Down. Set. 2013.
Memories…in order even.
Me and three friends lining up in the Bama wishbone vintage 1971. Alas, in our fantasy, I was not my first sports idol and the pic that accompanies all the Counter Trap material here, Johnny Musso. I was the right halfback—Joe LaBue. Take a moment to consider Bear pronouncing Joe LaBue. Magic.
Watching USC’s Anthony Davis run wild against Notre Dame in 1972 to put a nail in the coffin of any Bama title hopes after "Punt, Bama, Punt."
The 1973 Sugar Bowl was and is the gold standard for evenly matched, distilled awesome football teams. Notre Dame 24. Bama 23. A kickoff return for a TD for the Irish, a missed PAT for the Tide. There are three phases to the game, you know. Not even the 2013 win can allay the pain from this one. Even the Bear thought this was the best team that he ever had.
1974. With USC trailing 24-6 at halftime…Anthony Davis. Again. Final: Trojans 55. Irish 24.
Attention Earth, they play football at Arizona State under some guy named Kush. The ’75 Sun Devils finished 12-0 and ranked #2. As always, controversy in the polls with Switzer’s Oklahoma team claiming the top spot.
The bicentennial year was just one big Tony Dorsett contrail.
The following year was one big Earl Campbell contrail that made pitying run-support cornerbacks a national past time (historical note: Texas’ wishbone era came to an end in ’77 when Fred Akers moved them completely to the I-formation to take full advantage of then-number 20). And then CHAOS in the polls after bowl season with…gulp…Notre Dame vaulting Bama for number one.
Before John Elway, there was Steadman Shealy. And THE DRIVE in the ’79 Iron Bowl. Six plays, 82 yards, and a two point conversion to pull #1 Alabama out of an 18-17 deficit for a 25-18 win. Of note: Auburn had Joe Cribbs, James Brooks, and William Andrews at running back. Great googly moogly.
The 80s arrived. Larry Munson planted his flag in legend… P.S.: Chris Fowler, ya’ll.
Before there were blogs. Before the little Anderson girl became Aunt Stabby. Before one of the foundational memes of EDSBS, there was a Clemson national championship under Danny Ford. I remember it. No, really, this happened. Look it up.
1982. Joe Pa beats Herschel for the national title. It was also the Bear’s last season. We did not know until later just how sick he was and six weeks after his final victory, he was gone. I always equated him with my grandfather—same kind of Depression-era tough, but with the ability to be incredibly compassionate. If you can have a defining era in your life before a marriage or children…this period from pretending to be Joe LaBue to realizing that we’re all mortal was it.
And then another foundational moment for the still-not-even-a-gleam-in-Al-Gore’s-eye EDSBS: The runwaway train that was Nebraska’s offense meets Bernie Kosar and da U. Schnelly becomes Schnelly. The Turfman family of products become staples of the gentlemanly existence.
Mormons. Throwing the ball. A lot.
Hey, did you know that Troy Aikman originally came to Oklahoma only he got hurt and transferred to UCLA and Jamelle Holieway took his place and wishboned Switzer to his last national championship and then Aikman would win Super Bowl rings with both Switzer and Jimmy Johnson who coached against each other in the Orange Bowl and that game illustrated why NFL commentators on college games are a bad idea when NBC’s Bob Trumpy said and I quote "The Oklahoma fullback is getting the ball too much?" /Connections’d.
JoePa Ball, think of it as sort of a proto-Saban ball. Penn State won a national championship with John Shaffer at QB, who threw for 1,510 yards and D.J. Dozier caught almost 300 of those. The defense pythoned Miami into submission in the Fiesta Bowl.
Congratulations, Florida you opened the achievement of the very high difficulty sum of four points against Miami. Arkansas scored a touchdown, Notre Dame did not score at all, and Bobby Bowden’s kicker….well, you know how that goes. The Hair won the national title and went to Dallas and Dennis Erickson’s open liquor cabinet took over—in every sense—in Coral Gables.
Notre Dame won the national championship in 1988. Lou, please don’t even start. No, we ARE NOT PAYING A SPEAKING FEE. Since this is what I remember, here we go. Derrick Thomas put on the single most dominating performance by a defensive player that I have ever seen against Penn State in a game where Alabama needed every sack of Tony Sacca (I did not make up that name) to win 8-5. Consider this your Mt. Everest, Mr. Clowney—if that is your real name. **cough**Hercules**cough**
Bill Curry…nice guy. Telegenic. Could occasionally surprise with an ambush of Tennessee or Penn State. 0-3 against Auburn. And in really annoying fashion. Moving on…
Football is invented in the offseason between 1989 and 1990. This results in Bill McCartney and Bobby Ross splitting a national championship.
And then Miami and Washington split a national championship.
Gene Stallings and Steve Spurrier inaugurate the Alabama/Florida Invitational and despite a billionty yards from Errict Rhett on shovel passes against Bama’s uber-stingy defense, the Tide wins 28-21 on a late pick six. The nation rejoiced as Alabama shoved Miami into a wood chipper in the Sugar Bowl 34-13.
Billy, do you like movies about…no not gladiators…Mongols? You know, massive cavalry charges that just sweep over the land and burn everything in their path? Oh sure, you can try to build a wall—but they will just ride around it for fun. Or maybe just try to ride through it for fun. The devastation left by Tommie Frazier and ’94 and ’95 Nebraska can still be seen in satellite photos across wide swaths of the former Big 8. Hold my beer and watch Spencer twitch.
How many deep post routes can you run on the way to a national title? At some point, somebody should have a left a safety at home against Florida. Also, FREDDIE KITCHENS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. DUCK, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!! PLEASE PULL THE BALL OUT OF THE WALL BEHIND YOU, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!
Tom Osborne, Joe Paterno, and 1997 walk into a bar. The BCS climbs out of the grease trap in the back.
PEYTON MANNING WAS OVERRATED AND COULD NOT WIN THE BIG ONE BECAUSE TEE MARTIN WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FOR TENNESSEE. ALSO, YOU CANNOT GET GOOD CHEESE ANYMORE AND I DON’T LIKE ALEX TREBEK WITHOUT A MUSTACHE.
Michigan and Alabama. Yes, when one thinks of that matchup one thinks of unrelenting offenses in a bowl game. Still, Tom Brady and Shaun Alexander on the same field is a great memory. Stupid missed extra point.
UCLA went three and out on the first possession against Bama in the opener and Freddie Milons returned the punt for a touchdown. The remainder of the 2000 season never happened. And people said Y2K had no consequences.
Glitterati. Miami. Read the names—Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, Bryant McKinnie, and Sean Taylor. The time warp effect is strong for this one. That can’t be a dozen years ago, right?
Punting is winning. And NCAA something something going to Texas A&M something something Mike Price something something adult entertainment something something Mike Shula.
Nick Saban becomes self-aware. To stoop takes on a new meaning.
In 2004, the media’s SEC-favoring bias results in Oklahoma and USC playing for the national championship. Jason Campbell excels in his groundbreaking role as the first African-American to play a competent white Auburn quarterback.
During this time period, Orson Swindle arrives in Middle Earth.
BAMA IS BACK. HONK IF YOU HAVE SACKED BRODIE CROYLE. The Los Angeles NFL franchise rises to great heights under Pete Carroll. Urban Meyer stalks Tim Tebow.
Serious discussion question: Has there ever been a greater personality difference between two coaches in the SEC championship game than Urban Meyer and Houston Nutt? Or in observed dopamine levels? Also, Mike Shula sets a new NCAA record when, after slamming Kenneth Darby into 9 man fronts with no hope of an audible, resuscitates him 68 times from near death experiences. CLEAR!
200X. The University of South Florida, a school that exists somewhere in the bat country west of Disney, rises to number 2 in the polls at one point. Les Miles wins a national championship with a damn fine football team with two losses. OK, ULM—happy?
Tommy Bowden establishes his bona fides, such as they were, in Clemson’s opening game against Alabama. Tim Tebow angrily denies having sex with that woman, says he will never surrender, and commits UF to putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. A confused middle-aged man makes his first post to this new-fangled blog thing. 3-2.
ROLL TIDE and thank you Terrence Cody for your enormous field goal impeding limbs.
All the Cam Newton jokes. All of them. Isaac Newton you are a moron because your equations break down on football fumbles when leading by three touchdowns, jackass.
Here we are two years later and the rest of country still awaits an apology from Alabama and LSU. Nick Saban simply stares until you get chest pains and Les Miles is playing Risk with a group of landscaping stones. No, not as game pieces, as participants. 2011 was also the year of the full Tessitore hamming during a Friday night San Jose State/Hawaii game. 900 yards of offense, 12 turnovers
Mike Bobo becomes competent as an offensive coordinator. FIRE KELLY. The glory of Johnny Manziel’s Fran Tarkenton impersonation. Notre Dame, please do not ever wear those again. Learning to love the screen pass in one easy step. Being oh so right about Amari Cooper.
And here we are.