It’s time for the Alabama edition of our “Show Me My Opponent” football preview series. The Cats travel down to Tuscaloosa this weekend to meet Nick Saban’s undefeated squad, but before they do, you need to learn more about the Crimson Tide.
THE UNIVERSITY of ALABAMA
The University of Alabama is a place most Alabama football fans know nothing about. To Alabama footballs fans, the University of Alabama is where the rich kids go to learn long division and other book stuff in those brick buildings near Bryant-Denny Stadium. But to many others who didn’t drop out of high school because they got someone pregnant in the bed of a pickup truck parked outside a bonfire, the University of Alabama is the oldest and largest public university in its state. It’s also one of the 50 best public universities in America, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Located in podunk Tuscaloosa, where football is king and shirts are optional, the University of Alabama provides academic studies to almost 40,000 students of all reading levels. At the centerpiece of its campus is the famous Denny Chimes bell tower, which rings every 15 minutes to remind students, both male and female, to spit their chaw. The tower, the most visible landmark on campus, is named for George H. Denny, the university’s president from back when the school was very, very racist.
More fun University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa facts:
— UA’s Greek system is the largest in the country, by membership.
— Tuscaloosa was the state capital until 1846 when Montgomery took the title.
— The Alabama Museum of Natural History on the UA campus has the Hodges Meteorite, the only meteorite known to have struck a human being.
— Tuscaloosa used to be the headquarters for the Gulf State Paper Corporation and the Ku Klux Klan.
ALABAMA TRADITIONS AND STUFF
— A sports editor for the Birmingham Age-Herald coined the term “Crimson Tide” during the 1907 football game between Auburn and Alabama. Alabama held its heavily-favored rival to a 6-6 tie in a sea of crimson mud on the field.
— “Roll Tide” is the rallying cry for everything, from Alabama football to criminal arrests. The chant is acceptable in any situation around the state.
— No one knows why the Crimson Tide’s mascot is an elephant. Literally no one can explain why that is, although some believe it’s because Wallace Wade, Bama’s three-time national champion football coach, celebrated each win by sleeping with a fat woman.
— Alabama Football Fan Day is kind of sad:
NOTABLE ALABAMA PEOPLE
Harper Lee: Harper Lee is the author who penned To Kill A Mockingbird, that book we were all supposed to read in high school but didn’t because the girl next to us did and she was good at communicating its main themes and plot before the test. I’m sure Harper Lee was a very nice lady, but I never read her work. I’m just not a book guy.
Rece Davis: ESPN’s Rece Davis serves as the host of College GameDay and various other programs on the network. Davis is an ’88 Bama grad and was named an outstanding alumnus of UA’s School of Communication and Information Sciences in 2001.
Jimmy Wales: Wales received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University in 1986. Wales then entered the PhD finance program at the University of Alabama before leaving with a master’s degree to enter the PhD finance program at Indiana University. I copied and pasted those sentences from Wikipedia, which he co-founded in 2001.
Bernie Madoff: Bernard Lawrence Madoff is the former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market and one of our nation’s biggest fraudsters, as the Ponzi scheme he operated is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. He pleaded guilty to 11 financial felonies in 2009 and was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his Wall Street crimes that spanned entire decades. He spent one year at Alabama.
Forrest Gump: Forrest Gump attended the University of Alabama from 1963-67 and played on the Crimson Tide football team under head coach Bear Bryant, who offered Gump a scholarship after Gump sprinted through a high school practice Bryant was recruiting, while running from bullies in his hometown. While at Alabama, Gump witnessed the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door by Governor George Wallace and earned All-American honors for his play on the football field. Arguably the most accomplished Alabama grad, Gump went on to serve and earn a Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War; become a champion ping-pong player with his Flexolite ping-pong paddle; meet the President; expose the Watergate scandal; meet the President, again; inspire John Lennon’s “Imagine”; start a successful shrimp business; run across the country; and invest in some fruit company. And after all that, he cut grass for free because he didn’t have to worry about money no more, which is good — one less thing.
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Roll Tide indeed.
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SO WHO’S THE HEAD COACH?
You know the head coach. He’s that munchkin little fella named Nick Saban and he is arguably the greatest college football coach of all time.
Nick With The Good Hair has been in Tuscaloosa since 2007 and he has put four new national championship trophies on Bama’s shelf during that span. In Saban’s tenure there have also been 25 consensus All-Americans, four SEC titles, two Heisman winners, a couple videos of him dancing during recruiting visits and not a whole lot of losing on the football field.
He’s simply known as God in T-Town and there will never be another like him, at least in Bama fans’ eyes. Half the fan base would step in front of a speeding car if he told them it would add one more year to his career as their head coach.
He’s also very short and wears shoe lift inserts. And all his star recruits tend to drive nice cars.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
|#2 | JALEN HURTS | QB | Freshman
Alabama has a superstar in the making in true freshman QB Jalen Hurts. Hurts took over the starting role in Week 1 and has since compiled over 700 yards through the air, over 250 yards on the ground, and eight total touchdowns.
But let’s talk about that hair. What’s going on there? Looks like he has a blooming onion on his head.
On second thought I shouldn’t make fun of his hair because he’ll have a lot more money than me here in about two years when he goes to the Browns. Wait, he goes to Alabama — he already has more money than you and me combined.
|#74 | CAM ROBINSON | OL | Junior
Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson defied all odds when he started in the 2016 season opener against USC, after being arrested and charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and illegal possession of a stolen firearm in the offseason. When most would be punished for the criminal offenses, one of which was a felony, Robinson persevered and suited up for the Crimson Tide with no suspension.
He has started in all 34 games since he arrived on campus.
|#34 | DAMIEN HARRIS | RB | Sophomore
Damien Harris is the one who got away in the Mark Stoops era. The Richmond, Ky. product picked Alabama over nearby Kentucky as the top-ranked running back in the country in the 2015 class. This is his first season in a contributing role down in Tuscaloosa and he’s made the most of it, totaling 345 yards and one touchdown with over eight yards per carry in the first four games.
Harris, who is currently battling an ankle injury, tweeted, “This week is personal.”
LAST TIME WE MET
Kentucky and Alabama last met in 2013 when the Crimson Tide traveled to Commonwealth Stadium as the nation’s No. 1 team, as it always is, for an early October cross-divisional SEC battle.
And believe it or not, things started well for the Wildcats as they forced Bama to punt on its first possession, followed by turnovers on its next two in a scoreless first quarter for both teams.
Then Bama did what Bama does and that 0-0 tie quickly became a rout. Kentucky trailed 24-0 at halftime and the beatdown continued on to a 48-7 final score.
The Cats did manage to keep the Tide under 700 yards, however. The visitors only rushed for 300 and tallied only 668 total yards of offense in the game. (Only.) Kentucky racked up 170 total yards.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Alabama wins.