Greetings from the Georgia Dome, home of an inordinate quantity of 'Bama bangs, a handful of NFL scouts looking for their next great fullback and NO FRIGGIN' COFFEE OR DESSERTS in the press box. What a sham!
Some pregame notes...
-- This blog will contain very little helpful information regarding the game. I'm here to make snide comments, occasionally let you know when a score happens, and in all likelihood, complain about the lack of quality press box fare for the next three hours.
-- So I had the TV on this morning while I was doing a little work. I was only casually listening to a classic Tom Rinaldi story (which are seriously paint-by-numbers melodrama at their finest) about a boy Tim Tebow made a promise of some sort to. I'm sure it was sweet and heartbreaking, but again, I really wasn't paying close enough attention to tell you any details. But this line I did hear: "To this day, one of the nine bracelets Tebow wears each day signifies that promise he made to a young boy." Nine bracelets? Seriously? It's like that scene in "Talladega Nights" where Will Ferrell has a Fig Newtons sticker on his windshield. We're three weeks away from Tebow rocking a fanny pack commemorating a promise he made to a homeless guy to bring him some extra chicken the next time he eats at a KFC.
-- Seriously, Tebow is a warrior. Don't forget that. Warrior.
-- Oh, right... forgot to share the Tim Tebow drinking game... be sure to stock up on whiskey and read the rules in full.
-- If I find out the reason there were no press box desserts is because Terrence Cody ate six cheesecakes, I'm going to be very, very angry.
-- Brandon Dreaderick for Alabama is still rocking the Kid N Play haircut. Good for him.
-- The SEC gave us a form to fill out that includes all the information about our blogs so they can check to make sure we're properly following the rules of SEC blogging... and yet they provide no desserts. Even in George Orwell novels, I think people got to eat desserts.
START OF FIRST QUARTER
-- Florida fans booed Matt Stinchcomb in the pregame honors for the SEC Legends team. That didn't come anywhere close to how loudly Heath Shuler was booed though.
-- I'm not sure if there are more 'Bama fans here, but they are definitely louder and potentially drunker.
-- Bama takes the kickoff and returns it to the 22. I'd like to just take a moment of silence here to honor Jon Fabris. Where will we find real challenges next season?
-- Greg McElroy to Julio Jones for an 18-yard gain. By the way, Jeff Owens just suggested on his Twitter page that UGA do a black out in their bowl game. Whatever gets you pumped for Shreveport in late December, I suppose.
-- Interesting story from Urban Meyer about his trying to get a job from Nick Saban at Toledo 20 years ago... "I want to say 1989 I was a linebacker coach. I made this clear, too, not a very good linebacker coach at Illinois State University. Wanted to move back to Ohio. And somehow some way, there were no cell phones. I got a phone number and said call Coach Saban. Called Coach Saban, and his lovely wife picked up the phone and we chatted for about 10 minutes. I got her; she was sold. She was ready to go. And then I remember telling Shelly at the time -- I think she was my fiancee at the time, "Looks like we're going to Toledo." The phone call never came back. I had her; I didn't get him."
I'm struggling to come up with a joke that could be deemed "tasteful."
-- Impressive first drive by Bama so far, which just secured a first down at the Florida 37.
-- I think Florida fans are mad it's not really jorts weather.
-- Third-and-4 from the 31 for Bama. McElroy hits Jones in stride, but Julio bobbles the ball and can't come down with the catch. Somewhere, A.J. Green is rolling his eyes.
-- Leigh Tiffin on for the 48-yard field goal -- a short wobbler that still manages to float over the crossbar. Alabama 3, Florida 0, 10:37 left (10-50-4:23).
-- Courtney Kupets honored on the field as the SEC's scholar athlete of the year. She's nearly as tall as Mike Slive. Seriously.
-- Tim Tebow is also honored as the SEC's best warrior who still wears bracelets.
-- If I had known there wouldn't be desserts, I would have just gone to watch the game on the big screen at Hooters with Carlos Dunlap.
-- Jeff Demps just drops a wide open second down pass along the sideline. Florida faces a third-and-8 now from its own 24. Tebow dances around in the backfield like he has to pee as Bama's pressure collapses the pocket, and like a true warrior, he throws the ball away. He's like Braveheart in a football helmet. Florida punts it away.
FIRST QUARTER, 9:29 REMAINING
-- Our old friend Paul Dehner is now covering Cincinnati and was blogging live from the UC-Pitt game today (which was a fantastic game). Sadly, I cannot read beyond his fourth entry. I hate you, Paul.
-- Greg McElroy looks fantastic so far. He completes a 19-yard pass on first down top open Bama's second drive.
-- Mark Ingram on the carry takes it all the way down to the Florida 35. This Gators defense has to be stunned.
-- Second drop of the game by Julio Jones, though to be fair, he was sandwiched between two Florida defenders as soon as the ball got to him. Third-and-7 at the UF32.
-- McElroy delivers a strike to Marquis Maze for the first down, and Ingram follows that with another nice run down to the 10. What Florida's defense really needs right now is someone to give them an impassioned speech. But who?
-- Ingram rumbles seven yards for a touchdown after a Florida penalty gives the Tide a first down. Leigh Tiffin misses the PAT. Alabama 9, Florida 0, 5:33 remaining in the first. (8-76-3:56)
FIRST QUARTER, 5:33 REMAINING
-- An anonymous poster seems to think I'm complaining too much about the lack of dessert options. Thankfully, a reasonable person (Gameday Chef) stepped in on my behalf: "Your job is not as prestigous and demanding as Mr. Hale's. Prestigious people get free food, it's just a reality of America. If Mr. Hale is forced to suck it up, as you advise, the Terrorists win."
Well said, sir.
-- Prestigious people also don't need working email accounts. That's why I'm OK with mine never getting fixed. I wanna be like Paul Sorvino in "Goodfellas." Just have like 10 people who take messages for me, and if it's really important, I'll walk to the payphone at the end of the block and call you back.
-- Tebow hits Deonte Thompson for a 19-yard gain to the 40. He's going to look exquisite in a Buffalo Bills uniform next year.
-- Florida crosses into Bama territory for the first time after Tebow converts a third-and-seven. After the game, he's getting a special bracelet to commemorate the event.
-- Speaking of my prestigious job... I haven't gotten a paycheck in a month. Apparently the last one got lost in the mail. I'm secretly curious if perhaps the newspaper industry has already folded and I just wasn't told. No paycheck and a lack of press box desserts are two of the seven signs of newspaper apocolypse. If Mike Lupica doesn't spend 10 minutes telling us how we need to stop worrying about Tiger's personnal life on "The Sports Reporters" tomorrow, then I'll know we're in real trouble.
-- Fourth-and-12 for Florida at the Bama 31, and Sturgis lines up for the field goal. But the Bama band is playing the "A-Team" theme song. This could be interesting.
-- Meh. Field goal is good. Alabama 9, Florida 3, 28 seconds left in the quarter (12-56-5:05). If you don't think that missed PAT isn't going to come back to haunt Bama, then clearly you have never gambled on sports.
-- By the way, I've already received three texts from my fellow handicapper Dan, each saying, "Shove it, Florida."
-- Ingram in the Wildcat for Bama. That works about as well as when Mike Vick is in the Wildcat for the Eagles.
-- By the way, I'm furious about this whole Vick situation. I could have easily gotten tickets for tomorrow's Birds-Falcons game right up until they signed Vick. Now he has produced absolutely nothing for the Eagles all year, but has put tickets for the game out of my price range (which, admittedly, isn't particularly high). I can't help but feel like this is exactly why Andy Reid signed him. I hate you, Andy Reid.
START OF SECOND QUARTER
-- Alabama faces a third-and-4 from its own 38. I think Greg McElroy has risen up to No. 2 on my list of favorite McElroys. You just can't top Chuck McElroy though. Now that was a good-lookin' fella.
-- Bama is forced to punt. Brandon James looks like he might have an angle for the end zone, but Tide punter PJ Fitzgerald makes a great tackle near the sideline at the UF35.
-- Some interesting first-quarter numbers: Total offense - Bama 119, Florida 58; rush yards - Bama 56, Florida 17; McElroy 5-7-63, Tebow 5-10-41.
-- Tebow's pitch to Bredon James finds Bama out of position and James darts into Bama territory, only a holding flag brings it back.
-- Marquis Johnson tips away Tebow's third-down pass, marking what could have been the 2nd pick of the game for The Warrior. I see what he's doing... showing some compassion for the enemy he's about to vanquish. He's been watching some Steven Segal films.
-- Note from anonymous commenter: "You forgot that ESPN/ABC/CBS doesn't allow any negative comments about Saint Tebow. They have their eyes on you, buddy."
-- Tim Tebow is a warrior. Tim Tebow is America's greatest human being. Tim Tebow will be great in the NFL. Yes, this is definitely David typing this. No, this is definitely not an SEC official who has hijacked his laptop. Hey, why doesn't this damned email work?
-- Great run by Trent Richardson to pick up seven yards. He broke about 43 tackles along the way. That brings up a third-and-3.
-- McElroy hits Maze for a 34-yard gain to the Florida 27. Bama is simply taking it to this Florida defense. Florida's Major Wright is hurt after the play and being attended to by Florida medical staff, who I assume will ask Tebow what his advice is before performing any real medical examination.
-- Tebow is actually standing by himself on the sideline with a headset on. I'm guessing he's listening to Air Supply's Greatest Hits.
-- OK, I gotta minimize some of the Tebow jokes. I wanna save some material for the second half.
-- If McElroy's receievers could hang on to the football, his numbers would be through the roof right now. Third-and-5 at the Florida 22.
-- Wow, what a run by McElroy. He goes to the sideline to avoid pressure, then sidesteps down the sideline as he's falling backward to pick up the first down. Chuck would be proud.
-- Interesting article from the Tampa Tribune on the early tailgating that Tech and Clemson fans are doing for the ACC title game. I'm confused though... I don't see a video game console anywhere in the accompanying photo of the Tech fan.
-- Oh wait, never mind... money quote: "David Boney of Savannah, Ga., grilled burgers and hot dogs a few feet from his car. His chemical engineering textbooks waited for him inside."
-- McElroy is sacked for a huge loss and Bama will line up to kick another field goal, this one from 34 yards out. Tiffin's kick is good. Bama 12, Florida 3, 6:03 remaining in the half (12-68-5:27)
SECOND QUARTER, 6:03 REMAINING
-- Passing yards so far: Alabama 116, Timmy 38.
-- So since Georgia isn't going to have but one defensive coach on staff for its bowl game, and since fans have been complaining about the defense for two straight years, I'd like to see the Indy Bowl set up a system whereby the fans do all the defensive playcalling for the Bulldogs. I'd be much more interested in watching that game. If you would like to have Bryan Evans start at safety, press 1. If you would like Bacarri Rambo to start, press 2. I mean, if "American Idol" can do it, why can't Georgia?
-- Tebow reverses field and runs for a gain of 23 to the Bama 38. He follows that by going straight up the middle for a gain of 15. He jumps around and celebrates but in no way draws attention to himself.
-- Tebow to David Nelson for a 23-yard TD. I have no idea what happened to Bama's defense on that drive. Just brutal. Alabama 12, Florida 10, 4:31 left in the half (4-70-1:32).
-- McElroy hits Ingram on a screen on the first play from scrimmage and Ingram darts down the sideline for 69 yards to the 3 before being pushed out. Urban Meyer asks if he can help Charlie Strong pack for Louisville.
-- Oh my there are some unattractive Alabama fans on the Jimbotron. One girl looked an awful lot like Zach Galifianakis. Also, I think I saw Chuck McElroy.
-- Ingram finishes what he started, rumbling three yards into the end zone. That didn't take long. Alabama 19, Florida 10, 3:32 remaining in the half (2-72-0:59).
-- Tebow hits Riley Cooper on first down for a 59-yard gain to the Alabama 21. What the heck happened to these defenses? Saban will now allow Kirby Smart to take Mark Richt's calls.
-- Interesting play on second down. Tebow tried to hit Aaron Hernandez in the end zone. Corey Reamer broke up the play, but in swatting the ball out of Hernandez's hands, nearly batted it right to another Florida receiver. In the end, however, it was much like a "Flash Forward" episode... a lot of buildup to nothing.
-- Fourth-and-4 with 1:21 to go at the 19 and Sturgis boots the field goal. Alabama 19, Florida 13, 1:18 remaining in the half (5-65-2:14).
-- Maybe there will be halftime desserts. Perhaps they were just saving the good stuff til then. Fingers crossed.
-- OK, be back after the half, hopefully with cheesecake.
-- There were cookies and brownies out. They ran out before I got to the front of the line. They replaced them with a bowl of oranges. This is the worst day of my life.
-- I gave Finebaum a dirty look, just to try to even out my karma. Then I thought, I think he'd probably be more frightened by someone who smiled at him. He gets dirty looks all the time.
-- Here's an interesting stat for you: If this game ended at halftime, this would represent the fourth-most yards a team has compiled against Florida's D all season.
-- The halftime highlight was clearly a girl schooling some dude from Florida in the Dr. Pepper football toss. Absolutely hilarious. If that guy's friends let him come back and sit with them they ought to all be escorted from the game.
-- The really sad thing, however, was that the girl who won the toss had a better arm than Tebow.
-- You know who I feel bad for? The guy in line in the men's room who, when a urinal opens up and he's at the front of the line, has to wave the guy behind him on through. It's just a signal to everyone else in there that, yes, he's waiting on the stall, and no, it's not going to be pretty. There's no alternative but to hang your head in shame in that situation.
-- And no, that was not myself I was referring to.
-- And one other press box note: There is an unusually high level of bad facial hair here today. I keep looking for Jonathan Crompton but haven't seen him yet.
START OF THIRD QUARTER
-- One of the truly sad things about writing these live blogs from the press box (other than the lack of dessert options) is that I don't get to make fun of the broadcast team. Big thanks to those of you who have filled me in on some of the Danielson-Lundquist gems. In the 2nd half, I'll just try to predict what they're saying, and if I get any right, then you have to drink.
-- Florida goes three and out to start the half and Chas Henry boots a punt that sets Bama up at its own 26. I have trouble respecting people who choose to go by "Chas." That's like someone named Doug going by "Doogie." And in a show about a 16-year-old doctor, the fact that he wanted to be called "Doogie" was probably the most unlikely plotline.
-- Ingram goes around right end for a two yard gain to bring up a third-and-1 at the 35 then follows that with a dive up the middle to pick up the first down. He's up to 65 yards and 2 TDs so far... not bad for a guy playing hurt.
-- McElroy goes deep and hits Maze for a 28-yard gain to the Florida 32. Bama has been in Florida territory in five of seven drives, with one of the short drives being the end of the half.
-- Beautiful over the shoulder grab by Colin Peek in the end zone. Just a great looking play all around. Tebow looks dazed on the sideline. Alabama 26, Florida 13, 9:53 left in the third quarter (5-74-2:48).
THIRD QUARTER, 9:53 REMAINING
-- Verne: "Oh my that was quite a catch by, uh, Peek."
Gary: "Hell yeah."
Verne: "And Tim Tebow looks stunned."
Gary: "Hell yeah."
Verne: "But he's a warrior. You know he has to be thinking about a comeback right now."
Gary: "We're out of bourbon."
-- Interesting note: Mark Ingram has officially posted the most rushing yards in a season ever by an Alabama player. That's pretty impressive. Gary: "Hell yeah."
-- If I had a quarter for every pass Alabama has batted down in the secondary today, I'd have enough to go by a dessert treat from the concessions. Doogie Henry, M.D. back on to punt.
-- I'm currently perusing the Wikipedia page for Shreveport to see what I'm in for during bowl week. Apparently there's quite a history of movies being filmed in Shreveport, including gems like "Soul Men," "Blonde Ambition" and "The Guardian." I'm really holding out hope I'll get to meet Tom Sizemore while I'm there.
-- Nice run for Trent Richardson sets Bama up with a first down at the 37. McElroy goes for the home run to Julio Jones, but it falls incomplete. You have to feel like another TD here would be a backbreaker for Florida.
-- Another interesting note: "Mardi Gras celebrations have been going on in Shreveport now for over 20 years." Wow, way to jump on the bandwagon early, Shreveport!
-- Alabama is up to 363 yards of offense -- the most any team has tallied against Florida this season. And there is still 20 minutes left in the game.
-- McElroy is averaging 21 yards per completion. Carlos Dunlap must be sick. And only partially due to that last shot of tequila. (Was that in poor taste? Wait, tequila always tastes poor. Nevermind.)
-- First down Bama at the Florida 38 and Richardson runs down the middle for 5. This Florida D is absolutely gassed. Tide is 7-of-10 on third down and Tebow is still searching for just the right adjectives to use before giving his inspirational speech. Dramatic moments, folks.
-- Verne: "This is very uncharacteristic for the Gators defense."
Gary: "But let's not forget what a warrior Tim Tebow is, Verne."
Verne: "He is indeed, Gary. Quite a warrior."
-- Make that 8-of-11 on third down for the Tide. Ingram just rumbled to the 12 yard line for a 10-yard gain. And that'll do it for the third quarter.
START OF FOURTH QUARTER
-- Apparently if you test drive a Ford, you get a free Tony Gonzolez fathead. I'm just curious, who actually buys fatheads? I can't fathom anyone with a girlfriend or a wife would be allowed to hang it up, and the things cost like $100. In fact, I would purposefully NOT test drive a Ford to avoid having a giant Tony Gonzolez stuck on my wall. Plus, you then avoid the danger of Matt Ryan haphazardly throwing a football at your wall every time he's under pressure from the defense.
-- My eyes must be deceiving me. I just saw a stat that said Tim Tebow had a 2-5 career record when trailing in the second half. That can't be right. I mean, he's th greatest player of our era. He always rallies his team back because he's so inspirational. The stat guy must have gotten into Verne's bourbon.
-- Anonymous comment: "Mark Ingram is circumcising Florida's D today." How had I waited this long to make a joke like that? I'm not on my game today.
-- First-and-goal from the 1 and Ingram barrels forward for his third touchdown of the game. Tebow is still calmly listening to Air Supply on the headset. I'm not sure the "All Out of Love" lyrics are going to be enough to inspire a comeback this time, Timmy. Alabama 32, Florida 13, 13:49 remaining (17-88-8:47).
-- I'm curious what CBS's argument is now for Tebow still winning the Heisman. I guess it's not his fault his teammates have let him down so much. I mean, he's told them they have to get inspired. What more do you want from him?
-- Lorenzo Washington absolutely levels Tebow in the backfield as he's drops back to throw. The ball comes loose, which is initially ruled a fumble. A review calls it an incomplete pass, however, because everyone knows Tebow doesn't fumble in the fourth quarter.
-- Tebow takes another huge shot but gets a pass off to Aaron Hernandez, who twists and turns down to the 28-yard line. Tebow completes a 22-yarder down to the 6 on the next play. His third pass, however, is picked off in the end zone by Javier Arenas, who will now go down in history as the guy who ruined college football for everyone.
FOURTH QUARTER, 11:51 REMAINING
-- Note from commenter: "On another totally irrelevant point, Verne likes cheese."
I bet that's who ate all the desserts. Damn you, Verne!
-- Three-and-out for Bama. Not exactly what Saban was hoping to see, I'm sure. On the other hand, he has to stand on six phone books to see much of anything anyway.
-- Big Jumbotron announcement for fans to stay off the field after the game. Just once, I'd like to be involved in a fans-rush-the-field situation. I'm tall, so I feel like I could really be helpful in a tearing-down-the-goalposts plan.
-- In case you're wondering, here's Tebow's eye black passage: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. And look out for Arenas in the end zone."
-- What's worse, when I Googled that, there were already several news stories pointing it out.
-- What's even worse, when I just checked the comments, someone had already posted it.
-- I'll give Tebow credit, he makes a good billboard.
-- Fourth-and-3 at the Bama 13-yard line. Florida takes a timeout with 7:33 to play.
-- Pass is broken up. That should about do it. I'm heading to the field. I'm going to try to catch some of Tebow's tears in a plastic cup. I assume they'll eventually be useful in curing a deadly disease or something.
Saturday, December 5, 2009