Monday, July 25, 2011

40 Days......and I'm Not Talking About an Arc.....

I've been waiting for this...and can't wait any longer.  For the past (almost) seven months, I have been waiting for this time to come and 40 days, to me, makes it close enough to begin the discussion.  Yes, this might be one of the most self-serving entries I've made to this blog, however it's okay.  I'm writing and anyone can comment after the fact.  What happens in 40 days, you ask?  It's that time again.  It's what we wait for from January 7th or 8th or whenever the final gun sounds.  From the time they hand the Waterford to them, The National Champions, the rest of us begin the countdown.  I am, of course, talking about another season of our beloved college football.  That's right, folks - only 40 days!!!!

Many of you, if not most, know that I am an extremely dedicated, dyed-in-the-wool (another funky expression), hardcore, die-hard Alabama Crimson Tide fan.  Yes, I hail from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and no, Penn State is not my favorite team.  They are a very close second, but I went to Temple University and, sadly, remember sitting in the stands several times watching the Blue & White crush my Owls...which, if you think about it, deserved to be beaten.  Seriously - the Owls?  Embarrassing...but (as usual), I digress.  This year, too, the Owls actually might win their conference AND go to a bowl game.  The University of Miami hired their head coach, while they managed to hire Florida's former Offensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Urban, I mean Meyer.  All in all, every team I pull for might have an exceptional year!

So back to our 40 days and Alabama Football.  The hope is springing anew yet again as this year Alabama has their eye on THE prize and hopes to win it all.  I love it when sportscasters say that.  Okay,, Mr "I know sports better than anyone even close to me," which team, exactly, doesn't start the season with the hope of winning it all?  Anyway, 'Bama returns many from last year's team and should have one of, if not the, best defensive units in the country.  They lost Marcel Dareus on the DL, Julio Jones' receiving abilities, and the running of Mark Ingram.  Hey, I'm not slighting any of those guys.  They were a huge part of the 2009 Championship team.  Fortunately, though, we've got Nick Saban and an incredible coaching staff, and they are going to put players in those positions that won't miss a beat.  As a matter of fact, I'll call this one early - IF Trent Richardson can stay healthy and injury-free, I say he will produce more than our beloved Ingram.  Yeah, we will miss Julio, I'll give you that.  This is one player that was always fun to watch and someone that could be counted on to make a clutch play.

So how did a kid from PA come to be such a faithful Alabama Crimson Tide fan?  I remember watching college football when we were kids and there were always certain programs that excelled.  We always heard the names of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame, Texas, and Alabama.  We're talking programs with tenure.  I suppose I always had respect for the Bear and the Program.  Ah, the program.....I just loved watching them.  Like PSU, Bryant and Paterno had programs with class that could win.  A lot.

Programs that were known even when they weren't having the greatest seasons, too.  They were known and talked about consistently mainly because of their coaches.  Osborne, Paterno, Bowden, Brown, Bryant...and now the Sabans, Stoops, Meyer (retired), and Paternos of this game.  Yeah, Joe is still there.  After eclipsing Bear Bryant's mark for most victories in a career, he kept going...and, like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going.  Timex watches have stopped ticking...yet, Joe remains.  He is an institution.  One of my favorite pictures is of he and Bryant before a Sugar Bowl game.  I won't post the picture of "The Goal Line Stand." when 'Bama stopped Penn State on 4th and goal to win the National Championship.  can't do it.  Too many friends still in PA.  At least they were friends before I wrote this...and, quite honestly, I don't have to show a picture.  I mentioned a few times - get the idea?

Yes, I am getting wound up and ready for the start of the new season. The picture to the right shows two of the icons of the game, Paterno and Bowden, along with Saban.  This year, September 10th promises to be as fun-filled and action packed as the second week of last year's season.  Alabama at Penn State.  It's a non-conference game, but it marked the renewal of the rivalry.  Oddly, though, it was a great weekend and not a 'rivalry' like others.  It's not on the scale of the Iron Bowl when Alabama plays Auburn.  Make no mistake, there is a rivalry, however it just isn't one of those 'ugly' rivalries.  The best part of this particular match-up is the respect shown by both players and fans for JoePa and the Nittany Lions.  That's what makes it fun.  We can all tailgate together, pull for our team during the game, then discuss it in a civil manner afterward. Somewhat.  We'll probably all be sharing a few adult beverages after...and that will make it okay, too.  It's just a great game and we all appreciate the schools being on each other's schedule.

So there it is - it's only 40 days until we start this season again.  It's 40 days until the journey for an unprecedented 14th national Championship begins anew.  The detractors will complain that all those titles aren't recognized.  yeah, well...whatever.  Who's got more?  Nick Saban can never erase the memory of Bear Bryant...nor should he.  He has, however, already etched his name in the lore that is Alabama Crimson Tide Football.  Yes, at some schools they play football.  At Alabama, we live it.  Saturdays down south, especially in the SEC, are religious experiences....and we all get to be a part of it...and the new a mere 40 days.

Until next time............

1 comment:

  1. WE WELCOME ya 'all to Happy Valley! Can't wait for the tailgate - gonna be a BLAST!!!!
    ANY and ALL fans are welcome - LOT 13.........just listen for Dave, Andrea & Carla - yea, pretty sure you will be able to HEAR us before you SEE us!!!!
    Roll Tide................<3