Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to recount the 2009 season game by game, not in chronological order and not as a mere recap of what transpired on the field, but I will look at them by how those individual games wove into the fabric of my life and I'll recount them in order of least memorable to the most memorable. During the course of any season some games will be forever etched into the mind and others will be completely forgotten by the time the next season rolls around.
Regardless of whether the game will be retained in our memories (for good or bad reasons), every Saturday (or Thursday or Friday) in the fall becomes an integral part of the week for fans. For some it's a televised diversion on their off day, for others it's what helps them get through being stuck at work on the weekend. For the lucky among us, it's the main social event of the week replete with tailgating and visits from friends new and old. For some, it's the only part of the week worth remembering after slogging through their soul-killing 9 to 5s. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of fandom though, what we do as fans won't be recorded in the box scores that will forever be a part of history, but they're our memories just the same and imbue our lives with ecstasy, agony or (occasionally) indifference depending up the final score. With that in mind, on to the game against Georgia State...
This was the only home game I didn't go to this year. I don't often skip games, even against an FCS team where Alabama is more or less able to name the score and where you aren't likely to see any opposing players destined for NFL greatness. These games often end up as incredibly glorified scrimmages where you hope and pray none of your starters get injured in the 20 minutes or so they're actually on the field (anybody else shuddering at the memory of Brodie Croyle tearing his ACL against Western Carolina?)
I was fully planning on going to this game even after it got moved to a Thursday night. I figured I'd get off of work at five, hop in the car and head to Tuscaloosa (along with everyone else from the tales of traffic woes I heard the next day) to watch the Tide comfortably roll Georgia State, a team in their first season of football ever. I had tickets to see Grinderman in Nashville on Friday night and thought I was lining up a seriously awesome weekend, but something came up mid-week and I couldn't make it to the show on Friday. I shifted plans, made a few phone calls and discovered there were still tickets for their Thursday show in Atlanta and decided to forgo the Bama game to see one of my musical heroes instead.
I felt better about my decision after I got onto I-459 toward Atlanta only to see an incredibly long line of slow moving traffic pointed in the opposite direction. I heard tales the next day about people that jumped ship on going to the game because they were barely out of Jefferson County and the game was midway through the first quarter.
Somehow, in all of the excitement for the show, we forgot to find it on the radio and didn't really think about it until we were already well into Georgia. By the time we found the Georgia State broadcast just outside of Atlanta, Alabama was absolutely shellacking GSU and it was almost embarrassing how easily we were scoring. And then it happened: Georgia State's Albert Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and I heard the one thing from this game I will probably remember for a while, an absolutely ecstatic Georgia State radio play by play man screaming:
"THERE IT IS FOLKS! THAT'S OUR SUPER BOWL!"
I can honestly say I've never been so happy about Alabama getting scored on (well, I wouldn't describe it as "happy" so much as indifference.) Despite losing badly, they sounded absolutely elated to not get shut out. I'm usually super irritated by our special teams gaffes, but that'll probably be the highlight of some of those guys' collegiate careers and you can't really begrudge them that joy.
We got to the venue at halftime and despite choosing the concert over the game, I made sure I had text updates about the game lined up in advance and RJYHYall came through for me unfailingly. I also got quite a few texts from RBR poster Stuck in the Plains. Even if I'm not at the game or not watching it, I don't forget it about it or get away from it entirely...even in the midst of a gigantic wall of eardrum shattering guitar noise (and my ears rang for 2-3 days after this one.)
So yeah, I chose Nick Cave over a 63-7 beat down of Georgia State and don't feel bad about it at all. It ended up being the best concert I've been to all year and it's a memory I'll cherish for a long time.
The only other memorable part of this contest is that the upstart program was coached by former Crimson Tide boss Bill Curry (man, those sweaters were awful.)
As I said before, it was a largely forgettable game, so much so that I didn't even bother to watch it on DVR. Will chime in soon with game #11 on the countdown.
While y'all were watching the game, I was watching this awesomeness:
Another clip or two after the jump...