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My name is Eric. My love of and loyalty to the University of Alabama football team is unparalleled and completely inappropriate. I hate all other teams, and wish them peril. Also, you can hear my music at www.reverbnation.com/EricBlackerby or www.youtube.com/EricBlackerbyMusic

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Playoffs? PLAYOFFS!

A Look Back

Ole Miss Fans, Having Never Won Anything Before
The last time I wrote here, back when my home computer allowed such things to occur, we had just lost to Ole Miss and I was trying to temper expectations and help some of y'all to feel like I did at the time. I was enjoying watching the progress of Blake Sims, and had come to the conclusion that we just weren't a championship team this year. And that was OK. I've spent a lot of the past year learning perspective and trying not to put so much energy into college football and not focus so much of my own happiness on its outcomes.

My God, what a difference 2 months makes.

After that fateful game in Oxford, TJ Yeldon got emotional and basically promised that we would not lose again. Shades of Tim Tebow in 2008 had me wanting to feel optimistic again. I admit that I wasn't as high on the future of this particular team that week. After Florida lost to Ole Miss in '08, Tebow cried on TV and promised that they would not lose again. And they didn't. And we haven't either.

 It's fun that Ole Miss has to settle for that place in the world. But this is not about them anymore, other than that I would like to congratulate them for finally ending a season in Atlanta. The Peach Bowl is very nice for a lower tier school such as them. Have fun, Rebels.

The week after losing to Ole Miss, we had to travel to Fayetteville, AR, to play Bret Bielema's Razorbacks. I don't have time to talk about how much I love that big goofy bastard they have for a coach now. The dude is awesome, says crazy things from time to time, acts like a kid coaching a game, and wants to play the exact type of football that
I adore. But I didn't adore it that night. Arkansas tore us up in the trenches and we could hardly run the ball. Blake Sims, and our offense as a whole, played as poorly and predictably as they have all year and we only won 14-13. Blake was lucky not to have thrown 4 or 5 INTs that night. We really should have lost. If not for Bielema inexplicably abandoning the run too early towards the end, we probably would have. Thanks, Bert!

So then we come home to play Texas A&M, and even though it's at home, I'm terrified. I'd never been so unsure of what the outcome of a Bama game was going to be as I was that day. I figured we could either beat the hell out of them or they could beat the hell out of us with their offense, which to
that point had been a high flying operation. Our offense, which had looked dominant against Florida earlier in the year, was falling apart at this point, special teams play was laughable. Bobby Williams' job was being called for by pretty much everyone. Ryan Kelly and Kenyan Drake were out at the time and those were two huge problems. 59-0 later, we saw what Alabama was actually capable of this year if we played with the right attitude and leadership.

At kickoff of the Tennessee game in Knoxville, it had been 2,926 days since the Vols last beat the Tide and they just knew they were going to change that this year. Butch Jones was doing everything he could to become the next combination of General Neyland and God, according to UT fans, and with Lil Jon in their corner, they felt like they'd never fail to convert another third down again. They played Turn Down For What every single time they had the ball. Blake Sims and company were completely unfazed. Blake converted FOUR 3rd down conversions on one drive to put us ahead 34-17 in the 3rd quarter and that was pretty much that, with Tennessee tacking on a worthless FG to make it look better. 34-20. Blake threw for 286 yards and ran for 41 more in the game and Amari Cooper owned their secondary like always.

Congrats to UT on their moral victory, since they didn't end up losing by 40 or anything like usual. But shoutout to Josh Dobbs, who I think will make them alot better next year. But still, we woke up Sunday having not lost to Tennessee since Mike Shula's last season in Tuscaloosa.

LSU always scares the shit out of me and it doesn't matter that they had lost to Auburn by like 5 touchdowns earlier in the season. LSU always matches up well with us in the trenches and they are always ready to play their best game of the year against us. So of course, it would take OT to escape Death Valley with an emotion victory. TJ Yeldon fumbled at his own goal line at the end of the game and clearly LSU was about to score an easy TD and put the game away. It was over. We were going to lose. But then LSU OL Vadal Alexander shoved A'Shawn Robinson after the play was over and got flagged for it, which caused LSU to have to settle for a FG. Then LSU kicked the ball out of bounds on the kickoff, setting us up in great field position. Blake Sims was the stuff of legend on those final drives. We tied the game, then Blake won it with a TD pass to DeAndrew White in OT. LSU fans were so sad. And now we've beaten them 4 times in a row, which is astounding considering the history of this rival. Just another testament to the greatness of Nick Saban.

I was supposed to have gone to the Mississippi St game in Tuscaloosa, which would have been mine and my wife's first ever Alabama game to be there for, but it turned out we couldn't afford it. That all worked out ok though, cause a friend gave us tickets to the WCU game the next week and we had a blast.

The Bulldogs were having one of their most promising seasons ever, coming into this game undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation. But Vegas still had them as underdogs against Alabama. Funny how Vegas knows about these things sometimes. The final score of 25-20 doesn't tell the whole story. It was 19-3 Bama early in the game and 25-13 before Clown Shoes Mullen added a TD at the end just to make it look better. He wasn't even trying to win at that point. Typical loser mentality from a loser program. Congrats to them on ending their season in Miami though.

Western Carolina is a dirty ass team and that has always been the case. They are the team that tore Brodie Croyle's ACL in 2004. And in this game was no different. Jalston Fowler, Ardarius Stewart, Cam Robinson, Amari Cooper, A'Shawn Robinson, and Brian Vogler were all hurt in this game. A'Shawn was hurt on a blatantly dirty chop block play. And the refs did their part to give WCU a TD at the start of the game by blowing the whistle "accidentally" during a play, which gave them back the ball after Alabama had forced and recovered a fumble. Then the refs turns a blind eye to a WCU receiver pushing off Bama DB's and it was not a fun 1st quarter.

But I had a great time cause I was THERE for the first time in my life, in Bryant-Denny Stadium for an actual game. Singing Dixieland Delight in the 4th quarter and Rammer Jammer and making new friends of strangers. I loved seeing Tyren Jones get in the game and look every bit the part of the next great Bama back after Yeldon, Henry, and Drake. Altee Tenpenny could be that good too. I love seeing young guys play and show that they are going to be strong in the future.

The Iron Bowl would be a tale of two games for Blake Sims. After throwing 3 INTs in the first half, he led Alabama on 5 straight TD drives to bring the team back from a 33-21 deficit and turn it into a decisive 55-44 victory for us. 630 yards and 8 touchdowns would seem to be the stuff of a complete beatdown, but it's never enough for me when the opponent is Auburn. I'm still mad about Saban kneeling on the ball and NOT making it 56-0 in the 2012 Iron Bowl. And you can never count these fleas out of anything anymore either. Last year is a constant reminder of that, and the fact that we put up all that offense and 55 points and still only won by 11. I hope we score 70 in Jordan-Hare next year.

I still can't believe after we lost to Ole Miss and then looked like we did against Arkansas, that this team made it to Atlanta to even play in the championship game. Just about a month ago, it seemed like the SEC West was the State Of Mississippi's world this year. But, as has been the case for generations, the 50th best state in the Union doesn't get to sit at the big kids table for too long.

Georgia should've been the East representative in this game. They were the best team over there. But typical Mark Richt blowing at least one game a year that he shouldn't allowed a team that lost to INDIANA to be the SEC East Champion. Bad news for Missouri.

Alabama was favored by 2 touchdowns and if Missouri players and fans wanted to think that was a joke, everyone who took Bama and the points made money. Blake completed his first 10 passes and Bama looked to roll early, but Missouri is a scrappy little team and went into the 4th quarter only down 21-13 to us. But then, Saban told Kiffin to #RunTheDamnBall and The Derrick Henry Show was in fast production. This group of Tigers had no answer to that level of a run game and Bama showed that they are the best team in college football at this point. My favorite moment of the night came after the game when Allie LaForce was interviewing Blake Sims at midfield and she asked Blake if he was ready to win the national championship. Blake didn't give a PC answer or hesitate, he just simply said, "I sho' am". Love you, Blake.

BTW. Missouri's last national championship came in 1965. In Men's Indoor Track And Field. They ain't 'bout this life.



1. Alabama vs. 4. Ohio State. New Orleans
2. Oregon vs 3. Florida State. Pasadena.

I never thought I'd see this day. We actually have a playoff to decide the national champion of our favorite sport. I have no time for TCU and Baylor fans who are bitching about all this right now. Blame your own conference for not having a championship game or the intelligence to name a One True Champion, as it had stated it would. It played hardball wanting to get two teams in, and now you're both at home because of Ohio State, and you're mad at Bama? Just sit down.

All The Offense

Hiring Lane Kiffin now looks like one the best decisions of Nick Saban's career, as the Alabama offense has set records almost nonstop throughout the season. My first thought when the hire was made was that Amari Cooper was going to lead the SEC in receiving and that expectation has certainly been exceeded. I know Lane wants to be a head coach again and I wish him nothing of the best when he does leave us, but I hope it's at least a couple years from now. I want more than one season of this.
Alabama is averaging 37.1 points a game, which is 17th in the country out of 128 teams, and allowing 16.7 points a game, which is 4th.

Blake Sims has thrown for 3,250 yards, which beats the previous record for passing yards in a season, 3,063, set by AJ McCarron last year. Sims has also thrown for 26 TDs and run for 6 more, averaging 4.4 ypc when he runs it. Blake went 23-27 in the SEC Championship game, and that 85.1% completion % is the best ever in that game, breaking the previous record held by Jason Campbell a decade ago. His 281 total yards was also an Alabama record for yards in an SEC Championship Game.

Amari Cooper has been otherworldly, making Julio Jones's previous records look pedestrian. Several years back, DJ Hall was the first Bama WR to have 1,000 yards in a season. Julio set the standard in 2010 with 1,133 yards on 78 receptions. Cooper has 1,656 yards on 115 catches. He is the best to ever wear Crimson and will probably owe Lane Kiffin a Christmas card every year for the rest of his life.

Nobody in SEC history has caught more passes in a season than Cooper and his 12 receptions in the SEC Championship Game is also a record.

TJ Yeldon has 932 rushing yards and Derrick Henry has 895.

It's entirely conceivable that Alabama could end the 2014 season with a QB that passed for 3,800 yards and 30 TDs, a 2,000 yard WR, and two 1,000 yard RBs.

If Alabama is to win its 16th National Title, it will have done so by winning the SEC Championship, beating Ohio State and beating either Oregon or Florida State. This could go down as the greatest season ever if all that takes place.

And I think it will.

Random Tidbits

In 2010, when Lane Kiffin left Tennessee for USC, he tried to get Blake Sims to go with him. He had tried to get Blake to play for him before in Tennessee and, in fact, Blake had been committed to Tennessee. He only switched to Bama when Lane left for Cali. Picture Blake as a Vol. Gross.

The University of Alabama decided to no longer play Dixieland Delight in the 4th quarter, after thousands of Bama students had been chanting "Fuck Auburn" during the song in the stadium for everyone to hear. So yesterday, during the SEC Championship Game in the Georgia Dome, Bama students sang the song anyway, without music, and with the offending words inserted. They ain't gonna be stopped.

At SEC Media Days in July, the media picked Alabama to win the SEC. They have only correctly predicted the SEC champ a few times in the past 15 years.

This is the 1st year of the SEC Network, the 1st year of the CFB playoff. Of course Bama would be the team to represent. How appropriate will it be for Alabama to win the 1st playoff?

"We ain't winning no championship with Blake Sims as our QB" - Bama fans in September. LOL.

God bless the child that can hold its own
God bless Atlanta, Bama's second home
God bless Missouri and that Tampa 2 Zone
God bless Amari, Blake, and A'Shawn