This is dedicated to all the Tider's honest 9-3, 10-2, 11-1 predictions that I've had the pleasure of hearing on Birmingham sport talk this summer. It's quite the vomitous affair. Be it a Friend of Bama conversing about "a '08 champyunship" or discussing how The Tide would soo hypothetically skulldrag numerous lower level NFL franchises. Be that as it may, in friendly retaliation, I give you The Top 10 Reason's Bama Ain't "Back" in '08:
1. John Parker Wilson is still the quarterback. Bama fans seem to quickly forget how much blame and hate they laid at poor Sarah Jessica's feet in 2007. Talk about a nose dive. He's not necessarily as bad as some Alabama fans would have had you believe (last season when they hated him)...He's just not really that good either. Expect more of the same here.
2. 3rd offensive coordinator in as many years. I love how fair Major Applewhite now takes all the heat for the underwhelming performance in two-thousand-Saban. Doth Saban not err?
3. There's only one experienced/talented linebacker on a squad that needs about eight. Remember...Saban fancies a 3-4 Defense, and that's gonna be damn tough with a couple 180-pound, honky walk-ons roaming the defensive backfield. (Scared, say "scared!!")
4. It's an even year (as in '08), so the schedule is hard as balls. @ Athens, @ Knoxville, @ Baton Rouge and @ Fayettenam. Luckily for the Tide, LA Monroe rolls off the schedule, but the War Hawks are replaced with equally-as-impressive (pfffff) Arkansas State, Western-Kentucky and Tulane. Oh yeah, Clemson is a preseason top 10 team that played its last game in The Georgia Dome (against Auburn). Guess where they play Alabama to kick off the season? (The Tiders might need more than one quality LB to stop the best RB tandem in the nation) All this to say, going .500 with this year's schedule will be a vast improvement over last season's cake walk 6-6.
5. Bama fans love to talk about how they were "one missed tackle from beating BCS Champyun LSU" or "one play away from beatin' Georgia." "We was so gosh damn close to 9 wins baby. RTR!!!" Odd. Somehow they fail to mention that they were "one play away" from losing to Ole Miss, Houston, Arkansas and Colorado. Seriously. effing 9 wins? Try 3. 6-6 isn't looking so bad, now is it?
6. Saban has developed a reputation, and it's not a good one. Forget his reputation in the media, how does his obtuseness (putting it kindly) effect the program on-the-field? Well, why do you think he always seems to hire supposed "young, up-and-comers" as "coordinators?" Because nobody already worth a shit will work for him. To have a great program, you must have great assistants (see: Tommy Tuberville). You either have to develop them or you have to get lucky (see: Saban at LSU). Notice where Jimbo and Muschamp are now? Sitting on sweet gigs with two of the friendliest, most laid back Head Coaches in college football. Saban's like a evil, psycho ex-girlfriend to those guys, and they're waving everybody else off of her skank-ass.
7. Saban doesn't seem to think that motivating his team is the head coach's business. It's been documented that Saban's bringing in sports psychologists and various other work/life gurus. Like so many misguided father figures with a fat bankroll, he's decided to throw a bunch a money at the "character" and "motivation" issues of his crimson family. (dramatic pause) But what these at-risk youth really need is a hug. That and maybe a pre-game 8-ball. Which leads me to my next point...
8. The Players appear to hate playing football for Saban. They're not having fun and they most certainly quit on his 4 million dollar ass in two-thousand-saban. To the players and the staff, he comes across with all the warmth and concern of an Iraqi dictator/soccer coach. Plus, it doesn't help when a coach deflects all the blame for a loss toward his
subjects players. That's never a crowd pleaser. When something goes wrong in 2008 (and it will) look for the physical incarnation of the players telling Nicky to "go to hell." (see: last season's tailspin)
9. General Bad Karma resulting from all the cop fighting, pit bull breeding, dope smoking and crack rock slangin', motha f***a!
10. What does "Bama's Back" even mean these days? In my humble definition it would mean at least, "back to Atlanta," and that's a tall order for such an underwhelming group. The road to "backness" is paved with land mines. Not the least of which is LSU in Red Stick and Auburn at Bryant-Denny(where, as you know, they've never, ever beat The Tigers) So when will "the tide rise?" When will Bama be truely and unequivocally "back?" By gawd...When can the Tiders print some new, witty tee-shirts?
Don't worry though. Next year is the year.