Was the 2009 Sugar Bowl the game that changed college football? The Tuscaloosa News' Tommy Deas thinks that just might be the case and cranks out a 1,800-word epistle supporting his contention.
The victory, Deas argues, gave the Utah squad a national prominence it had lacked before (despite racking up a formidable record over the past several years) and bestowed the program the proper gravitas to make the move to the Pac 10 this month when conference expansion hit its tipping point. The obvious comparison is the 1926 Rose Bowl that launched a previously unheralded Alabama squad into national prominence.
But if looked at in that light, perhaps the better case to be made is that it is the '09 Sugar Bowl is equivalent to the Crimson Tide's defeat of John Heisman's University of Pennsylvania team in 1922 -- the game that made the Rose Bowl bid possible four years later. Because it remains to be seen if Utah will parlay this breakthrough into something permanent.
Most importantly, the 2009 Sugar Bowl proved not to be the tombstone of Alabama's National Championship hopes as some thought at the time but rather the inspiration for a renewed commitment to attaining the crystal football -- a commitment that was transformed into reality with the 2009 title season.
As Deas points out, when Alabama went out to California last December, the laid back approach in New Orleans the year prior was gone and the team's effort echoed the workmanlike attitude of Wallace Wade's squads from the 20s. With a similar result.
Just Tell Us It's All Going To Be Allright
Alabama's new secondary coach, Jeremy Pruitt, spoke at an alumni association meeting in DeKalb County last week and had a few interesting things to say about the Crimson Tide's 2010 defensive backfield, the demands of recruiting and what it's like working for Nick Saban. Pruitt, the Tide's former director of player development, got the coaching job when James Willis took the DC slot at Texas Tech.
You Better Listen To Your Mother
As an assistant at Michigan State, Nick Saban used to keep track of Mark Ingram Sr. by calling the star player's then-girlfriend Shonda. It seems she picked up a few things from the coach that she passed on to her Heisman Trophy-winning son. "Once I found out what his plans were, I motivated him by saying ‘You want to go to college, so you need to keep up your grades. You want to be a football player, then you have to work out... While other people are at home sleeping in the morning, you need to get out and run.’"
Probationville, USA. Located Right On Denial River.
A diehard Miami Hurricanes fan (and former Alabama student) pens an open letter to USC fans explaining how much probation sucks and what needs to be done to survive it. Trojan fans dismiss the assessment as "ill informed" and insist the sanctions are part of a sweeping conspiracy, partly engineered by the nefarious administrators that got Da U in so much trouble to start with.
Maybe In A Utilitarian Sense But Certainly Not In A Kantian Sense
An Alabama football fan writes an ethics expert asking if the NCAA's new rule changes -- particularly the one governing 'excessive celebration' -- are "fair and ethical." As you might expect, the well reasoned inquiry gets a limp-wristed response from the egghead.
It's Mike Johnson's World And We're Just Livin' In It
The former Alabama offensive lineman's hometown paper does a nice article on the banner year the new Atlanta Falcon is having. Of course the photo of the big lug and of the goofy grin he's been wearing since Jan. 7 probably says it all.
You Must Be Nuts
Alabama is FIFTH in this online pre-season poll!?!! I'm sorry but his will not do. Pop over and get votin' my good friends.