SEC Championship game is Alabama's to lose
Published 12:43 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
By By Lowell McGill
Let me apologize to Chandler for today’s column. I am not trying to “steal his thunder” because he is our main man of sports and a good one I must say.
I had a difficult time coming up with a theme, so I decided to offer some sports thoughts, especially with the big SEC championship game staring us in the face.
I have read so many stories on the Internet and have heard opinions from many of my friends offering dozens of reasons to just go ahead and cancel the game because Florida is totally unbeatable.
In fact, that team painted a Bible verse on the face of each player in the Florida State game Saturday. The media darling female sideline announcer also appeared to be displaying a facial emblem at times. CBS, in fact, choreographed Tebow’s final plays with his dive into the line then darted backwards and threw a pass. It was a trademark that had followed him since his freshman days. The big quarterback, capable as he is, failed to connect on that final play and CBS announcers looked skyward for any circling crows.
Seriously, it was an emotional game for the star quarterback, his teammates and Coach Meyer. In fact, many times when the cameras panned in on the poplar coach, he was in tears.
So, with all this having been said, Alabama should just run on up to Atlanta, spend 2-3 hours on the field and shoot on back home and prepare for another appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
But, “not so fast my friends,” as Lee Corso says. Let me be the first to tell you Southwest Airlines has the cheapest tickets to the west coast departing from New Orleans.
You see, I concur with some leading sports writers that the Tide will rise up and pull the upset of the year. They believe the Tide defensive secondary will be the stars of the game. They also see Alabama defensive backs staying right with those Gator receivers, allowing Arenas and his hammering crew to find a home in the Gator backfield. Even CBS announcers said earlier Alabama is “probably the only team in America who can throttle Tebow.” And, if you stop Tebow you have taken away 50 percent of the Gator’s offense.
Chris Low, who writes an Internet column for ESPN, echoes these predictions. In his current SEC Power Rankings, he says “Alabama and Florida are almost dead even, but the Tide are a little more diverse on offense, a little better right up the middle on defense and have a return man every bit as dangerous as Florida.”
A prominent TV football panel show pundit sees Alabama’s defensive backfield as ‘huge factors,” and gives the edge to the Tide.
One Internet writer told of a football “bookie” not accepting any bets on Alabama getting five points. He said odds makers were totally out of line on this point spread. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I do not bet and I am certainly not advocating wagering, but you have always heard the saying “go where the money is.” As of Monday, the money is on Alabama and the points.
If they defeat Florida, the Tide could leave another Johnny Mack Brown out there in Hollywood just like they did back in 1926 when they won the Rose Bowl game. Known as “The Dothan Antelope” the handsome Tide halfback drew raves from not only the football world, but from motion picture makers as well. The southeast Alabama native brought thrill after thrill to me back in the 1940s when I watched him on the big screen at the Strand Theatre on Saturday matinees. His prowness (prowess by some) on the football field that day back then set the stage (no pun intended) for a long time movie career.
One other observation is the fact that playing in nearby Atlanta is almost like playing at home. Not only will the Alabama fans be loud, but expect all those Georgia followers to be just as vocal. Incidentally, some Internet sources are stirring the flames on Meyer's leaving Florida for the apparent opening at Notre Dame. This would bring much unrest to the Florida players and faithful. After all he is on record for calling it a “dream job” at Notre Dame.
By the way, I realize some of my statements will be considered bold and, perhaps, boastful, but I know where some crows nest down at Perdido and I will go directly to that tree, have a seat, lean back and say to myself, “boy, isn’t it great we won’t have to face Tebow again.”
Now, as I write this column on Monday, there are six SEC teams with 7-5 records. By the time the paper is published many bowl game match ups may have been decided. But today there is a scramble as to which team goes where.
LSU, which finished the season with a record of 9-3, would probably go the Capitol One Bowl. The Tigers should be the favorite in that game, only if Miles has a math professor by his side to count seconds and watch the clock for him. Old Miss, which finished with an 8-4 record, would be the choice for one of the better bowls.
Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and South Carolina (all with 7-5 records) would headline the remaining upper level bowls. You can bet your bottom dollar that wherever they go, they will bring fans galore.
I am really proud for Auburn and their record this year. Coach Chizik and his staff have done a remarkable job, especially with the Tigers having a poor season last year. Chizik appears to be a very likable person. I believe his efforts will truly be rewarded in the years to come. Rest assured he will lure his share of top recruits and build that program into a first-class winner. Unlike some of my friends who always delight in Tide losses, I will be "pulling" for Chizik and the Tigers in their upcoming bowl game. And, you know I did not attend college at that school.
He and Saban will bring joy to those TV networks who signed long-term contracts with The Southeastern Conference. That Iron Bowl game Friday was the featured national game of the day and drew many, many viewers.
Can you just imagine the viewers CBS will draw this weekend? It is no wonder commercials are selling at prime rates. Statistics show that fans usually pull for the underdog. Well, right now the Tide is regarded as the definite underdog.
It reminds me of a huge Bowl game back in 1964 when Alabama was listed as a 15-point underdog to Ole Miss. That was the year it snowed in New Orleans, the year Namath was benched for Steve Sloan, and that was the year the brother of my Thyroid doctor (Dr.Tim Davis) kicked those four field goals to give the Tide the win.
Have you ever eaten crow for Christmas dinner? I am still planning on a big tasty slice of ham. What are ya’ll having?
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org