Monthly Archives: November 2007

Hunting Trip!!! Stop the Press!!!

By J. Henderson

I wake up to a meltdown. The links are too numerous to list. Tommy Tuberville, says everyone but the people who would know (incoming Arkansas Athletic Director, the man in charge of the Razorbacks coaching search, called it ‘fantasy‘), is the new coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Jay at Track’em Tigers says we have to take this stuff seriously because the mainstream media is on it. He didn’t feel the same way when CBS Sportsline analyst Spencer Tillman laughably reported on Tuberville’s immanent move to Texas A&M. The mainstream media was all over the Tuberville-to-A&M soap opera. So why start listening now, especially when the denials folks were clamoring for Tuberville to make a few weeks back now exist? Because people will hear what they hear, and addressing rumors is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t ordeal, and all the more so thanks to Nick “I’m Not Going to be the Alabama Coach” Saban.

Don’t say anything = why so vague, coach? Say something, coach!

Deny you’re looking for anything else = why are you lying, coach! Just say you want to stay at Auburn, coach! Wait, you do?! Ha! Why are you lying, coach?

As newspapers adapt to our modern ebb and flow, the lines are blurring between ‘mainstream’ and ‘non-mainstream’ news, especially when sourcing is involved. Mainstream papers and news stations regularly report on what ‘internet sources’ are reporting, which in turn gives the cited internet sources something else to cite, ad infinitum…

All it takes is one ‘legitimate’ online news outlet, even if just a well-read blogger, to say something like ‘rumors are swirling today on the internet’ and suddenly a report simply referencing the activity of internet message boards becomes a quotable source of information for a story waiting to be constructed merely out of circumstance… for bloggers, for newspapers (who’s reporters are now bloggers), for freakin’ CBS.

(Team A is out of Coach. Coach B once bought his son a Team A shirt. Internet sources are claiming… therefore, Coach B is packing his bags for Team A. Just listen to the sports anchor on the video Jay posted on his site: “This is also being reported by Clay Henry at HogsIllustrated.com” — HogsIllustrated.com is an “unofficial UA fan site.”)

I don’t mean to pick on Jay, because all my favorites are going Chicken Little… no offense fellows, but I just don’t see it, not at all, and it won’t happen.

InterThreat

The real nightmarish potential of the internet is not the facility with which non-stories can be reported, but for its ability to literally create stories where none before existed.

I called a girl one night in high school. I wanted to talk to her. I liked her, but was nervous. She was at a party with some other girls. As I stammered around, she said ‘oh, I know why you’re calling, you want to talk to Abby!’

I didn’t want to talk to Abby. But I knew Abby. Abby was cute. Maybe I should talk to Abby. Maybe I liked Abby. A week later, Abby and I were on a date.

It won’t happen, but that’s the thing I’m scared about: Tubby thinking maybe he should like an Abby. An Abby thinking maybe she should go out with Tubby. After all, he’s on a hunting trip…

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Revised Ark. trip photo – submitted by Ike

It won’t happen. War Eagle.

*** Update, 10:45 am

*** Update 12:45 pm

*** Update 2:56 pm – Barbershop talk is that there is an Auburn press-conference scheduled for this afternoon. There is no press conference scheduled for this afternoon.

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Exalted Eagle?

Is that Nova? Spirit?

No, it is loyal reader Ike and Ben the Kid at TWER’s Iron Bowl tailgate, with what turned out to be a hawk kite.

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Exalted Eagle!

War Eagle!

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If You Can’t Beat’em, Burn’em…

By J. Henderson

burned-roll.jpgI got to Toomer’s pretty early Sunday morning… to bask. Though the silly string of victory was spread all the way to Samford Hall, the two famous corner oaks were empty, which was initially depressing (had an Iron Bowl win finally become ho-hum?) and then infuriating, as the explanation as to why unfolded, for beneath my feet was the soggy char of what looked to have been a fire. I asked a member of the clean-up crew what happened. They appeared to be just getting started.

“Someone started a fire last night.”

And yep, it’s true…

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… and the timing couldn’t have been worse: the latest issue of Auburn Magazine, which came out just two weeks ago, has a cover-story detailing the poor health of the two historic trees.

Though only rumors as to the pigskin persuasion of the perpetrators are presently available, there was a perpetrator; it was no accident, as some really great people have suggested (it’s a toss-up for me, favorite-wise: ‘burn burn burn’ or the guy wishing Toomer’s Drugs had gone up in smoke). But as of 2pm Wednesday, no one has been arrested in connection to the blaze.

The APD police report, logged at 2:20am Sunday, simply reads: “Toomer’s Corner trees on fire. Fire is under control.”

Auburn Fire Division’s Deputy Chief Lee Lamar said that around 2am Sunday morning “witnesses saw a gentleman pull out a pocket lighter and [after igniting the toilet paper] run on down the street. He couldn’t be identified, nor which side he pulled for or anything else. It did burn the trees a little bit and scorched some paint on the cherry picker behind there but no one was hurt.”

Only “six or seven” minutes passed between the time the fire was first reported and the arrival of the fire department, Lamar said.

Slice this up with Occam’s Razor and you can decide the likely description of the arsonist yourself.

Rammer Jammer….

*** Correction: It was “six or seven” minutes between the time when witnesses said the fire was started and the arrival of AFD.

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Sabamalamadingdong

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Rod Smith and Ben Tate give a mixed-media / sign language prediction of how many more Auburn will consecutively hang on Bama = 6,115

By J. Henderson

I feel certain I speak for both J.M. and myself when I say that it has been and will likely continue to be a busy week, filled with post-postponing distractions, not least of which being lingering Victory Ecstasy Paralysis (which seems to going around). So, as for everything you would expect from The War Eagle Reader in the luxurious wake of Six Saturday, do bear with us.

But a quick something in the meantime.

Since the Saban snafu from the week prior has been ratcheted up to the point of appropriation for political commentary … I feel pressed to point out the aspect that I feel to be the most disturbing, the one passed by in the punditry parade.

Similar to my feelings that, in the “coon ass” scandal of early Saban Mania (which resulted in the first of two comment-clarifying press statements the Bama PR machine deemed necessary to cover for their coach in less than a year), LSU fans were likely much more offended by Saban’s gloating in their sense of betrayal (yeah, they “might not be able print that”) than in his use of regionally accepted slang, I can’t but think that the focus should never have been on the perhaps poorly decided points of analogical reference (of an analogy the context of which, though I’ve enjoyed the fallout, has been rather disabused of its intent) but rather his, at best – valley girl, at worst – inaccurate, articulation of American history.

“Pearl Harbor got us ready, you know, for World War II, or whatever.”

I believe Pearl Harbor got us into World War II, not really ready for it, or whatever. Maybe that’s a little petty, still I say nail him not for his attempted analogy [Saban hopes that: La-Monroe will be to Alabama football what Pearl Harbor / 9-11 were to America = a catalyst for unity and gung-ho attitude… of course, it won’t] but rather for that freakin’ “or whatever.”

(On a similar note, petty, sure… I believe that I may have stumbled upon some related, possible Nick Sucking, for note in this AP piece posted by The Sporting News (also linked above) the clean-cut omission of the hanging “or whatever.”)

As for the Iron Bowl, more on all that later but I will say this:

It was what it was. It was six in a row. It was spectacular.

Let’s War Eagle Forever.

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Ben Tate, Bard, Man.

“We wanted to show them that we were men and they weren’t.”

That last run by Lester will live forever. Got 12!

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Filed under Iron Bowl 365, Post-Game

Bring them on, Bring them on…

Two days away from an extra notch, an extra arrow in the heart of the crimson monster. Investigations into the implications of our eventual reascension of the win column will likely mark much of TWER’s December downtime.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime – and soak this in, brothers – please to enjoy the lyrics to the song “War Eagle” by the band Early Man, from the (for our purposes) appropriately titled album Closing In.

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i am an eagle made of steel
a spawn of evil* i am real
i cannot think i cannot feel
i an an eagle made of steel
silver bullets cannot pierce my skin
i am not afraid of mortal men
bring them on bring them on
i am cruising at the speed of light
i’m hunting for your soul tonight
you’re in the crosshairs of my eyes
turning mankind’s masses into clay
crushing all opponents in my way

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i’m soaring high above the land
programmed to kill you on command
my eyes shoot laser beams at will
they’re dialed in and set to kill
there is no truce here is the deal
i am an eagle made of steel
man-made weapons will not slow me down
because my wings will never touch the ground

*”evil,” to Bama, is good.

War Damn Eagle.

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An Honest Assessment of Nick Saban, Part 2

By J.M. Comer

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Nick Saban in blissful times. The cat that ate the canary.

Much has been made of Nick Saban’s loss to UAB his first year at LSU in 2000. It followed a road loss to #24 Auburn, 34-17, on Sept. 16. But the loss to UAB on Sept. 23 was his ONLY loss to an out-of-conference minor school in his years in Baton Rouge. Do you know what Saban’s follow-up performance was after the embarrassing slip up? His unranked LSU Tigers beat an #11 Tennessee Volunteer team, 38-31, the next week.

Uh-oh.

Saban coached at Michigan St. and Toledo before his job at LSU, but I can’t really tell you what is an embarrassing loss during his years at the helm of the Toledo Rockets. I mean, who is the underdog in the matchup of Toledo and Bowling Green or Western Michigan. I can’t tell you, and what’s more, I don’t want to know.

What I do know is that Nick Saban never lost three games in a row at LSU. But he did have a little stretch of winning only two games out of six to finish the 2002 season.

So once again Saban, enters his first year at a traditional SEC powerhouse and loses to a much-lesser team. This time it is to the University of Louisiana at Monroe. In Tuscaloosa. In an embarrassing fashion. 24-17.

His career in the SEC is entering uncharted territory while at Alabama. Can Auburn make it four losses in a row?

Maybe. Saban has also never won at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He is 0-2 when visiting Auburn.

How does Alabama handle humbling losses?

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Hero of little boys and their dads,” sings Roger Hallmark in the country-synth stylings of the song, “Bear.” What happened to Bama in 1982?

What can we make of the University of Alabama’s loss this past weekend? Does Bama bounce back from these games?

It’s unbelievable to me, but since 1982 the University of Alabama (and this is counting Bear Bryant’s last year) has almost always lost (ONE EXCEPTION IN 1999) the following game after being embarrassed by a little school from Louisiana, Mississippi or Illinois. And they don’t fare very well in the Iron Bowl when they lose the game before it.

Please note: It’s a couple of trends for Bama since 1982. I don’t have the energy to look earlier. And losing a game before the Iron Bowl doesn’t always mean that Bama loses to Auburn. But over the past 25 years when they lose the game leading up to the Iron Bowl, Bama also loses to Auburn more often than not.

Take a look!

1982 — (Bryant’s last year) — On Nov. 13 Bama loses to Southern Mississippi and then falls the next week to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Two losses to end the season.

1983 — Alabama loses to Boston College, 13-20, and then loses to Auburn the next week 20-23. Two losses to end the season.

1984 — Alabama at home loses to Vanderbilt 21-30 and then loses to Georgia in Birmingham the next week 14-24. Three losses in a row.

1987 — Alabama loses to Notre Dame 6-37. The next week Bama loses in the Iron Bowl 0-10. Then, loses to Michigan in their bowl game. Three losses in a row.

1990 — Alabama loses at home to Southern Mississippi, 24-27, to start the season. Then they lose the next two games to Florida and Georgia. Three losses in a row, snowballing from the USM loss.

1996 — An exception to the “losing before the Iron Bowl” theory. Bama loses to Mississippi State on Nov. 16, but then wins the Iron Bowl the next week. A split for the last two games.

1997 — Alabama drops the game against Louisiana Tech 20-26. The Crimson Tide then loses the next three games. Also, Alabama loses to Mississippi St. in the week before the Iron Bowl and then loses in the Iron Bowl to Auburn, 17-18. Four losses to end the season.

1998 — Alabama loses to Mississippi State and then in the following week beats Auburn in the Iron Bowl. A split for the last two games of the year. Another exception to the “losing before the Iron Bowl” theory.

1999 — The “LITTLE SCHOOL RULE” exception: Bama loses to Louisiana Tech on Sept. 18 by a score of 28-29. The next week they beat Arkansas in Tuscaloosa 35-28.

2000 — On Sept. 16, Alabama loses to Southern Mississippi, 0-21, at home. Embarrassing indeed. The next game they lose to Arkansas 21-28. Later in the season, Bama loses five straight, ending the year with a 0-9 loss to Auburn. Both trends are upheld in the same year. Huzzah!

2003 — After the Sept. 20 loss to Northern Illinois, 16-19, Bama loses to Arkansas the following week, 31-34. Alabama ends the year with three losses to LSU, Auburn and then Hawaii. Another loser two-fer!

2004 — Alabama loses to LSU in the week leading up to the Iron Bowl. This game takes place in the Shula years, what do you think happens next? They also lose their bowl game. Boo effin’ hoo.

2005 — Just like 2004, Bama loses to LSU before the Iron Bowl, loses the Iron Bowl but slips by Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.* (Thank you Dr. Blake.)

2006 — Bama loses four in a row to end the season. Three regular season and the bowl game. Losses are to Mississippi State, LSU, Auburn and then Oklahoma State.

2007 — Bama loses to LSU, then Mississippi State and then the University of Louisiana at Monroe. What will happen this year at the Iron Bowl?

Do you see the trends?

Nine out of eleven times in the past 25 years, if the University of Alabama loses in the game leading up to the Iron Bowl, then they fall to Auburn the next week.

Only one time in seven seasons over a span of 25 years after dropping a game to Southern Mississippi, Northern Illinois or Louisiana Tech has the Crimson Tide bounced back to win the next game. It happened that one time in 1999.

So, looking at the way Bama handles these losses and the way Saban handles these flubs — I think it is pretty much a push. I’d have to lean more toward JCCW‘s way of thinking than Track ’em Tigers’.

This is Nick Saban’s University of Alabama team. Saban’s Tiger squads, it seems, bounced back pretty well.

On the other hand, the enthusiasm and pride that followed Bama’s A-Day Game 2007 is in tatters. And when the prideful and arrogant fall, they fall hard.

Also, the two trends for Bama cover 25 years with eight different coaches (I think I’m remembering all of them, not counting Mike Price). Does it matter who is the head coach? Do these problems flow deeper, bubbling from the collective, tar-pit psyche of a post-Bear Bama Nation?

Hell if I know.

War Damn Eagle!

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