Tag Archives: Alabama A&M Bulldogs

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – Week 1 – September 4, 2017

Welcome back to college football, the weekend was glorious, wasn’t it? We’re left with just Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech on the Week 1 schedule, so I think it’s a good time to play the Good, the Bad and the Ugly game with Week 1. Short of Tennessee losing and Butch Jones being left on a tarmac at Atlanta’s airport, nothing can top what we’re about to talk about.

The Good

Easily the best story in college football this week is UAB. After a three-year hiatus and my friends in Tuscaloosa doing everything in their power to prevent football in Birmingham, the Blazers have returned and were triumphant over Alabama A&M. On their first drive, UAB went 76 yards in fourteen plays and converted a touchdown on fourth down. Solid start.

UAB’s football schedule is mostly “easy,” but a solid showing against Florida on Sat Nov 18 could go a long way in bringing more of the right kind of attention to the program in 2017 and beyond.

Also, nice to see a record crowd for UAB in its return, but the long-term success of the program depends on constant support from fans and the community.

The Bad

This wasn’t a great opening weekend for three of the major football teams in Texas. Texas A&M was up on UCLA last night and forced the Bruins to score 34 points without a turnover is nothing short of amazing. Honestly, I turned the game off and switched to NASCAR then Netflix. If we started the evening with Jim Mora at the top of the coaching hot seat, he was quickly replaced by Kevin Sumlin.

Then there’s Tom Herman’s debut at Texas. For the record, I didn’t think Herman was ready for a job like Texas when he was hired and I’m not saying that Saturday’s loss to Maryland cemented that thought to me, because one game does not make a coach. Herman will have his team playing better, and as Chase will tell you this week there’s a lot that likely needs to happen behind the scenes for the Longhorns to get better. Turning non-Power 5 Houston around is a lot easier than turning Big 12 Texas around. That said, in the earlier three meetings between Maryland and Texas, Maryland had never scored; on Saturday they scored 51.

Last, we must talk about Baylor. I think we knew at some point all the shenanigans related to the off-field sexual assault was going to catch up to them in a big way. Coaching changes, players leaving or refusing to play there, negative press, and the constant stories hurt. Did I ever think it would show itself against FCS Lamar in Waco? absolutely not. Do I think this is absolute rock bottom for Baylor? Not even close.

The Ugly

99-0 was the score between St. John’s University and St. Scholastica (yes, she is real because I’m Catholic and I also checked Wikipedia.) in beautiful Collegeville, Minnesota. Per SB Nation, St. John’s used – and get ready for this one – almost 180 players in this game and wanted to play the fourth quarter with a running clock, but the men of Benedictine from Scholastica said, “No, thanks.”

Amazing.

And as a bonus: The Weird

Lane Kiffin. Down by 23 as his FAU Owls are facing the Midshipmen of Navy, the game is already in its third lightening delay and it is nearly 1am and Kiffin refuses to let the game go. He forces both teams to come back out, btw – Navy had already eaten their post-game meal, only to lose the game 42-19.

We get it, Lane – it’s still all about you.

E-mail Damien at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @damienbowman.

Photo: Wikipedia

College Football’s Opening Weekend Owes Us More

I love college football just as much as the next guy.  Saturdays aren’t for the boys so much as they are for the boys to gather around a big screen, drinking as many 96-calorie Miller Lite’s as they’d like.  We’ve yet to find anything that comes anywhere near college football’s ability to help us justify that weekly decision.

We owe a lot to college football Saturdays.  When I pick through the Week 1 schedule we have lined up for Labor Day weekend, though, it feels like college football owes us a little more.

Stanford is beginning its season with a game in Sydney, Australia.  That’s cool.  The fact that the Rice Owls are the opposition is not cool.  There’s a Florida rivalry game right off the bat.  Unfortunately, it’s between Florida International and Central Florida.  University Alabama-Birmingham makes its glorious return to football after a two-year hiatus, against Alabama A&M.  How have we possibly contained our excitement all summer?

In all seriousness, there are some things worth looking forward to.  P.J. Fleck, Lane Kiffin, and Tom Herman take the field with their new teams for the first time.  Ohio State opens on the road, on a Thursday night, against a conference opponent for the first time in… probably ever.  Florida State and Alabama collide in a top-five matchup in Atlanta.  Michigan and Florida head for Jerry World and a top-15ish meeting.  West Virginia and Virginia Tech will likely both be ranked for their opening contest in Landover, Maryland.

If you’re not a fan of those programs, you’ll probably be forced to watch your team playing in a glorified scrimmage.  Whether your team is the one laying the beat down or getting its ass kicked makes no difference, really.  Nobody wins if the boys had to finish the Miller Lite by halftime just to make it interesting.

At what point do we stop flooding to football just because it’s back?  At what point do we demand more as consumers, as opposed to blindly accepting whatever we’re given?  My guess is that will never happen.  Until it does, we’ll continue to receive a mediocre slate of games on opening weekend, with the only ones truly worth watching happening hundreds of miles off campus, in NFL stadiums.

This is big business we’re talking about and there’s a ton of money involved in these neutral-site games.  I understand that.  Still, it pisses me off.  These are essentially bowl games.  Actually, these games are more important because the whole season is still ahead.  If money grabbing is what we’re doing now, and it most certainly is, then why not take it to the extreme?

What Can We Do?

Let’s schedule bowl game rematches for the first week of the season.  Think for just a second about the storylines.  Would Clemson be able to pull off another upset of Alabama eight months after their instant classic?  Could USC and Penn State replicate the craziness of last year’s Rose Bowl Game?  Is Lamar Jackson really that containable, or did LSU’s defense just do everything right that day?

Wouldn’t it be fun if the two semifinal losers got a crack at each other to start the new season?  Imagine the hype that would surround a Washington-Ohio State clash in a couple weeks.  Automatically, one of the top contenders to reach the playoff would have an impressive feather tucked into its cap.  The four-letter network could have a field day with that buildup.

If your team was not invited to participate in a bowl game the previous year, it can do whatever it would like.  Honestly, nobody outside of the school gives a damn about your five-win team.  I’m only concerned with the primetime programs here.  And in tying them all up in these bowl game rematches, I am, in turn, saving a lot of you from an opening week embarrassment anyway.  It’s a win-win, even for the losers.  You should be thanking me for ignoring your meaningless team.

Is this grand idea ever going to materialize?  No, it won’t.  Like so many things in the world of college football, it makes too much sense to become a reality.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to dream, especially when the boys still have two weeks to save up their beer money.

E-mail Mitch at [email protected] and follow him @GreatGatzke.

Photo: Wikipedia

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Shame on Your Weak Week 12 Schedule, SEC

Shame on you, for real.

No, not you, Ohio State. I don’t think you were looking ahead, to the last game on your schedule. You were dealing with a typically tough conference rival in their house. You won the game, and that’s all we needed to see.

No, not you, Colorado. What a fantastic season you’ve had. However, let’s not get it twisted. Storming the field has lost all meaning, if you’re motivated by the “lifetime achievement award” type season. Taking down Washington State may have been your best home win, but that was hardly a moment of goal post uprooting.

Kansas, you should be ashamed of a lot of things, but the pandemonium in Lawrence makes sense to me. It shouldn’t have been the second trespassing incident on that turf this season. It shouldn’t have been the Jayhawks’ first win in 24 tries versus FBS competition. I sincerely hope Saturday’s win over Texas doesn’t end up being the backdrop for Charlie Strong’s Final Act as head coach at Texas. Standby on that.

The SEC-Southern Conference Challenge

Shame on you, Alabama. For the record, I don’t care to see any of the game’s traditional juggernauts play a televised game against a scout team any time of year, but when it happens in Week 12, the exhibition adds insult to injury. I’m not mad that Tennessee-Chattanooga led the Tide, 3-0 after one, and I don’t think it should matter to anyone. Whether Alabama won that game by a single possession or earned the 28-point victory they actually etched out against their 8-2 FCS opponent, no one should have cared about that game. I hope no one of any significance did.

It’s just a shame. I think we’re being gypped. It’s become clear to me that how good you are matters more than what you’ve achieved, and if that’s the criteria, I don’t want the best of the Southeastern Conference playing anyone that isn’t Power 5 after October 1st, let alone in Week 12.

They weren’t alone in the SEC, seeking out a Southern Conference opponent from the lower tier. South Carolina hosted the Catamounts of Western Carolina. Down in Auburn, the Tigers survived Alabama A&M from the SWAC, edging the Bulldogs 55-0. What do these contests tell us?

Nothing. It’s a shame they even partake in the practice.

Florida and LSU Found a Way to Play

It’s funny how it ends up being a blessing in disguise for the conference to bail themselves out of the cluster-you-know-what created in the aftermath of Florida canceling their scheduled game with LSU on October 8th. Remember all of that finger-pointing? Did you think maybe Florida was digging their own grave?

It turns out they didn’t. They got a trip to Atlanta out of it, and they don’t have to go to Baton Rouge next year. We’ll see how much of it matters after they rendezvous with Saban and company. It may not matter much after they play Florida State. The one we don’t get, is the 2-9 Presbyterian Blue Hose. Their coach is stepping down; South Alabama gave them a whooping in Florida’s place, and faithful Gator fans were spared an essentially unwatchable game.

Rutgers Just Isn’t Good Enough For the Big Ten

Shame on the Big Ten for the latest expansion. I don’t care if anyone thinks it pisses on tradition. You stuck all of these decent teams in the Big Ten East with Maryland and Rutgers. Two teams that really could have used showcase games, a week before Ohio State and Michigan own the conference spotlight, got stuck with cake walk games–versus Maryland and Rutgers.

That’s your Big Ten Championship, if the dominoes fall a certain way next Saturday. Nebraska and Penn State, they might as well have played Youngstown State and Villanova. The chalk says Wisconsin plays Penn State, but it sure would be a shame if the winner of Ohio State-Michigan didn’t win the Big Ten Championship.

Would it be a shame to appoint our first team without a conference title in hand? I would not be ashamed to see a Buckeyes team with wins over Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the College Football Playoff.

That would only be a shame for people that think seasons should disintegrate due to blocked field goals in hostile road environments. Shame on you, people like that.

The next few Saturdays should be a lot of fun. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get more quality from the 205 this weekend.

Photo Credit: Matthew Tosh, via Flickr