Quick Slants: 'Bama bashers, unite
They're undefeated and the nation's top team, but Alabama doesn't scare us
The USC uniform saga has opened a whole host of timeout trading possibilities
Here's an idea for a new and enthralling ESPN-BCS TV commercial campaign
Bill Maher once cautioned against saying anything "truthful but unflattering" about a woman. I feel the same way about Alabama football.
Last year, I took many a shot at Nick Saban for being, well, Nick Saban. There's no question that the Nicktator's unceremonious escape from the Miami Dolphins came across as kind of sleazy. The man had earned a reputation as a two-timer and I felt quite comfortable making the joke over and over and over again -- that is, until the threats in the 'Bama fans' e-mails became alarmingly believable.
Earlier this season, though, I flip-flopped and found it within myself to praise Saban for his coaching prowess. A snake or not, the dude can flat out coach. He's shown that clearly this season, as the Crimson Tide enter this Saturday's SEC title game as the only 12-0 team in a BCS conference, and the No. 1 team in the country.
But I'm here to tell you that I'm not buying it. Sorry. I don't think this team will win the national championship. I don't think this team will win this Saturday. And it's not because I'm trying to play devil's advocate. It's because there's still a part of me that believes Saban the devil himself.
Of course, Saban's Crimson Tide have to be the top-ranked team in the country. They've won every game on their schedule, which is about all a team can do, and they're the only unbeaten team from a BCS conference, for which they deserve plenty of clout. However, with arguments over team credibility raging louder than ever before, I'm wondering why more people aren't poking at Alabama (even if only to fire up the SEC homers).
Let's not forget Alabama's 79th ranked schedule (it seems this is always a viable argument against Big Ten teams, but not SEC teams) and let's not forget the lack of veracity of 'Bama's three big wins (Clemson, Georgia and LSU haven't really been relevant since September).
And finally, if you're going to e-mail, could you resist the urge to threaten to track me down and find where I live? I'm still getting used to the new locks.
POTENTIALLY A WAY FOR NOTRE DAME TO STOP LOSING...
If you think that this weekend's showdown between USC and UCLA will be painfully unwatchable, you're probably onto something. However, that doesn't mean the game is completely meaningless. In fact, Pete Carroll seems to have brought one of the NCAA's strangest rules to the forefront by attempting to forge his own tradition. Carroll announced this week that he plans on dressing his Trojans in their home, cardinal-colored jerseys despite playing on the road at UCLA. Doing so would violate an NCAA rule that states away teams must wear their white jerseys. It's the penalty for breaking the rule, though, that is the real kicker. The NCAA will let you wear a different jersey if you really want, but your team will be forced to surrender one timeout per half.
This, of course, begs several important questions. For starters, who decided that a two timeout hit was the proper penalty? Was it the same guy who figured that three sets of clothes were enough to get you over a river in Oregon Trail? And furthermore, what would four timeouts buy a team? What about all six? Is there any combination of sacrifices that could buy a team an extra player, a fifth down or free points? Can timeouts be used as currency? These seem like logical questions.
AS IF THE CRUSHING LOSS TO IOWA WEREN'T ENOUGH...
Yeah. Will all defeated and mildly embarrassed Penn State alumni please raise their hands? (Raising hand.)
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