Tag Archive: Iron Bowl


“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — US General George C. Patton (1885-1945)

“The Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him (her Presbyterian minister father) to vote. The Republicans did.” — Former U.S. Secretary of State and present Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” — President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Some have suggested that we have never been so divided; some seem to be skipping over the Civil War.

Having made this necessary clarification, your author is reminded of a quote from an Auburn football fan about the annual Iron Bowl.

“In Alabama, it’s either ‘Roll Tide’ or ‘War Eagle,’ and once you choose, you are branded for life.”

‘You are either for me or you are against me.’ How many times have we heard that quote?

In reality, life is not that simple. It’s not always black and white. As citizens — not subjects — with free will, we don’t have “own” everything that goes along with political orthodoxy. In fact, we don’t need to forever embrace a particular political philosophy.

Having grown up in a Roman Catholic Democratic household in which John F. Kennedy was our family patron saint and Nixon’s first name was “damn,” it seemed that Almost DailyBrett would be relegated to lifelong subordination to the Democratic Party.

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.” – President John F. Kennedy, Economic Club of New York, December 1962.

Kennedy’s quote and his strong military “quarantine” against Soviet missiles in Cuba, not the advocacy of a never-ending shutdown of the American economy, serves as a perfect example of the difference between the Democratic party then and the Democratic party now.

No Lightening Bolt Out Of The Sky

“Democrats, when they’re feeling alarmed or mischievous, will often say that Ronald Reagan would not recognize the current Republican Party. I usually respond that John F. Kennedy would not recognize the current Democratic Party, and would never succeed in it.” – Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan

Ronald Reagan didn’t transform your author into a “Reagan Democrat,” but instead a “Reagan Republican.” The Gipper’s celebrated epiphany occurred in 1962. For your author it was 20 years later. With time, Almost DailyBrett has grown to be even more neo-liberal and libertarian.

Buy Low Sell High.

There is a 100 percent correlation with your author leaving the ranks of those an eternal vow of poverty (e.g., political press corps) and joining the ranks of the well-compensated “dark side” (e.g., public relations … press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee). As George C. Scott in “Patton” said, “I love it. I love it, so.”

As an aforementioned Catholic your author expected a lightening bolt to strike me out of the sky, falling off the horse on the road to Damascus, and voting for Reagan that first time. As James Brown celebrated: “I Feel Good, So Good … “

Becoming a proud Reagan/Deukmejian Republican does not mean, yours truly buys into each and every policy position on the right side of the aisle. To this very day, Almost DailyBrett can state ex-cathedra, he doesn’t like guns, never did, never will. Bad people with guns, even those playing violent video games, are not good things.

Assault weapons are the worst. George Deukmejian said he saw absolutely no reason why anyone needed an assault weapon. We banned assault weapons in California. The NRA went fruit cake. Almost DailyBrett as press secretary strenuously defended that position; and supports that stance now.

There is no reason to be … predictable.

Voted Against The Clinton Restoration

Four years ago your author voted against the specter of a Clinton Restoration in the White House. Some believe in their hearts today they cast a good vote on behalf of a now increasingly bitter Hillary. There was zero chance of your author making that choice.

At the same, Almost DailyBrett was deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s decided lack of Reagan/Deukmejian political discipline. There was never any doubt about the philosophical direction of Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian. You could agree with them or not agree with them, but there was no doubt where they stood.

As Reagan said in his last Republican Convention speech in 1992: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Reagan and Deukmejian were eternal optimists, not utopian and decidedly not dystopian.

Your author did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016 (writing in former Speaker Paul Ryan), the first time since the 1980s not supporting the GOP nominee.

Fast forward, Donald Trump is not any more politically disciplined now compared to four years ago (see TMI on Hydroxychloroquine), another self-inflicted public relations damage control fire drill.

Having said that, there is the president’s record including tax and regulatory relief, standing up to China, strengthened border controls, strict constructionalist judicial nominees, increasing military preparedness and no new wars. And let’s not forget the Covid-19 response and the reopening of America’s economy.

Alas, the Democrats have settled on Joe Biden. Not being the hated Trump apparently is good enough for them. Deep down, they really want New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Democrats can’t get what they want. Republicans are getting what they need.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894518,00.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894522,00.html

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/convention/chome/nreagan.html

 

 

“91,000 people. 33 exit gates. One sniper …” Promo for the 1976 film, “Two-Minute Warning”

Terrorism is not the only threat hovering over American society and sports, both college and professional.

There is also the realistic spectre that arises from the proliferation of guns in society … there are more firearms (about 357 million) in the United States than people (318.9 million). Combine an overly armed society with intoxicants, emotion and rage … to Almost DailyBrett it is only a matter of time before …

Your author doesn’t want to think the unthinkable, let alone give anyone any unpleasant ideas. Having said that, let’s ask the obvious: At some point, will an out-of-control fan be tempted to shoot a player, a coach or an umpire or referee on the field, on the court or on the ice?

To be honest, Almost DailyBrett has thought about this subject too many times, the latest just this past Saturday night during the disgraceful, out-of-control NFL Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Six men were arrested for antics ranging from hitting a woman in the face to urinating on another woman. We all know it can be worse … much worse.arrestedcincyfans

The visiting Steelers pulled out a grinding-and-crushing 18-16 playoff win, aided by two horrific, late personal-foul penalties against the hometown Bengals. Would a male fan want to enter the under-the-influence of testosterone men’s room at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium, wearing Pittsburgh black-and-yellow following the game?

Maybe, that biological imperative can wait?

Considering that fans indulge a wide variety of libations and substances of varying degrees of intoxicant properties for literally hours before the game (night games have to be the worst), the game end-results may be adverse, and guns are simply too many and too easy to acquire, is an opposing player, coach or fan taking his or her life into their hands by simply participating or attending the game?

And considering that virtually every game, regardless of the sport, is broadcast by some outlet (conventional or digital), the game venue would instantaneously turn into a televised crime scene. Would that instantaneous publicity (e.g., 15-minutes of fame) prompt copycat shootings at other stadiums and arenas?

Never thought it would get to this point, but we as a troubled society may already be there.

Are Metal Detectors Enough?

In the aftermath of September 11, the Paris attacks and the assault on a soft-target in San Bernardino, there will be heightened security for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California as there should be. The Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement as a whole will be on high alert on February 7.

But let’s not dismiss games without the same stakes.

Consider the Oregon vs. Eastern Washington game this past September. The set up was that Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams was playing against his former team. Even though the outcome of the game was decided in the fourth quarter, Adams was knocked out of the game by EWU linebacker, John Kreifels, with a vicious helmet-first targeting hit. Kreifels was ejected.kreifels

Heading back to the locker room, Kreifels taunted the fans at Autzen Stadium. As a season ticket holder for 26 years, Autzen fans are for the most part passionate, but well-behaved. But what would happen if one person … and it only takes one … out of nearly 60,000 fans takes matters into his own hands? There are no metal detectors at Autzen.  Alas, there was a gun and a shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg about 70 miles away.

Is this concern unreasonable?

Six seasons ago, Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount popped taunting Boise State linebacker Byron Hout. When the Boise fans started to jeer Blount, the 6’0”, 247-lb running back started to charge the stands. Fortunately, Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost pulled Blount away from the fans. What if one of these fans had a firearm, a distinct possibility in Idaho? Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to think about it, but these thoughts just won’t go away.

Crisis Communications Is More Than Response

Jim Nance of CBS Sports labeled the atmosphere around the Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh game this past weekend as a “disgrace”, including the pelting with garbage of injured Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being carted into the locker room for treatment.

The NFL does have metal detectors at its games, but has the league and its teams (particularly their PR departments) given adequate consideration of the worst case scenario? Certainly, they have simulated terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but what about an inebriated fan with a firearm?

Have our professional leagues (i.e., NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, MLB) and our colleges (e.g., NCAA) ever given any consideration to asking fans … not just in agate print on the back of ticket stubs … but through public service announcements (PSAs) to not bring weapons to a stadium. They have no place in stadiums, arenas and ice rinks, particularly with children going to the games.

Sports public relations departments appear to be doing a decent job in combatting drinking and driving, especially before the trip back home after the game, but what about weapons?twominutewarning

We have seen a San Francisco Giants fan in a life-threatening coma after being attacked in the parking lot following the first-game of the 162-game season at Dodger Stadium. We may recall about a crazed Alabama fan poisoning the oak trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. And then there was Ron Artest (a.k.a. Metta World Peace) leading the Indiana Pacers into the stands in Detroit (“The Malice at the Palace”). And then there are the chardonnay-sipping Oakland Raider fans …

Before we can contemplate the terror of 91,000 fans, 33 exits and one sniper or deranged fan with a gun, sports public relations and marketing pros need to think more than just how to respond to this awful scenario, but how to prevent it in the first place.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/At-least-6-fans-arrested-Saturday-at-Paul-Brown-Stadium/37365086

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/14/baseballs-new-metal-detectors-wont-keep-you-safe-theyll-just-make-you-miss-a-few-innings/

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/11/14/nfl-statement-on-stadium-security/

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25295913/eastern-washington-suspends-player-for-cheap-shot-on-oregon-qb-vernon-adams

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2014/11/18/ten-years-later-brawl-prompted-change-nba/19256997/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/11/16/pistons-malice-palace-brawl-commissioner-artest-adam-silver/19138239/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Minute_Warning

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/05/guns-in-the-united-states-one-for-every-man-woman-and-child-and-then-some/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu3GzNDs74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The games they remember are played in November …”

… unless these games are played in the greatest conference of them all, ESECPN.cupcakesaturday

Take a gander at the full slate of ESECPN cupcake games on Saturday November 21 or one week before the end of the regular season:

☻Charleston Southern is visiting the Top-10 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Bryant-Denny Stadium. “Bless their hearts.”

☻Idaho and Auburn are renewing their storied intersectional rivalry at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn leads the series, 1-0.

☻Florida Atlantic is making a trip to the “Swamp” for its third cross-state confrontation with #11 Florida. Florida will be playing the Florida Atlantic Owls for the third time. The first two resulted in (gasp), Gator victories by an average margin of 59-20.

☻The same is true for Georgia Southern going in-between the hedges to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia leads the series 5-0. Can a sixth consecutive victory be in the offing?

☻The Citadel is making the trip to Columbia to play the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Citadel Bulldogs are 7-40-3 all-time against South Carolina. The last time the Gamecocks played a game at the Citadel?

Lyndon Johnson was president.

☻And let’s not forget the first-ever meeting between the UNC Charlotte 49ers and the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. This would be a much better basketball game.cupcakesaturday2

Why does the ESECPN conference play all these “cupcakes” this late in the season? Do we really think that Charleston Southern Buccaneers out of the Big South Conference has a snowball’s chance against Alabama, #7 ranked team in the nation in Tuscaloosa?

Looking forward to the second-ever meeting between the Auburn Tigers and the Idaho Vandals, Saturday Down South commented: “Auburn squeaked by with a 30-23 win in the Tigers’ only previous meeting with the Vandals. This game is strategically placed on the schedule to give Auburn an extra week of rest and preparation for the Iron Bowl. It should be an easier win this time around.”

Why are these ESECPN games being played, particularly so late in the season? There are several reasons:

  1. The ESECPN conference categorically refuses to increase the number of conference games from eight-to-nine each season. This shameful decision translates into one less time each season the ESECPN teams put in jeopardy their respective won-loss records compared to other conferences (e.g., Pac-12).
  2. Most college football teams adopt an A-B-C system of scheduling with one really tough non-conference game, one medium difficulty game and one cupcake. The cupcake game is typically played before the conference season starts and serves as a glorified scrimmage in preparation for the conference slate.
  3. As Saturday Down South commented Alabama playing Charleston Southern and Auburn taking on Idaho on November 21, essentially gives both teams a “bye” the week before the Alabama vs. Auburn “Iron Bowl.”
  4. The same is true for ESECPN conference-wanna-be Florida State, which plays Chattanooga the same day that Florida is matched up against Florida Atlantic. The Seminoles and Gators are playing cupcakes before they take on each other.
  5. All of these ESECPN cupcake games are surprise, surprise — home contests — meaning a full-stadium (e.g., 101,821 in Tuscaloosa) of Kool-Aid drinkers. Do you really think Auburn would travel to Moscow, Idaho or Georgia would ever stoop to play at Georgia Southern? Alabama playing at Charleston Southern? You’re kidding. Right?

Any bridges you would like to buy?

To be fair to the ESECPN conference office in Bristol, Connecticut, not all conference teams will be playing cupcakes on November 21: Mississippi State travels to Arkansas; LSU plays at Ole Miss; Tennessee visits Missouri and Texas A&M heads to Vandy.

Compare this shameful practice with the Pac-12 conference in which every team plays nine conference games, which translates into zero late-season cupcakes. Let’s check out the Pac-12 lineup on November 21:

USC vs. Oregon

Cal vs. Stanford

Arizona vs. Arizona State

UCLA vs. Utah

Colorado vs. WSU

Washington vs. OSU

oregonusc

If you are scoring at home that means that 12 teams playing six Pac-12 conference games vs. six ESECPN teams playing cupcakes and eight teams playing four conference games.

Will the issues rightfully raised by Almost DailyBrett resonate at ESECPN? Don’t count on it, particularly when you consider the unholy big bucks alliance that brings us the SEC ESPN Network.

Whattyathink Rece Davis (Alabama)? How about it Jesse Palmer (Florida)? Are you concerned about the spectre of Cupcake Saturday David Pollack (Georgia)?

Silence.

http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/alabama-football/all-time-alabama-record-against-2015-opponents/

http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/auburn-football/all-time-auburn-record-against-its-2015-opponents/

http://www.winsipedia.com/florida/vs/florida-atlantic

http://secsports.go.com/watch

 

 

 

Friends welcome; relatives by appointment only,” – Memorable sign in colleague’s house.

“What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted.”

The first rays of winter sunshine came over the eastern horizon on December 26.

The sounds of engines revving could be heard.

The only things that were missing were the pace car, the parade lap and the green flag.

Ed Carpenter

The relatives were leaving and heading home.

The holidays were coming to a merciful end.

Thank God.

If They Weren’t Your Relatives, Would They Be Your Friends?

There is good news, and not so good news about Thanksgiving and the December/January holidays.

The great tidings are rivalry weekends and championship games that are circled more than one year in advance on many respective calendars.

In Oregon, there is the Civil War between the Jetsons (e.g., Oregon Ducks) and the Flintstones (e.g., Oregon State Rodents).

In Southern California, there is USC vs. the junior campus of the University of California.

In Alabama, there is the Iron Bowl pitting Alabama (Roll Tide) vs. Auburn (War Eagle). Wonder how many trees will be poisoned this year?

In the Midwest there is Ohio State vs. Michigan … even though the game looks like a monumental mismatch this year.

Heck on Turkey Day, there are wall-to-wall football games, including the annual No Fun League (NFL) contests held in Detroit and Dallas respectively, and even a big one between the 49ers and the Seahawks.

And when Xmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan all roll around (choose which one applies to you) there are the annual bowl games and this year the extra special treat associated with the first-ever NCAA college football playoff.

Yep, we just can’t get enough of football. And we are sad when the season ends, even the NFL playoff games with their never-ending field-goal kicking contests.

The not-so-good news comes with the holidays themselves and the familial requirements that are associated with them. Why can’t we just fast-forward this DVD to spring and call it good? Alas, relatives were put on earth so we could experience our purgatory here and now.

The unrestrained joy and excitement that comes from a football weekend is not the case with co-mingling with relatives old and new. In fact, most dysfunctional families are only good in measurable-and-finite doses. Yes, you can O.D. on family, and the withdrawal symptoms are simply downright painful.

Keeping Score, Always Keeping Score

“Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrongs.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There are scoreboards at all football games. They are switched off once the game is done.

Scoreboard

There are also scoreboards with families. They are never turned off. In fact, the opponent’s score keeps accumulating akin to pinball games of yesteryear or video games of today.

Four years ago Almost DailyBrett concluded that families are way overrated. This opinion remains intact.

In fact, this point is magnified, particularly with the specter of the holidays approaching, hanging over family members similar to the Sword of Damocles. And with these so-called special days come special obligations. You are present not because you want to be there, but because you have to be there. It’s all rather political.

Conversely, when you contemplate going to the football game, you think of tailgate parties with friends, good cheer and even better craft beer. Your heart rate starts pumping with fight songs, the national anthem and standing up for the kickoff. You are celebrating life in an earthly heaven with 60,000 of your most intimate friends, and hopefully (best of all?) no relatives.

Contrast this sentiment with sitting around the table with people, who most likely are not your friends and most likely never will be your friends, And then, there are the embarrassing stories and remembrances. Love may be patient; it may be kind, but relatives keep a detailed record of your myriad of real and perceived wrongs.

relatives

Hey, isn’t there a 10-year statute of limitations embedded in the law? Alas, this doctrine does not apply to most families.

And if you are honest, and invent some reason you cannot be present for a family holiday gathering (e.g., flying to a college football playoff game), this slight will just be added to your personal scorecard always to be remembered and never to be forgotten.

Would the author of Almost DailyBrett rather spend the holidays with relatives and miss going to the Rose Bowl or go to Pasadena and nix breaking bread with the family?

What time is kickoff?

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/if-they-weren%e2%80%99t-your-relatives-would-they-be-your-friends/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles

 

 

What are you going to do for programming one month from today on SEC Cupcake Saturday, November 22?

cupcakes

Will the 24/7/365 Southeastern Conference-loving network (that would be you, ESECPN) treat the nation to Alabama vs. the Western Carolina Catamounts?

Or is it, Carolina Western? Even Nick Saban and Alabama alum Rece Davis of ESECPN can’t talk up the “potential” of Western Carolina.

Or how about Auburn vs. Samford (& Son) Bulldogs?

Jesse Palmer’s Florida Gators will be playing the dreaded Eastern Kentucky Colonels that same day in “The Swamp.”

And David Pollack’s Georgia Bulldogs will be lining up in between the hedges against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers.

palmerpollack

Let’s not forget South Carolina vs. South Alabama Jaguars (Southern Mississippi would be a real opponent).

Reportedly, ESECPN Game Day will visit Nashville to get everyone stoked for Vanderbilt’s game that day against Vassar.

As they say: “You can’t stop the Vassar Brewers’ offense; you can only hope to contain it.”

Are these glorified late-season scrimmages the net result of the SEC refusing to play a nine-game conference schedule, and shamelessly loading up on body-bag games against sacrificial lambs?

Sure looks that way from this humble vantage point west of the Tennessee River.

Four Playoff Spots for Four ESECPN Teams?

Wouldn’t it be great for SEC’s cable sports network if the national championship was decided by a quartet of football factories located somewhere in the old Confederacy, south of the Mason-Dixon Line from Texas in the west to South Carolina in the east?

What if the South rises again, secedes from the union (and the NCAA), and makes the four-team All ESECPN playoff an annual event? No need to consider and follow the exploits of teams from the 14-team Big 10, the 10-team Big 12, the 12-team Pac-12 or any other sad-sack conference.

What is really unfortunate about SEC Cupcake Saturday is the loss of traditional rivalries that were played on the fourth Saturday in November. Included in these games on this hallowed date were the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn and the Egg Bowl between Mississippi and Mississippi State. Instead, Alabama and Auburn are devouring cupcakes that day, basically scheduling a “bye” in drag before the Iron Bowl.

There is hope for college football fundamentalists November 22: You just have to venture west of the Hudson River to Pasadena, California. Yes, USC plays UCLA that day in the Rose Bowl in a real football game with genuine competition. By closing one’s eyes, you can see O.J. Simpson (without his knife) and Gary Beban dueling it out in the Crosstown Rivalry.

Up north that day will be Stanford vs. Cal in the latest renewal of the so-called “Big Game.” Who can forget the one “Play” against Stanford that serves as the single highlight of Cal’s 128-years of inglorious football?

Instead of feasting on cupcakes the week before their rivalry games, the remainder of the Pac-12 is playing conference games that day: Arizona vs. Utah; Colorado vs. Oregon; Oregon State vs. Washington and Washington State vs. Arizona State.

Playing Conference Games in November?

The apologists for the Southeastern Conference at the studios of ESECPN will inevitably point to the fact that other teams in other conferences play their own cupcake opponents. The charge is valid, but these games come at the beginning of the campaign, not the week before the traditional season-ending rivalry game.

They will also cite that Arkansas plays Ole Miss on November 22; Ditto for Mississippi State vs. Vandy and Missouri vs. Tennessee … or six teams out of 14 are actually playing conference games in week four of November. Shameful.

Here is a unique idea for the folks at ESECPN in Bristol, Connecticut: Why not demand the Southeastern Conference play a nine-game conference schedule, putting an end once-and-for-all: Cupcake Saturday?

Let’s make it easy or simple enough for the occupants of the SEC’s headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama: Conference games and only conference games are played in November with the obvious exceptions of Florida vs. Florida State, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech and Kentucky vs. Louisville.

Whattyathink Jesse Palmer?

Any thoughts David Pollack?

How about it, Rece Davis?

Can you live without Florida playing a “home game” against Eastern Kentucky (e.g., the Gators would never step foot in Richmond, Kentucky let alone find it on the map) or Georgia taking on Charleston Southern in a glorified high school stadium?.charleston

Based upon a quick review of the secondary ticket market even with the football crazies south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the fans agree. Tickets for Alabama’s certain annihilation of Western Carolina on November 22 start at $119. Tix for the Iron Bowl the following week start at $297 and peak at $5,855 per ticket.

Which game would you rather watch? Hey ESECPN, let’s dispense with the cupcakes and go for good old-fashioned raw meat instead.

http://www.wcu.edu/

http://www.samford.edu/

http://www.eku.edu/

http://www.csuniv.edu/

http://www.southalabama.edu/

http://www.vassar.edu/

http://secsports.go.com/watch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes Alabama and Auburn, “football schools”?

ironbowl

And conversely, what makes Duke and North Carolina, “basketball schools”?

It seems that the term, “football school,” has been around since the earth cooled. The ghosts of John McKay, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Darrell Royal, Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bud Wilkinson and others would certainly agree from their respective resting places in Heaven and Hell.

Ditto for the words, “basketball school,” may also have been carved into the Rosetta Stone to commemorate “The Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, “Phog” Allen and Jim Valvano.

Does anyone in the State of Alabama let alone anywhere else, besides Sir Charles Barkley, really care about the basketball rivalry between Alabama and Auburn?

Does anyone in the State of North Carolina let alone anywhere else really care about the football rivalry between Duke and North Carolina?

Ask virtually anyone in Alabama what happened in the last second of the 2013 Iron Bowl and a huge smile or a deep sigh will emerge reflecting the religious fervor from both War Eagle and Roll Tide surrounding this game. They already know what they will be doing for nearly four hours on a late November night later this year.

michaelduke

Ask virtually anyone along the eight miles of Tobacco Road separating Duke and UNC and beyond what they are doing this coming Saturday night and they will most likely think the question is rhetorical: It’s North Carolina vs. Duke baby, and the “Cameron Crazies” are ready to go. You can be sure that ESPN’s Dukie Vitale will be there as well.

When one starts listing football schools which institutions immediately come to mind (moving from God’s time zone to the west)?

How about Penn State? Yep. Ohio State and Michigan? Certainly. Notre Dame? Must we? Alabama and Auburn? Definitely. Texas and Texas A&M? Ya better, ya hear. Oklahoma and Nebraska? Yes sir. USC? Fight On! Oregon? Particularly in the last two-plus decades.

When one starts listing basketball schools which institutions come to mind (again moving from God’s sacred Eastern Time Zone to points out west)?

Syracuse? Does the name, Jim Boeheim, ring a bell? North Carolina and Duke? No doubt. Kentucky and Louisville? Yessum. Indiana? Ever see the movie, Hoosiers or read Season on the Brink? Kansas? Dorothy would pass up the Emerald City to check out a game in Allen Fieldhouse. And of course, Arizona.

During the course of a KNBR (San Francisco) radio interview a few years ago, former University of Arizona basketball star Tom Tolbert asked NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young if Arizona would ever go to the Rose Bowl. Young without missing a beat told Tolbert to forget it because “Arizona is a basketball school.”

Even though there are obvious exceptions to every rule, Almost DailyBrett has to conclude that basketball schools are really not very good at football, and football schools conversely are really not proficient in round ball.

Do you remember Indiana’s last Rose Bowl? O.J. Simpson was carrying the ball for the other team.

Can you list the number of NCAA titles in Men’s basketball for USC (We remember you, Cheryl Miller)? That would be … none.

Can you list the number of Rose Bowls for Arizona? You already know the answer to that one.

As a Pac-12 kind of guy, let’s focus on USC, the football school, and Arizona, the basketball school. What makes the two so dominant in one sport and so mediocre (being kind here) in the other?

One could immediately point to tradition, and legendary coaches. USC is Howard Jones, John McKay and Pete Carroll. USC is the LA Coliseum. Heisman Trophies, Song Girls, Traveler, Conquest, Rose Bowls and National Championships. Steve Sarkisian has traded in a lumbering Ford F-150 (University of Washington) for a Lamborghini (USC). As a former football manager at Troy way back in the Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter years, I can attest everything is football at USC.

carrollusc

In turn basketball was the near-empty L.A. Sports Arena, one of the most dreary and desultory sports experiences in the history of the planet. USC had no home court advantage for literally decades. Wooden was packing them in at Pauley Pavilion. The USC students really wouldn’t even walk a few blocks to the Sports Arena, but would make the same trek in droves to the LA Coliseum.

Today, USC plays in the beautiful Galen Center and no one friggin’ cares. The team is mired in last place in the Pac-12, trailing even the dreadful WSU Cougars. AD Pat Haden (e.g., a football star) hired Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield and the effort is a never-ending work in progress.

For USC fans, the goal every year is to win the Pac-12 and contest for the national championship, if not outright win the glass football. When it comes to basketball…Do USC fans really care? The answer is, not really.

Quick name a great Arizona quarterback since the Wildcats joined the now-Pac-12 conference in 1978?

How about a legendary Arizona football coach?

Sorry “Bear Down” disciples, Frank Kush coached for ASU. Even though Rich Rodriguez does not want to hear this: Arizona is a study of gridiron mediocrity. Even early erector-set Arizona Stadium makes one’s blood head north. This is NOT a must do college football experience.

lute

Now let’s talk McKale Center. Let’s remember Lute and Bobbie Olson. Let’s contemplate the 1997 NCAA title. Let’s dwell on the likes of Richard Jefferson, Miles Simon, Channing Frye, Salim and Damon Stoudamire, Luke Walton (UCLA Bill’s son) etc. Let’s visualize Arizona getting to the Final Four again this year (if they can make their free throws) with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Coach Sean Miller has not made AzCat faithful forget Lute, but he is on the verge of starting a new Arizona dynasty in round ball.

Some things change, but more times than not, they stay the same. And when they change, it takes a long time. That certainly is the case for USC basketball and Arizona football.

A football school is a football school and a basketball school is a basketball school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Bowl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina%E2%80%93Duke_rivalry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USC_Trojans_football

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Wildcats_men%27s_basketball

Shouldn’t we all have the right to proudly wear the colors of our favorite team and safely cheer them on to victory…regardless of the venue?

And consistent with this right are we also obligated, regardless of the outcome and emotional impact of the game, to treat those who freely choose to root for our opponents with respect, particularly if they wear their colors in your home stadium?

It is called civility…something that is an endangered species in American society and we are not just talking about football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer or whatever sport immediately comes to mind.

And while we are embarking in this discussion are we really better people if our team wins? And conversely if our team comes up on the short-end of the scoreboard is that our personal defeat as well? After all it is only a game. We are not the ones tying on the cleats, applying the sun glare black or rubbing on pine tar. And yet to some fans…

Almost DailyBrett is exploring this subject because college football will be underway in about six weeks. This blog argues that college football is America’s most emotional game because in many cases the rivalries go back a century or more and the respective teams play a grand total of once in a given year. There are no best-of-sevens in college football.

Certainly good-natured ribbing and cajoling between fans of respective universities is just as much of a feature of Americana as tailgating, fight songs and cheerleaders. But what happens when the kidding becomes taunting? What happens when the effects of alcohol combine with rising testosterone levels? And what happens when violence seems to be the way to settle a score?

Take Alabama vs. Auburn, two schools separated by less than 200 miles. The so-called “Iron Bowl” between the two schools goes back to 1893. In the State of Alabama, you are either “Roll Tide!” or “War Eagle!”  Alabama won the BCS National Championship in 2010, and Auburn followed with a national title of its own this past January.

Growing up, I read about legendary Alabama Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, one of the greatest in the history of college football. Which brings this discussion to the stately oak trees at “Toomer’s Corner” in Auburn, Alabama. One of the traditions at Auburn is to “roll” the trees with TP to celebrate victories by the Auburn Tigers.

auburn

Following Auburn’s come-from-behind victory in this year’s Iron Bowl, an Alabama fan Harvey Almorn Updyke, 62, called regional sports radio host Paul Finebaum to complain that Auburn students allegedly rolled Toomer’s Corner upon hearing the news of Bear Bryant’s passing. When the host doubted the story, Updyke then announced that he had poisoned two of the Toomer’s Corner 130-year-old oak trees with a deadly herbicide, Spike 80DF. “Do you think I care?” Updyke asked. “Roll Damn Tide!”

updyke

Updyke’s attorneys have entered an innocent plea to criminal mischief, but their client’s crowing about his misdeed on sports radio may be all the prosecution needs to put his crimson backside behind bars. Meanwhile, the trees are in mortal danger.

Even more revolting than the poisoning of defenseless trees that just happen to grow on the Auburn campus is the sickening attack this past March against a San Francisco Giants fan, Bryan Stow, in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Dodgers beat the Giants that day, but that did not preclude a brutal attack on Stow, who ironically works for American Medical Response. Stow suffered significant brain damage and recently was upgraded from “critical” to “serious” condition at San Francisco General Hospital. A man with a prior felony record, Giovanni Ramirez, has been arrested in connection with the incident.

In this case, we are discussing baseball not football. We are also talking about one of the most long-standing and intense rivalries in professional sports going back to 1890 when the Giants were located in New York and the Dodgers in Brooklyn.

It may be easy to try to dismiss the Toomer’s Corner and Chavez Ravine (home of Dodger Stadium) incidents as criminal and isolated. Yes and No. The real question is whether they are representative to the loss of civility in American society?

As I grew up, I occasionally heard the phrase, “Magnanimous in victory; gracious in defeat.” If you follow sports, politics, business etc. long enough you will celebrate your share victories and endure your share of defeats. Being able to respect the feelings of the “losers,” while at the same time offering congratulations to the “winners” is a sign of maturity.

When the actual contest is taking place, it is a wonderful release from the pressures of daily life to be able to cheer for your team. And you should be able to wear your team’s colors anyplace, anytime you want…and to accept with a smile good-natured ribbing. Having said that, there is no excuse for insults, violence and certainly no justification for criminal behavior. Here’s to hoping that (if guilty) Mr. Updyke and Mr. Ramirez each spend a long time in a very bad place (this is not equating trees to a human life, but criminal behavior with criminal behavior).

My biggest concern is what happens if criminal behavior, masked as fandom, gets completely out of control? Will someone bring a gun to a stadium and shoot a fellow fan or a player or coach on the field? I am sad to say this is not the first time this thought has crossed my mind. I have many times wondered how many of my fellow fans are armed and will intoxicants provide them with liquid courage? Can we imagine having to walk through magnetometers in order to go to a game? Preposterous? Just think about how airport security has changed in the last 10 years.

One way to cool everyone’s jets and reduce this awful possibility is to simply enjoy the game, and remember it is only a game…not life or death. And if your team wins? Great. And if your team loses? Oh well. Remember: You personally did not win. And you personally did not lose. The team that you are rooting for, won or lost. It’s not personal.

Sometimes we seem to forget that.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/sports/pro/baseball&id=8205448

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/sports/pro/baseball&id=8200676

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodgers%E2%80%93Giants_rivalry

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=6129272

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeW1ECI3PVE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm8AqL9FV-o&NR=1

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2011/04/20/1547031/toomers-corner-tree-poisonings.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Bowl

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