain talking smack with all of US. In closing, Props again to John Kirkland and (then) Bailey Hopper for making a last ditch effort to call me at 3:45am on April 25, 2009 to get me to go to Dave Matthews in Nashville. Last and most importantly an eternal Thank You to my Wife Becca for inviting me to Nashville in the first place and for saying “I do”…..Tick tock ya don’t stop! Gary, Becca said she heard Thatcher “Full-o-Bama” Tew say “Roll Tide, Suckas”. Holla at ‘cha boy!
Thanks to everyone that’s participated in this.