Hope everyone's had a peaceful Christmas. Here are some scattered football-related thoughts I have from the last few days and weeks.
-- My favorite Christmas gift was my copy of the Defining Moments: Alabama DVD box set. Quite simply, if you're a 'Bama fan, it's a must-have. I love documentaries anyway, and they really went out of their way to find the important players and coaches -- not to mention rarely-seen footage and radio commentary -- to make these babies worth the watch.
(One funny note: I just finished watching the documentary related to The Kick -- apparently not available for comment: Mike Shula. I'm shocked, frankly.)
-- Auburn hired an offensive coordinator to go with the defensive coordinator they mistakenly thought was good enough to be their head coach. By the numbers, Gus Malzahn is exactly what Auburn needs: he can run the spread option and make the absolute best out of the talent he has. Which, of course, begs the necessary question: assuming he (like every other coach at just about anytime) was a free agent this time last year, why didn't Auburn pursue him instead of Tony Franklin?
(Sorry, but the Franklin thing still boggles my mind. How did Tuberville misjudge him so badly? How could he not know Franklin's offense would be pass-heavy when virtually every high school in the state runs some version of it? And on what planet did he think a strong personality like Franklin's would fit in with his offensive coaching staff?)
Anyway, Gene Chizik's staff should take some shape now that we know Malzahn is on board and Stacy Searles isn't.
-- After watching last night's Emerald Bowl, I remain perplexed as to why Cal would pass the football. I mean, ever.
-- Few things in life are as funny as listening to some Bristol announcers trying to hype up bowls and bowl performances as anything more than what they are. For example, in the Christmas-Eve Hawai'i Bowl, Jimmy Clausen (naturally) lit up the homestanding Rainbows, throwing for 400-plus yards and five scores. A memorable performance, but nothing you'd make a documentary about, right? Well, thanks to the magic of ESPN -- as well as the fact that there was really nothing else going on -- it became a Pantheon-level outing, something we'll all be telling our grandchildren about years from now. Give me a break.
-- It just occurred to me that I'm watching the Independence Bowl on ESPN, one year after watching Alabama in its second-straight Indy Bowl game. We've come a long way, baby.
(By the way, that blood-curdling scream you heard from Louisiana was the sound of Indy Bowl officials when the seasons of Auburn, Tennessee and Mississippi St. all fell apart and they got stuck with Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech. I recall seeing an Indy Bowl official in the press box at Bryant-Denny Stadium prior to the Auburn game, and wished I could've found him in the fourth quarter as things got out of hand to see if he was thinking of hanging himself. Sorry, dude.)
-- That reminds me: I'm obviously an SEC homer, but I have a feeling the SEC will do better in its bowl matchups than some people think. Alabama and Florida are correctly favored in their games, but Georgia matches up well with Michigan St., and Ole Miss will defend Texas Tech as well as any team this side of Oklahoma (not to mention the inevitable weirdness that's bound to occur with Houston Nutt involved). Then of course you have Vanderbilt -- playing a de facto home game in front of a fired-up fan base in its first bowl bid since most of us have been alive -- and LSU (Georgia Tech is scary, but it's hit-or-miss). None of these games look unwinnable.
But, we'll see.