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The local rabble who've spent much of the past couple weeks going nuclear on Paul Finebaum for daring to suggest any comparison between Urban Meyer and Bear Bryant will be gratified to hear: The Bear haunted Meyer on his first visit to Bryant-Denny! At least that's how Urbs seems to describe it:

Urban Meyer remembers two things in particular from his first road trip to Alabama in his first season at Florida.

Before and after that visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium, he heard voices.

During warm-ups, he said, "I'm standing near the goal post. They flip that scoreboard on. Bear Bryant is right there talking to me. I'll never forget that."

But that pregame blast from the past didn't speak as loudly as the postgame critics. They saw Alabama 31, Florida 3 as a sign that Meyer wasn't going to change the future of the SEC.

Not a painting by Larry Pitts but an actual, unretouched photo, evidently.

HA HA SUCK IT MEYER RAMMER JAMMER HEY GATORS WE JUST BEAT THE HELL OUTTA YOUUUUU! Yeah, the rest of the story is a lot of stuff about the spread offense and about how it's changing the SEC and blah blah blah, but no matter how dominating the spread becomes, it'll never match the booming, beyond-the-grave voice of Paul W. Bryant in terms of sheer pants-crapping, bitchmaking terror.

Orrrr . . . maybe it will. Later on in the article:

"I think Florida has a great offense. I think it's very difficult to defend. So I'm not being critical. But it is different."

Saban should know.

His Alabama defense was dominant last season as the Crimson Tide rolled through the regular season 12-0. Then it faced two of the most prominent proponents of the spread offense, Florida in the SEC Championship Game and Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama surrendered a season-high 31 points to both the Gators and the Utes and lost both games.

Christ, Bryant, where were you for those two games, guy? Perhaps the Bear really is like God: He answers all prayers, but sometimes the answer is no.