And we didn't know Tom Cruise was crazy the whole time?
Moving on ...
-- I've neglected to tout the virtues of a brand-new site in the 'Bama universe: Creg Stephenson's Crimson Confidential, which has only existed for a few weeks and is quickly becoming my go-to site for all things Tide (and not just because I know Creg from college and his days in Anniston). Seriously, he's a one-man wrecking crew.
-- Finebaum totally rips off the idea I've advanced on this site more than once with today's column, even though he has no idea who I am. The gist ...
What's interesting is whenever Alabama has had a coaching change, the national media has tended to blast away at the fan base. They say fans here continue to live in the past and nobody can compare to Paul Bryant.
I think the opposite is true. The Alabama fans have gotten so tired of losing they tend to prop up everyone — including Shula — whether it's deserved or not.
If that sounds familiar, it's because we've discussed here before, as well as in other places I can't recall.
In fact, I actually advanced the notion last offseason -- and I can't find the evidence, but it did happen, I promise -- that all the good Mike Shula did during his four years at Alabama -- keeping the program together at its lowest possible point, giving 'Bama fans a cuddly, we-like-rooting-for-that-guy rallying point, winning 10 games in 2005, etc., would get swept under the rug once Saban starts winning and winning big.
And it's happening. Read more than one 'Bama blog, and you'll note the repeated references to Alabama being "a program in disarray." In fact, in a recent interview on CC, Danny Sheridan repeated took jabs at Shula, saying things like, "they have a real coach now," and so forth, and basically making Saban's predecessor out to be Elmer Fudd. Which I did, as well, so maybe I should shut up.
The more I think about it, maybe Mike Shula was, for Alabama football, a rebound guy. We needed him to help us get back on our feet, make us feel better about ourselves, get us sober again ... but still, we weren't ever really looking for anything long-term with him. So while we're thankful that he was there during that period, we know we couldn't have stayed with him. I think we'll both be OK with that, in time. And, at least in some small part, we'll always quietly be rooting for one another to be truly happy with somebody else.
Did that make any sense? Maybe not.
-- Gump checks in with alternate covers for NCAA 2009. As always with G4H, it's excellent. I need this guy to follow me around on a daily basis and write my jokes.
-- Some notes on the Auburn recruiting front: Joe Cribbs has some questions of his own. Specifically, why the rush to offer the guys so early? And why are so many of them so short?
-- Druid has a political rant.
-- Pat Forde goes way out on a limb, saying an SEC coach won't be there by next year.
The league's coaching ranks have become too crowded with A-listers for everyone to survive. Five guys have won national titles: LSU's Les Miles, Florida's Urban Meyer, Alabama's Nick Saban, Tennessee's Phil Fulmer and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier. A sixth (Auburn's Tommy Tuberville) has a 13-0 record on his résumé. Three more (Georgia's Mark Richt, Arkansas' Bobby Petrino and Mississippi's Houston Nutt) have at least one 10-win season. One guy (Kentucky's Rich Brooks) has taken a team to the Rose Bowl. And we haven't even mentioned the league's reigning coach of the year (Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom). That leaves one school -- Vanderbilt, natch -- without a coach who has some big-time bragging rights on his résumé.-- Finally, Ken Tremendous takes on another Joe Morgan chat. I swear, this is like the highlight of baseball season for me.
Problem is, not all the big winners can win big. And when this season is over, the guess here is that someone will decide (or be convinced) that it's time to get out of the sausage factory. Leading candidates: Fulmer and Spurrier.