In the wake of Tuesday's election news, one underreported story deserves mention: Alabama's ongoing recount of points scored during their 24-16 home loss to Mississippi State last Saturday. Alabama requested the recount after reviewing game tape Saturday night.
Alabama coach Mike Shula says that while the game was a close one, he expects a recount to find the Crimson Tide victorious.
"I could have sworn we lost a couple of second quarter field goals in there somewhere. Or third quarter field goals. Whenever they were, they were definitely field goals, and we definitely made them," said Shula in a teleconference early Wednesday morning. "We're hanging tough and staying optimistic around here."
Angry but optimistic: Shula files for a recount.
Stadium officials blamed the alleged miscalculations and ambiguities on the new digital scoring machines, which confused the elderly scoreboard operator, Jack Allster.
"It's just so durned complicated, what with the buttons, and the numbers, and buttons. Where's my old toggle switch? Where's the old buzzers? Confound it..." said a visibly distraught Allster in a postgame interview.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said that while rare, point recounts were available in all games.
"Sometimes you just miss stuff. Like Tennessee '99, for example. They actually lost the SEC Championship game. If you go back and look at the tape, which clearly shows Arkansas scoring two tds in the third quarter. But people get excited and just miss a play or two, and lo and behold, you get human error putting a team in the championship."
Slive then blanched and stammered, "Um, I shouldn't have said that. Excuse me..."
Shula blames no one but himself for missing the alleged points miscalculation. "We kicked 'em and then didn't really notice that scoreboard didn't change.
There's a lotta stuff going on out there, you know? Blocking, tackling, passing, two-yard runs...it's all real intense. It's like the NFL with more noise, right? That's why I wear the headset. Well, that and I'm practicing my Guitar Hero 2 riffs during the slow spots in the game wit the music in the right ear, and Dave Rader in the left. I'm almost up to a perfect score for Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult."
The close contest hinged a few key issues. Both teams were strong on defense, but weak on security, giving the ball away at critical times. A corrupt offensive line eventually cost Alabama the lead, however, as Mississippi launched probes into the Alabama backfield time and time again, confusing the base of the Alabama offense and eroding support among the Crimson Tide faithful.
Coach Shula saw it as "less a win for Miss State, and more a loss for us. We gave them the win."
Count Miss State coach Sylvester Croom as suspicious of the whole process. "Recount my ass," was all Croom would say on his way into the office in Starkville this morning. "Tell Shula he can recount my nuts--all three of 'em--if he wants to play fool shit like that. We count all our points as Miss State, because they don't come around very often."
Commissioner Slive promises a recount will be complete "sometime in the next two weeks. If Houston Nutt calls, I'm not here. For the next five years."