We agree with those grades, Commissioner. You just cannot really tell much about your team when it schedules this level of competition. We aren't going to open the "why" can of worms on that today. Suffice it to say that we'd prefer a system where everyone played at least top division competition in every game every year. Alabama played a lackluster first half and could easily have scored sixty in this one if it had cared to try. Which it just sort of didn't.
A couple of points bear mentioning. Alabama continues to not get penalty calls because, we suppose, the officials just feel like they don't need to call them. Saturday, though, they ignored a very cheap shot on Quinnen Williams as well as a couple of horse collars. The disputed touchdown in the Vanderbilt Mississippi game was troubling. So, SEC officiating is about as efficient and trustworthy as a set of Florida election officials. In other news, water is wet, the sun sets in the west, and Gus Malzahn bears a striking resemblance to cast members on The Muppet Show.
Despite having attended operas, tractor pulls, ballet recitals, boxing matches, rodeos, red mass, tent revivals, and three-day seminars on the tire business (you'd think they'd run out of ways to say "round tires roll better") we don't have the words to describe the state of the kicking game. Every part of it has failed this year at some point. The one thing we just cannot get past are the missed extra points. Those are practically free points for the taking and we are leaving them on the field. Shoot, Saturday we very nearly gave up two points the other way. We hope that doesn't jump up and bite us between now and the end of the season because hope is about all we have left.
On another completely random topic, we hate how the centerpiece of Bryant Denny Stadium looks and plays. We don't understand how a University with the facilities that this one has for its athletic teams (from football to wheelchair basketball), can tolerate a playing field like this one. Gracious. We have recruiting rooms and a press conference room and a weight room and an academic center and an indoor practice field and a nutrition center and ice baths and waterfalls and locker rooms and sky boxes and zone seating and statues and marble floors, and I don't know what all, but we can't seem to grow grass in a field that drains. I have read about what the problems are. Apparently an aquifer runs under the stadium. It rained a good bit last week. And I've heard the analogy that because of the stands, getting grass to grow on the field is like trying to grow grass at the bottom of a well. And I know that the grass has to somehow survive the scorching hot temperatures of the end of August to the relatively frigid temperatures of early December, but my goodness.
There were more divots in between the hashes than in the fairway after the local country club tournament. The cameras found numerous examples when the announcers started talking about it. The point is not just asthetics. Saturday's slippery conditions cost Alabama yardage and more than once. Waddle slipped once on a pass route and once on a kick return, both resulting in his going down without being touched by a defender. Ruggs slipped and fell turning a pass upfield. We'll spare you our full list of examples.
One other thing, on Waddle's great catch going out of the end zone, not only did both feet slide out from under him in what looked like plain old mud just past the sideline of the end zone, he nearly hit that stupid fence around the edge of the field. It's padded now, but that space also fills up with photographers and reporters. So it's not just looking bad, it's not just playing bad, there are parts of the playing area that are flat out dangerous, to players, press, and probably some priviledged fans.
The University is about to spend money on the stadium for gigantic video boards, a "plaza" for people to, we don't know, walk around and chat while the game is going on, glass exterior partitions on the lowest level (down here in the Tire Store office we call those our "windows") the need for which we really cannot understand, etc. all to the tune of eleventy million dollars. Maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to drop some of that money on the part of Bryant Denny Stadium that all the other stuff is about -- the playing field.
Speaking of playing at BDS, the 2018 edition of the Crimson Tide will take that field for the final time on Saturday afternoon ranked #1 in the country, SEC Western Division Champions, undefeated, and facing the team from the East Alabama Male College. We owe that team some licks after last year. Let's pay up.
Roll Tide, everyone. And have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
TO COMMENT ON THIS POST, PLEASE CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK.