The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

There Is No Joy in ’Bamaland

Posted on | October 16, 2022 | Comments Off on There Is No Joy in ’Bamaland

The headline at ESPN says, “Tennessee tops Alabama in epic back-and-forth thriller,” but please, spare me such “thrills.” Pardon my lifelong preference for the boring, easy, lopsided Alabama victories.

O, Lord, keep your “thrillers” far away from the Crimson Tide!

’Bama spotted Tennessee a 28-10 first-half lead, but then Heisman Trophy quarterback Bryce Young led the Tide back to tie it 28-28 early in the third quarter. Alabama only punted once in the second half, scoring touchdowns on three of its five possessions, and adding a defensive touchdown when linebacker Dallas Turner scooped up a Tennessee fumble and ran it in. That gave ’Bama a 49-42 lead with less than eight minutes remaining, but Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker then led the Volunteers on a 75-yard touchdown drive that included two pass interference penalties against Alabama. The second penalty saved Tennessee after a fourth-down interception that would have — should have? — clinched the victory with four minutes left to play.

Now the game was tied, but Young led the Tide downfield again, reaching the Tennessee 32-yard line with 34 seconds left. Alabama still had one timeout left, and you might think they could have RUN THE DAMNED BALL at least once, but instead they threw three passes, all of them incomplete. With 15 seconds on the clock, Will Reichard came on to kick what would have been the game-winning field goal, but it went wide right, and it seemed we were headed to overtime.

Alas, Hendon Hooker may be the best quarterback Tennessee’s had since Peyton Manning. He connected on two passes that put the Vols at the Alabama 23 with two seconds left and Tennessee won on a field goal.

It was the first time Tennessee has beat ’Bama since 2006. Their fans tore down the goal posts and, of course, UT alumnus Glenn Reynolds was celebrating. Someone in the comments at Instapundit said, “Imagine scoring 49 points and losing!” To which I replied, “Unfortunately, we don’t have to imagine it.” A dreadful nightmare. “Thriller,” my ass.

Much of the blame for this defeat will fall on Bryce Young, perhaps unfairly. He threw for 455 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. The real problem for Alabama was that they got 17 penalties for 130 yards.

And where the hell was the defense, huh? Since when does Alabama’s defense give up 52 points to anybody, let alone Tennessee? The last time the Crimson Tide gave up this many points was 1907.

If Bear Bryant was alive, he’d have them boys running wind sprints until they died. Fifty-two points! That’s not a defeat, it’s a humiliation!

One of the problems with being America’s Greatest College Football Team is that there are really only two kinds of seasons for ’Bama: National Championships and failures. Since Nick Saban became the coach in 2007, the Crimson Tide has won six National Championships and, in all but two of those years, they did so with at least one regular-season loss on their record. So it is too early to say the Tide can’t come back this year, although they face a difficult schedule down the stretch, with the Nov. 12 game at Ole Miss looking especially tough.

’Bama fans will therefore remain hopeful that somehow Saban can get the team back to the SEC title game and we’ll see how it goes from here. For now, however, a dark cloud looms above Tuscaloosa, and in the hearts of Crimson Tide fans everywhere. There is no joy in ’Bamaland.



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