Tuesday, September 5, 2017

TIDE WINS WITH DEFENSE

      Things looked a little dicey when FSU knocked 'Bama on their collective heels in scoring their first-half touchdown. Visions of De Shaun Watson danced in lot of heads. That one touchdown was the end of the Seminole dream to join the race of a college football championship. There would be no additional Seminole touchdowns. The FSU defense was ready for prime time. I'll grant them that. The FSU offense? Not so much. Jimbo Fisher had his 'Noles ready to play anyone in the NCAA except the Alabama Crimson Tide. Once again, the teacher beat the student. Once again, Saban shows the futility in trying to beat the Tide when they have an excess of time to prepare. The same could be said for almost anyone who schedules Alabama. Like it or not, the world of NCAA football has turned into the Crimson Tide prime time show and on occasion someone else manages to crash the party.

Alabama offense had its problems...


Damien Harris blocks punt
    Despite some obvious problems, the Alabama offense had enough to  manage 24-points. The defense made a lot of that possible with three second half turnovers. None was bigger than a fumble recovery after a kick-off. Those fumbles and interceptions killed the ACC powerhouse. The Tide also blocked a punt in the first half which led to a Tide field goal. That three pointer followed a picture perfect pass from Hurt to a wide open Calvin Ridley. That bomb was the result of great pass blocking, a pass with enough air under it to allow a wide open Ridley to track it down for a TD. Those two first half scores put the Tide up 10-7. For the Seminoles the lights had been turned off,  but it took a while for all of us to grasp the fact FSU wouldn't score additional points. 

    
Going into the game I think most experts were more concerned with the Tide Defense. That turned out to be wrong. The Tide defense devastated FSU. In the second half it was clear that FSU had no chance of scoring. Shaun Dion Hamilton was must named the Defensive Player of the Week. So much for his comeback. He was a one man wrecking crew. The win was costly however. The Tide has lost both Hall-Lewis and Miller for the season. Evans is questionable for a while.  Regardless, whoever steps into the void has some big shoes to fill. I bet we will find someone.

 If you need a job done, and done right the first time, contact Vance Ballard of B&B Construction, LLC. Vance has put a roof on one of my homes and it was perfect. Vance graduated from the Captone, and loves the Crimson Tide. He loves doing quality work even more. You can contact him by leaving a Facebook Message at Vance Ballard

Friday, September 1, 2017

TIDE IS SET TO BEAT THE 'NOLEs



 All joking aside, does anyone really think that FSU is going to beat Alabama tomorrow? I can tell you a lot of reasons why Alabama will win this game, but I’ll give credit to Charles Hollis, who has a singular ability to incorrectly pick college upsets, and whose disdain for Alabama is well known. Hollis picking Alabama is akin to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated as favorite to win the Super Bowl. I read his pick and immediately felt better. You should too.

  As the kickoff for the big game draws nigh, more and more of the Alabama haters come out of the woodwork. I bet ESPN even considered bringing Danny Kannell out of forced retirement to add his two cents to the argument. Of course, Alabama might lose the game. FSU is a gallant opponent. Likewise, it is possible that Georgia Southern might beat Auburn, and Don Quixote will make windfall chasing a professional sport.  Why didn’t the Tigers open with a tougher opponent? Hoover High School already had a game on their schedule.

  For the younger fans, there was once a day when sportswriters reported on sports. Now they are part of the story. All the major networks like to take their “professional staff” and divide them down the middle of an argument. They claim it makes for better coverage of the games. It gives me much needed time to mow my grass, take out the garbage, and answer some emails from posters. 

 
Pressure is on Coach Daboll
 Granted, there are legitimate questions to address regarding 'Bama. Will Brian Daboll, in his first game as offensive coordinator, allow Jalen Hurts to throw the ball downfield? Or will Saban and Daboll give in to the great temptation to run the ball as the Tide's weapon in chief? Not a bad strategy for 'Bama, but it is unlikely that three yards and the smell of burning astroturf will be enough to put away the Seminoles. FSU gave up some pretty substantial number to opposition forces last year. 'Nol fans say the gaps are fixed and most observers think that may be indeed the case. Mathew Thomas, the best defensive player for FSU missed three weeks of practice but has been cleared to play. The big time linebacker is a force. Some NFL higher ups believe that the FSU defense has the most draft choices of any NCAA team this season. So, that is the what Saturday night brings to Brian Daboll. 

 
  Can Brian Daboll be the man in his first game as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban and Tide fans? I bet is he probably can get the job done. I'm almost`

   Last season, the Seminoles gave up a ton of yards and points. They are good. They are probably really good. But I don't think that they are 'Bama good. Every season it seems the Saban is faced with early departures to the NFL, and questions arise about depth. Each season he has answered them. The ACC pundits believe their league has now surpassed the SEC in stature. I don't and I think around 10:30 PM the clock will strike midnight for another team who thought they were a princess. Instead, they are the pumpkin


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tide Set For The Best Opening Game in NCAA College Football History?

 
A different kind of cat...
  It could be. It is difficult to think of a better one, isn't it?  Tip of the Hat to Nick Saban for taking on all comers in the first game of a season. This isn't a little warm up game like Georgia Southern. Saturday will be big boy football. Lace 'em up, strap 'em up tight, and get ready for mano y mano battles between the hash marks. This will be a take no prisoners type game. One team will walk off the field as the odds on favorite to win a national championship. Let's get the odds straight up front. Bama is a 7 point favorite to beat FSU. The Seminole fans don't believe the Tide will win. The rest of college football hopes the Tide won't win. I think the Tide wins. Why? To quote Gary Danielson, the Alabama quarterback is a "different kind of cat." When you have a true freshman that was the Offensive MVP for the SEC he is outstanding. Outstanding is about to give way to fabulous. Fabulous might give way to a National Championship.

Ridley is ready for a big season...
   Now we are told that Hurts is improved as a passer. If that is indeed true, he has a skilled set of young men who can catch the ball, and how good can the Tide offense be? I think the answer to that is great. Regardless of how good Hurts was last season he was still a freshman. It showed at times. Luckily, for the Tide, he was good enough to overcome a lot of mistakes. He was one short play away from having the best season any Alabama quarterback has recorded. The Tide would have won another National Championship. A lot of attention goes to the Clemson touchdown pass. The play I remember was a dropped third down pass late in the fourth quarter which would have allowed Bama to run out the clock.
Foster says he is ready ...

    Alabama has Calvin Ridley, the best wideout in the SEC, ready to take advantage of downfield throws. Cam Sims is ready, and Robert Foster seems poised to make Tide fans remember why he was signed. Foster was a five-star rated player out of high school. He has had some bad luck since arriving in Tuscaloosa. One thing is for sure about Nick Saban. He can turn a bad situation and get you in the NFL with one good season. This is what Foster is hoping for in his final year at Alabama. I have a good feeling that number eight is going to have a season to remember. He is a hard worker and has magic hands for catching passes. When you look at the Tide wideouts you see great talent and experience. Then look down the roster and you see superstar freshmen ready to take center stage. 

    Add the best running backs in the SEC or perhaps the NCAA and you can see why this season might be a great one. Some people on the SEC Network are picking the Seminoles to beat Alabama due to a questionable defense. Remember when sportscasters just reported the news instead of making it up as go along? I like the Tide in a low scoring game. 17-10.








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Friday, August 4, 2017

" We Embrace It"


 He didn’t engage in coachspeak.  He didn’t dodge the anticipation. I suspect he is telling his players to feed off the media frenzy and enjoy the ride. I think Johnson knows he has the horses to win enter the derby. If you caught the practice earlier this week it is apparent that the Crimson Tide is going to be very good. At a minimum, the Crimson is NCAA good. I wonder what the maximum be. This team isn’t going to win the NCAA this season. Alabama might win the SEC, but it is possible they might. Don’t get overexcited. It likely won’t happen after watching team up close and personal it seems to me the talent is available to give it a good run. Why do I say that? Here are the reasons:

1.       You must understand the firepower that Alabama has on the floor. Sexton and Petty bring a new dimension to set the gym on fire. Add Ingram, Davis, Riley, Davis, and Jr. to the mix and you have a lot of high scoring options.

2.       How about the improvement on the offensive end by Hall? How about the contribution that Giddens is going to bring? Seriously, this big package can dominate the inside. Johnson is not likely to have both on the floor together consistently, but individually they both are big time players. The improvement of the post players is huge, and it could be the most important upgrade the Tide makes.

3.       This team can run and then run some more. The Crimson and White is going beat up some teams with their speed and quickness on the break. See #2 to understand what is going to make that possible.

4.       Alabama also can run a half-court offense that will be patient enough to get great shots. A good inside and outside game is going to win a lot of games.

5.       Think about this – Dazon Ingram may be the 4th best player on the floor this year. Alabama still has Braxton Key who was last season’s go to guy by seasons end.


   Every time I try to temper my enthusiasm with common sense, the talent makes me even more enthusiastic. This team can win big if all the pieces fall into place. The Canadian swing gives the Tide extra practices and solid competition. One of the Canadian teams is almost SEC caliber. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Saban excersies wisdom and restraint in Hand punishment

COACH SABAN FINDS A FAIR BALANCE


    Nick Saban had a tough decision on his hands. His star defensive lineman was charged with driving while intoxicated. The facts clearly indicated that DeShawn Hand was not driving the car. I have no idea whether the car in question belonged to Hand or not. He was asleep in the car but the keys were in the automobile. As a practicing attorney I know that is being in constructive possession of an automobile. If you read my recent post about the efficacy of that law you know how I felt the State selling alcohol and charging someone with a DUI seems unfair. 

    Frankly, Nick Saban reached a decision that everyone should be able to live with in the future. Hand was evaluated for his drinking. I am not indicating that Hand has a drinking problem and I am sure Saban wasn't to convey that either. There may be legal ramifications or perhaps the Tuscaloosa Police Department will be satisfied with what occurs. A hearing is set and I am very interested in what occurs. If the City Attorney for Tuscaloosa makes some political statement out of the arrest I will be very disappointed. There is always room for equity in reaching a legal decision. At least that is true in most cases. It is not in best interest of Hand or the City of Tuscaloosa to become draconian. 

    Saban said that Hand will not be suspended for any games. A howl arises in the Loveliest Village on the Plains.  That might explain the absence of a law school on campus in Lee County. Just joking. Community service is upcoming. Had Hand been behind the wheel driving it would have been a different outcome. Reactions to Saban's decision was based upon partisan lines, of course. One last thing about the negative reaction. Haters have to hate. That's who they are until it happens to their child. 

    


     


COACHES POLL PICKS 4 BIG TEN TEAMS IN TOP 10...

OHIO STATE, PENN STATE, MICHIGAN, AND WISCONSIN IN TOP TEN.

   
    Excuse me if this post seems a little disjointed. I finished reading the USA Today Coaches Poll and have been rolling around on the floor laughing. It's time to catch my breath. Some things are so palpably funny it is hard to take them seriously. USA Today delievered for the Big Ten like a pimp will deliever the goods for a political national convention. Michigan? Holy out of your mind, Batman. Penn State? Only good if you count the wins in the lowly BigTen. Wisconson? I have loads of respect for a good program and no quibbling from me on the Badgers or the Buckeyes for that matter. Four teams in a conference which has become irrelevant cannot be sold with a straight face. 

           Let me make my case to the football jury out there in posting land. Since the BCS National Championship seems like a good place to start, I looked at the Big Ten winners. Starting in 1998 and looking skyward you find NO BigTen Champions until Ohio State won in 2014. That's it. One is the lonliest number you will ever find. That is one out of nineteen games (1-19). There are several ways you might choose to look at that Stat. I pick, "how horrible is that?" The alternative is, "what a joke conference."  But wait, perhaps I need more analysis. There were nineteen games in the first BCS system. 16 of those games were before the final four version and feaured only two teams. So let's look to see how many BigTen teams played in those games?  That number would be a lackluster two (2). Sorry, I almost hit the floor again but stopped at laughing tears at  televison's hope that the BigTen is an important conference. 



Big Ten 

        Just to be fair, let's look at the BCS National Playoffs version of the Championship. Okay, that is three years for six more teams that played for a Championship. May I have the envelope, please... and the winner isn't the BigTen. Only, you guessed it - one BigTen team spwas invovled and that is Ohio State. Acutally, Ohio State is the only BigTen team to make it to a National Championship Game in the history of the BCS ear. Maybe,  I'm looking at this wrong. Could I be biased? Is the National Championship Sports Information Director give us fake news? This will require additonal research and study so I'm headed to my liquor stash to get a drink. Preparation is important in these matters. 


        I am an SEC man through and through, so I decided to expand the search to find more favorable stats for the BigTen. Okay, here is where I short changed the mighty BigTen. The last three years have involved four teams. Michigan State got thrashed by Alabama in one semi-final game. So after bracing myself with an Oban single malt scotch I wish to tender my remorse for short changing the most overrated conference in the NCAA. I said you had sent one team to the Championship. Well, acutually you still only sent one to a Championship game, but we need to acknowlege the Spartans. I will update you on how to define that stat as soon as I have a second OBan, and pick myself off the floor one more time.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

HAND NEEDS HELP NOT PUNISHMENT

ALABAMA'S DESHAWN HAND SUSPENSION?


It is my firm belief that DeShawn Hand does not deserve punishment in excess of the facts of his case. I hope not and as a matter of fact, he doesn't deserve to have an NFL career jeopardized over something as immature as a DUI. I'm not saying that he doesn't deserve some punishment for his actions. I'm not even hinting at that. What I am saying is his life should not be dictated by one event. Those actions are not DeShawn Hand. I bet he is a nice young man who made a mistake and for a large part has already been punished for his transgression. To inflict punishment on him that outweighs the facts of his case is fair. Let's not have a rush to judgment here. At best, the attendant facts of his case are mixed. He did some wrong but he did a lot of right as well.

    Our Auburn friends (or however you choose to describe them) are reveling over the arrest of Hand. Was it the smart thing to do? Of course, not. But DeShawn Hand was not driving an automobile. In fact, he had the judgment not to drive an automobile. I've practiced law for almost forty years, and Alabama's DUI statute doesn't make sense with the plain meaning of the word driving.

     Subsequently, we all learned that Hand was actually sleeping. I'd submit to my jury of posters that sleeping cannot nor should be construed as driving. I have no idea if he had his car keys with him. My calls to the Tuscaloosa Police Department have not resulted in my learning whether or not he did. If he didn't, it is unlikely to result in a conviction. He could not have operated the vehicle. In reality, he is being charged with something he did not do, but granted, he may have had the ability to do so at a later hour.

    But here we find ourselves in a gray area. He was not driving because he realized he should not be driving according to a couple of articles I have read. That makes all the difference to me as a human being. Instead of punishing him shouldn't we be recognizing the fact that he made a correct decision?
He will be punished. The Alabama coaching staff will see to that, and I bet they will keep in mind he wasn't driving. I bet they also remember he chose not to drive. It was stupid and immature to get intoxicated. (if in fact,  he was).

    Suspending him for the FSU game would be the biggest mistake we could make. Judging this young man too harsh given the fact situation would be in error. I also know, and sadly so, that law enforcement officials have long since quit keeping the peace. Now they are under the impression it is their duty to arrest anyone who makes a mistake. I draw a distinct difference between keeping the peace (which entails protecting people) and enforcing our laws. He will lose his ability to drive for 90 days. He might face a suspension of his license. He will be fined between $600-$1800 dollars and could be ordered to attend a driving class that costs $50.00. That is fifty dollars a session times 32 weekends. He will also have to pay court costs and his lawyer. (I have no idea how much that might be). Court costs will be around $200.00. That mistake will cost him over $3500.00.  A further draconian reaction is simply uncalled for in this matter

   That is what they call unnecessary roughness in football. How much of that goes to balance the cost of running a city. I don't know. If Nick Saban suspends him it should be for the second game and whatever he views as equitable relating to team discipline. You want Hand to understand that drinking is not a good thing. Let's not ruin his career, and let's not lose our judgmental minds over a mistake where no one was injured. I understand someone potentially could have been hurt, but that is a whole different issue both criminally and civically. Here is one last comment about something that has alway bothered me. If we want to punish someone for driving and drinking why does the State of Alabama sell and tax liquor? That seems like a clear conflict of interest. #befairtoHand