As our Football Wildcats prepare valiantly for battle against the #2 Crimson Tide, modern football history does not predict great things. Alabama leads the series 33-2-1 with a 2-game current winning streak. Instead, if we look further back, into the Fake past, the Wildcats can find encouragement from a battle in the Third Age during the War of the Ring: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Specifically, many similarities can be made between the battle between the Rohirrim’s stand against the MÃ»makil commanded by the Haradrim.
Please Note: The events described in this section follow closer to those described in the Red Book of Westmarch, and not the moving pictures edition. Other sections will reference both sources equally.
After charging on to the field, the Rohirrim (Riders of Rohan) have driven away the first ranks of Sauron’s army. Rohan’s King ThÃ©oden was killed when his horse was felled by a dart. The Witch-king of Angmar, who was leading Sauron’s forces, was then challenged by the King ThÃ©oden’s niece Ã‰owyn and the Hobbit Meriadoc Brandybuck. Merry and Ã‰owyn destroyed the Ring-Wraith, but were gravely injured themselves. Just as Ã‰owyn’s brother Ã‰omer assumed command of the Rohirrim, he ordered a charge into the enemy’s ranks, where he was met by a reinforced rank of Haradrim riding the MÃ»makil (known to the Hobbits as Oliphants).
Parallels: The Wildcats are also charging into a dangerous den. While not leaderless, the Wildcats are suffering some key injuries, especially to Micah Johnson & Ricky Lumpkin (DOUBTFUL: Black Breath). For the Wildcats to be successful in Tuscaloosa, these men must be replaced by those who are prepared to lead to victory, such as senior linebacker
Normally towering over the smaller orc and human armies, the Riders of Rohan had to adjust their strategy for the huge Oliphants. Straight ahead charges were knocked aside by the powerful beasts, while Haradrim archers shot those of the Rohirrim lingering in the distance. The Horse-Lords found that constant movement and strafing techniques were most effective. Saturating a mÃ»mak’s head with arrow fire helped annoy the beast into shaking free its riders.
Parallels: Alabama’s strong offensive line gives it incredible push, and the ability to use play-action passes for long-distance gains. While bearing the brunt of that push, Kentucky’s defense must strafe the line and get pressure on Alabama’s QB. On offense, the Wildcats must annoy by spreading out the field, ensuring that the Alabama D doesn’t stack the line and stop our ground game. Against Georgia, the Crimson Tide themselves were worried about play-action; perhaps our young QB Mike Hartline and our currently-unproven Wide Receiver corps can surprise them.
Additionally, Alabama’s special teams were pretty bad in the second half against the Bulldogs. Perhaps this may allow the Wildcats’ Special Teams to make some surprising gains; just like Legolas’ single-handed takedown of an Oliphant. Although if Dicky Lyons runs a kickoff back for a TD, you won’t hear this grumpy dwarf exclaim, “that still only counts as 1!” (Because it will count for 6. Get it? HAR-D-HAR-HAR!)
While the Rohirrim battled bravely, the size of Sauron’s army was too great. It would be only a matter of time before the Riders of Rohan and their allies would be crushed. Surprising Ã‰omer and the rest of the Men of the West, ships sailing the river Anduin bore great reinforcements: Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and by his command, the Dead Men of Dunharrow. This spectral army swept up into Sauron’s forces, where they sucked the life out of orc, troll and Oliphant alike.
Parallels: Unbeknown to most casual football fans, Kentucky also has an army of the dead. In the 1953 football season the famous Paul “Bear” Bryant coached the Wildcats for the final time. Going 7-2-1, the team quietly quit on Bryant, causing him to curse them; they would not have peace or rest till they fulfilled their oath upon his command or that of his heirs. To this day they haunt the old McLean Stadium, which is currently the Stoll Field on UK’s Campus. (If you’ve ever played Ultimate Frisbee there, you know that sometimes the disc will just immediately drop and hit you square in the nose. Its the Team of the Dead, and they only play they know is Death. Or “Broken Nose.” Whatever; same thing for an Ultimate Frisbee player.)
As Bryant’s rightful heir, Head Coach Rich Brooks must summon this unstoppable ghostly team and recruit them into his ranks. NCAA Scholarship limits fortunately are not broken by having dead players on the team. With their otherworldly powers and strange yet modern SEC Speed, this Big Blue Host will be more than capable of providing the additional firepower needed to stop the Crimson Tide. The only problem is finding them enough rooms in the team hotel. I don’t think the Dead like sleeping on the bus.
Fake Prediction: Riders of Lexington 21, MÃ»makil Tide 20
Warning: Above video has NSFW language, and LoTR references so shameless that it makes even me blush.