But First, The Granddaddy Of Them All?
In European political history a sequence of rulers from the same family is called a dynasty. In college football it is called Alabama. In voodooism, people raised from the dead are called zombies. In college football, they are called Auburn Tigers. And by a quirky set of extenuating circumstances these two gale force winds are set to collide on the Plains in a rivalry that has always had a “Hunger Games” aura to it to start with.
All the chips are indeed on the table. Division title. Conference title. National championship opportunity. This came about when Alabama demonstrated it has all the bells and whistles to repeat as national champs, going through its schedule like China crushing the pro-democracy movement; Auburn, meanwhile, improved and improved and improved and after Ricardo Louis sauntered in the end zone with an improbable pass to beat Georgia, the Tigers have to believe there is such a thing as divine winds.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall (top picture, upper left) didn’t put up a Hail Mary, he put up an entire rosary. The completion secures his place in Auburn folklore no matter what happens from here on out. Meanwhile, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron (top picture, lower left) is closing out a college career that just might go down as the best college career any quarterback ever had. Did Elway, Manning, Brady, Marino, Montana or Aikman ever win three straight titles? Come to think of it, did all of them combined ever account for three national championships?
In another forum that will no doubt be dissected, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn (top picture, right of Humphrey Bogart) has come to be regarded around the Southeastern Conference the way Harry Houdini was on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Has anyone ever taken a program from the outhouse to the penthouse and such land-record time? Meanwhile, if Alabama coach Nick Saban (top picture, left of Humphrey Bogart) could bottle and sell the ingredients for “The Process,” sales would be in the billions.
Spin the wheel. Deal the cards. Stay out of the aisles and hang on to the handrail!
Bama Bags The Biggie —
Recruiting congrats need to be extended to the Crimson Tide…not for securing the commitment of top recruit DaShawn Hand, but by the astute way it was handled. DaShawn claimed he was swayed to Alabama not by a powerhouse football program so much as a preeminent Civil Engineering program. If this seems disingenuous, well, people like Stanford, Notre Dame and Penn State have been doing it for decades. Creating the perception their rosters are chuck full of future noble laureates and cabinet post candidates. While places like SEC schools–which have always been upfront and honest about their football intentions–get labeled “football factories” where the jocks wouldn’t have a clue how to find the library if it didn’t have a Coors Light banner hanging over it. Now, we know places like Stanford, Notre Dame and Penn State doesn’t recruit players with any more intelligence or character than, shall we say, Alabama or Auburn. But those guys have always known how to market themselves. When Notre Dame signed its hypocritical contract with NBC, the administration talked about all the money they’d have available for everything from environmental research to world philanthropy, not overseas games and state-of-the art weight rooms. And we now know Penn State’s “Grand Experiment” was just a sales pitch to create the illusion Joe Paterno recruited nothing but Eagle Scouts in the National Honor Society.
But Alabama is clearly catching on, and the rules of engagement are simple: 1) Whenever you sign a blue-chip prospect, barely mention his athletic accomplishments, but rather the honorable degree he is pursuing, and lace the announcement with all kinds of erudite academia jargon. 2) Get a photo op of him on your campus in a classroom, looking like he’s can’t wait to start his degree plan. 3.) Get a photo op of him with some of your state’s leading citizens–a U.S. senator or Fortune 500 CEO–at an iconic slice of America like Wall Street of Capitol Hill.
With that mind mind, here are some dubious announcements Alabama could made over the years to enhance its academic image. Each time the Tide signed that top-notch blue-chip recruit, here are the ways they should have handled the disclosure:
Joe Namath To Major In Theology
BEAVER FALLS, PENNSYLVANIA--The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that local high school standout quarterback Joe Namath will enroll in the University of Alabama this fall, where he will major in Theology, with consideration of eventually joining the seminary.
“A lot of people are not aware of this, but Joe is a pretty religious guy,” said Namath’s future coach at Alabama, Paul “Bear” Bryant. “Joe does a pretty good job of camouflaging his love of religion with all those broads and booze bottles he always has around him, but he does have his educational priorities in line, which is why we want him at Alabama.”
“I think Joe Willie Namath and the Theology department at the University of Alabama is a perfect match,” said sportscaster Howard Cosell of ABC Sports. “I tell it like it is, and where else but American can a young lad from the coal mines of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania get an ecumenical opportunity from a erudite institution of higher learning in a foreign region of the country to get off the horizontal staircase of mediocrity and turn himself in to an icon of his generation?”
Billy Neighbors To Major In Aerospace Engineering
TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA–Newly-hired Alabama coach Paul Bryant has told the Tuscaloosa News that his first signing class with the Crimson Tide will include future rocket scientist Billy Neighbors, a Tuscaloosa County standout.
“Billy stressed from the get-go that he would only go to a college that had his chosen field of study, which is aerospace engineering,” said Bryant.
“When I get to the University of Alabama my principle goals will be to research, design and develop technology that can some day put a man on the moon,” said Neighbors. “The physical properties of spacecraft has been something I have always been enamored with.”
Bryant said he will be changing his practice schedule because it coincides with the labs Neighbors needs to complete to get this degree. ” Flight technology has advanced to the point a student must be too well versed in the aerodynamic characteristics of airfoil properties, so Billy can’t miss any labs,” said Bryant.
Lee Roy Jordan To Major In Classical Art
EXCEL, ALABAMA--The Mobile Register has reported that standout fullback Lee Roy Jordan of Excell High School has decided to major in Classical Art at the University of Alabama and, if time permits, he will join Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide football team where he will more than likely be switched to the linebacker position.
“I first became enraptured with Classical Art as a sophomore when I studied World History,” said Jordan. “The Greeks celebrated the human figure through sculpture in highly naturalistic detail, and I just couldn’t get enough of this subject matter. It always amazed me that when the Romans conquered the Greeks, they still regarded Greek artwork as superior and imported thousands of Greek artworks.”
“When Lee Roy came on his recruiting trip, he mentioned he wanted to continue his education in the area of sculpture and architecture, and it just so happens the University of Alabama has the best Classical Art program in the country,” said Bryant. “Our goal is that when Lee Roy leaves our university, he is a real Renaissance Man. And with the courses we offer in everything from Pottery Of The Aegean Islands, to Coin Designs In Athens, to Mosaic Paintings, there is no question in my mind this goal can be accomplished.”
Johnny Musso To Become A Brain Surgeon
BIRMINGHAM– Shorty White, legendary football coach at Banks High School, has announced that his star fullback, Johnny Musso, will enroll at the University of Alabama next fall, where he will major in neurosurgery, and be a member of the football team.
“We are elated Johnny has decided to come to our school,” said Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. “We were worried that Johnny might be swayed by all that under-the-table money those outlaw schools in the South were offering, but I felt confident when Johnny looked at the computer assisted imaging tomography and stereotactic surgery methods our neurosurgery program offers, there is no way he would choose any place but the University of Alabama.”
“Plus, we stressed to Johnny that our professors teach the microsurgery methods needed for a young doctor to be successful in today’s marketplace,” said Alabama assistant coach Dude Hennessy. “Procedures such as microdiscectomy, laminectomy and artificial discs all rely on microsurgery and that is covered in-depth at the University of Alabama. And Johnny understands that.”
Ken Stabler To Major In Reading Spreadsheets By The Light Of A Jukebox
FOLEY, ALABAMA–Long-time Alabama play-by-play voice John Forney has told the Mobile Kiwanis Club that standout quarterback Ken Stabler of Foley High School has decided to enroll at the University of Alabama, because the school offers an unusual major titled, “Reading Spreadsheets By The Light Of A Jukebox.”
“This is one of the more unusual recruiting deals I’ve ever heard of,” said Forney. “Kenny is a good enough football player to draw interest from every school in the Southeastern Conference. He also averaged 29 points a game in basketball, so he could clearly play basketball in college too. And the Astros and Yankees have already indicated they are ready to sign him to a pro baseball contract with one of their minor league teams. But Kenny has decided to turn all that down and come to the University of Alabama because we do have a major in ‘Reading Spreadsheets By The Light Of a Jukebox’ which other schools do not.”
“Kenny is one of those rare individuals who already knows what he wants out of life,” said Alabama coach Bear Bryant. “He knows he wants to spend the majority of his time in the dark corners of taverns shooting pool, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and hustling broads. To do that you have to be able to have a way to communicate with the outside world, and we are proud that here at Alabama we offer courses tailor made to the needs of someone like Kenny.”
Sylvester Croom To Major In Interpretive Dance And Ballet
TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA–WBRC-TV is reporting tonight that Sylvester Croom Jr., an all-state linebacker at Tuscaloosa High School, has decided to further his education at the University of Alabama and be a part of the Fine Arts Department, which will give him an opportunity to major in Interpretive Dance and Ballet.
“Concert dance is a darn competitive field to get into,” said Croom. “But I have always wanted to perform in theatrical dance and the University of Alabama will provide me a chance to achieve my heart’s desire.”
“One thing we stressed to Sylvester while we were recruiting him, is that our Fine Arts department will put on a presentation of ‘The Nutcracker’ in the spring, and that’s something that will be great for him to put on his resume,” said Alabama coach Paul Bryant, who indicated he is confident Croom will also try out for football.
“I know the opera houses I plan on applying to have much respect for the University of Alabama,” said Croom. “So I’m humbled for this chance.”
Ken Coley To Major In Drama
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA–Former Alabama football player Bobby Johns, currently the head football coach at Erwin High School, has told the Birmingham News that his outstanding quarterback Ken Coley will enroll at the University of Alabama this upcoming Fall, where he will play on the football team and major in Theater with an emphasis on Shakespearean drama.
“Ever since Kenny was a little kid he was always fascinated with things like the structure of dramatic texts and collaborative modes of production methods and how they combine to form fiction represented as performance,” said Johns. “So we have been recommending to him for years he enroll in the drama department at the University of Alabama.”
“Plus, Kenny indicated to us that he regards Shakespearean tragedies at the epitome of lyrical drama and all the genres it includes,” said Alabama assistant coach Mal Moore. “And our drama department can off him limitless opportunities to perform and excel in everything from sonnets to narrative poems to extant works known worldwide.”
“There is no question in my mind Kenny has the charisma and camera presence to make it big on the silver screen,” said Alabama head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. “You look up in the not-too-distant future and he’ll have made his mark in Hollywood or on Broadway. It wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes another Tony Curtis.”
John Hannah To Major In Home Economics
ALBERTVILLE, ALABAMA– John Hannah, Baylor High School’s heavily recruited lineman, has told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he will continue his education at the University of Alabama where he will major in home economics with the goal of someday being a celebrity chef.
“I was always infatuated with Marie-Antoine Careme while growing up, and I’m humbled to get this opportunity to go off to the University of Alabama and participate in their home economics program,” said Hannah.
“John said right from the start he is interested in a forum where he can influence the cuisine business and guide people towards a healthy and balanced diet,” said Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, who is hoping Hannah will also find time to try out for the football team. “And here at Alabama we have a track record of preparing chefs as well as any college in the country.”
“I someday want to be an internationally-known celebrity by virtue of using the mass media to present cookery advice in television demonstrations everywhere from Hong Kong to Dothan, and I am confident Alabama will give a chance to meet my goal,” said Hannah.
Don Hutson To Major In Comparative Religions
PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS–University of Alabama coach Frank Thomas has told the Associated Press out of Birmingham that Pine Bluff High School sensation Don Hutson will be enrolling in college at Tuscaloosa in the Fall, and intends on majoring in Comparative Religions.
“Knute (Rockne) always said if you’ve got a prospective athlete who is interested in Comparative Religions, you gotta get’em,” said Thomas. “Those guys who are into the systematic comparisons of different doctrines are great at reading defenses, which is why we want him here at Alabama both in the classroom and on the football field.”
“The University of Alabama has a flexible program which concentrates on Asian religions such as Zen Buddhism and Taoism as well as Abrahamic religions such as Judaism and Christianity, and that really impressed me,” said Hutson. “I plan to write my thesis on the divine revelations God gave to Moses.”
“By the time he gets to every course we have from Theravada Buddhism to Himalayan Hinduism he is going to be one educated young man,” said Thomas.
Cornelius Bennett To Major In Archeology
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA–Alabama football coach Ray Perkins, while speaking at the Birmingham Lions Club meeting, said that his incoming freshman class will include Ensley High School standout Cornelius Bennett, who has indicated he wants to major in archeology and try to accomplish his lifelong goal of finding the Lost City of Atlantis.
“I know this is a lofty goal, but if anyone can do it, Biscuit can,” said Perkins.
“I have always had an interest in reviewing artifacts, biofacts and cultural landscapes to try to visualize human activity in the past,” said Bennett. “And the archeology professors at Alabama have told me not to sell myself short, they think I can find Atlantis.”
“Biscuit told me he first became interested in the remains of Atlantis while reading Plato,” said Billy Mitchell, Birmingham News sports editor. “He can’t understand how a navel power that frightened the Greeks half to death, could up and disappear in thin air. And by studying at Alabama, there is no question in my mind he can find the answer.”
Robin Parkhouse To Major In Chemistry With A Minor In Pharmaceutical Sciences
ORLANDO, FLORIA– Orlando Boone High School linebacker Robin Parkhouse held a press conference this morning to announce that will will pursue a chemistry degree at the University of Alabama next fall, where he will also play on the Crimson Tide football team.
“Clandestine chemistry is a wide-open field that could really be profitable in the future,” said Parkhouse. “And I am certainly hoping the professors I have at Alabama can take me through the entire process of synthetic narcotics production from taking alkaloids extracted from plant sources all the way to the precipitation needed to assist acetic anhydride into a high-grade product which will be in demand everywhere.”
Parkhouse said he is also hoping members of the University of Alabama business school can assist with knowledge of getting his product on to the black market as well as the basic principles needed to compile a profit and loss spreadsheet to determine how much profit is being made, and how much of those profits should be poured back into refining the production.
“Many times assessing the purity of illegally synthesized drugs obtained on the black market is difficult, but I want the consumers to have confidence in my lab methods,” said Parkhouse.
Mark Ingram To Major In International Relations
FLINT, MICHIGAN–The Detroit Free Press has reported that Southwestern Academy all-state running back Mark Ingram has agreed to further his education at the University of of Alabama, where he plans to major International Relations and then do espionage work with the CIA.
“Any powerful nation throughout the course of history has always been dependent on those who will put their lives on the line to obtain confidential information with the permission of the holder of that information,” said Alabama football coach Nick Saban. “And I think our nation needs to be grateful that people like Mark are will to go off to college to study espionage methods to keep our great nation free,” said Alabama assistant coach Kirby Smart. “And their is no question in my mind the University of Alabama’s International Relations department can help Mark infiltrate our enemy’s ranks, protecting our democracy.”
“What I really want to specialize in is finding dissidents within our enemy’s ranks and encouraging them to defect,” said Ingram. “And the football staff at Alabama tells me they know all the methods one can use to accomplish this, so I’m excited about heading to Tuscaloosa.”
Antonio Langham To Major In Business/Finance With Goal Of Getting A Harvard MBA
TOWN CREEK, ALABAMA–Antonio Langham, an All-State player at Hazzlewood High School, has told the Huntsville Times he plans on enrolling at the University of Alabama were he will major in business/finance and plans to pursue an MBA at Harvard following his graduation from Alabama and eventually run his own Fortune 500 company.
“Antonio has made it clear he wants to spend the next for years in Tuscaloosa developing his own management theories on the fundamental principles that underscore the formation and operation of a business enterprise,” said Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings.
“Maximizing profits for the company owners is something Antonio clearly has a strong obligation to,” said Alabama defensive coordinator Bill Oliver. “But he has his priorities correct. He told us in any company he ends up running, the shareholders, the employees and the customers will all be of equal importance to him.”
“There is no question we can build Antonio a great business foundation here at Alabama, and then he can take it all to another level when he enrolls at Harvard,” said assistant athletic director Larry White.
Marty Lyons To Major In Air, Space And Radar Technology
PINELLAS PARK, FLORIDA–The Tampa Tribune is reporting in its early editions that St. Petersburg Catholic High School standout tackle Marty Lyons‘ interest of radio waves, metallic objects and electromagnetism will take him to the University of Alabama this fall, where he will major in Air, Space and Radar Technology.
“Our students at Alabama learn everything from timing pulses on an oscilloscope to methods needed to produce large quantities of coherent microwaves, and that really impressed Marty,” said Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who indicated he feels Lyons also has the potential to make the Crimson Tide football team.
“The whole time he was on our campus for his recruiting trip all he wanted to do was research the development of the magnetron with sub-meter resolution,” said Billy Varner, Coach Bryant’s bodyguard.
“I think Marty realizes just how strong the future of technology is,” said Alabama defensive coordinator Ken Donahue. “And he wants a school that knows all about signal processing capabilities through the constant evolution and improvement on solid state computers.”
Mike Dubose To Major In Mental And Psychotic Health Counseling
OPP, ALABAMA–Mike Dubose, an All-State linebacker from Opp High School, has told the Montgomery Advertiser he plans on enrolling at the University of Alabama where he will pursue his life-long dream of being a grief counselor for mentally disturbed individuals.
“It has always disturbed me that neuropsychiatric disorders are a leading cause of disability worldwide, taking away as much as forty per cent of healthy life years lost through diseases, and no one wants to do anything about it; well I plan on doing something about it,” said Dubose.
“When I get to the Capstone, I plan on spending the majority of my time doing coordinated surveys on emotional mental health orders, their severity, and treatments that can be implemented all around the state of Alabama,” Dubose added. “We don’t need any emotionally-disturbed citizens walking around the state of Alabama and when my treatments get to the marketplace, disorders like depression are going to be just about nonexistent.”
“I told Mike that your word is your bond, and I have no doubt he feels obligated to come to the University of Alabama and follow through on what he said he was going to do,” said Alabama head football coach Bear Bryant.
Chris Samuels To Major In Police Science
MOBILE, ALABAMA–Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings is being quoted in today’s Mobile Press Register saying that John Shaw High School sensation Chris Sammuels will sign on with the Crimson Tide for next year, closing out what Stallings claims is his best recruiting year.
“Recruiting can be funny,” said Stallings. “When we talked to Chris we found out he nearly didn’t have that much interest in football, but he did want to major in Police Science and someday head up the FBI,and it just so happens we have a great Police Science program at the University of Alabama.”
“Whether it’s forensic science, jurisprudence, community policing or correction information, they’ve got courses on it at the University of Alabama,” said Samuels. “That’s why I would be stupid, and I mean blithering ignorant, not to enroll in Tuscaloosa.”
Stallings said Samuels is already taking a correspondence course from Alabama on administering breathalyzer tests to drunk drivers.
Barrett Jones To Major In Library Science
MEMHPIS, TENNESSEE–Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has told the Atlanta Constitution that All-State lineman Barrett Jones from Evangelical Christian School in Memphis has signed with the University of Alabama, where in will major in Library Science.
“I recall when Barrett came to one of our summer camps when he was a freshman in high school,” said Saban “He kept telling us that the most important thing in his life was the collection, organization and preservation of information resources. Well I told him right then and there, ‘You need to come to Alabama and major in our Library Science Program!’”
“Library science is always evolving, constantly incorporating new topics for the database management information architecture, and here at Alabama we have programs that can help Barrett tremendously,” said Alabama assistant coach Kirby Smart.
“When I get my own library, I am going to run a no-nonsense outfit,” said Jones. “If I catch any scoundrels shooting spitballs or yodeling in the reference room, I’ll throw their asses out the door so quickly their heads will be spinning!”
Barry Krause To Major In Animal Husbandry
POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA–The Miami Herald is reporting that All-State football player Barry Krause from Pompano Beach High School has signed a letter of intent to play football for legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
“The main reason I’m going to Alabama, is because they have a great animal husbandry program, and I feel I can utilize it to improve my understanding of the dynamic relationship between humans and non-humans and eventually reach my goal of being a lion tamer for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus,” said Krause.
“The taming of lions for entertainment purposes certainly is a noble calling but it is a dangerous activity due to the obvious risks of toying with powerful, instinctive carnivores,” said Bryant. “However, we are confident Barry can get the training he needs from our animal husbandry program and someday be known all over the world to taming lions.”
Krause said he also plans to join the Captive Animal Protection Society which stressed the importance of preservation and protection of lions as well as utilizing them for circus acts.
Shaun Alexander To Major In Pre-Med
FLORENCE, KENTUCKY–Pat Forte of the Louisville Courier has tweeted that Boone High School running back Shaun Alexander, who rushed for 3,166 yards and a state record 54 touchdown this past fall, will enroll at the University of Alabama were he plans on majoring in pre-med.
“Shaun knows he is going to have to go to a college that will satisfy medical school prerequisites,” said Alabama head coach Gene Stallings. “And here at Alabama we got a butt load of biology, chemistry and physics courses.”
“And I told him I would personally tutor him for the Medical College Admissions Test,” said Tide assistant coach Ellis Johnson. “And I don’t want to sound vainglorious, but I really think when I agreed to tutor him, he had not alternative but to come to Alabama.”
“Plus, our biochemistry laboratories are just as nice as our locker rooms,” said Alabama Director of Broadcasting Tom Roberts. “And I doubt many NCAA Division I schools can say that!”
Ozzie Newsome To Major In Opera
MUSCLE SHOALS, ALABAMA–Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant has announced that his freshman signing class will include Ozzie Newsome, a standout at Colbert County High School, who plans on majoring in Opera.
“Ozzie has always shown a predilection for drama combining libretto and musical score, and we convinced him, ‘Why go to Athens, Greece or even Athens, Georgia to do that?’ He can do it right here in Tuscaloosa,” said Bryant,
“Just as Jacopo Peri went off and composed ‘Dafne,’ I am determined to go off and write my own opera composition which I will title HaHa Clinton-Dix,” said Newsome.
“There is no question in my mind the Wizard of Oz can elevate his tone in a highly stylized form of secco recitative interspersed to produce some of the best da capo arias ever heard around the Southeastern Conference,” said Bryant.
“Ozzie will be highly qualified to do anything from being a court singer to a maestro director once we finish with him at Alabama” said assistant coach Mal Moore.
Bob Baumhower To Major In Chicken Physiology
TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA–Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant has told Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that local Tuscaloosa standout Bob Baumhower will enroll at the University of Alabama next fall and will major in Chicken Physiology.
“When we first started recruiting Bob he told us he wanted to learn everything he could about everything from egg production to feather follicles,” said Bryant. “And it just so happens our Chicken Physiology Department is one of the best in the country.”
“Bob is clearly pretty serious about that stuff,” said Ohio State coach Woody Hayes. “He asked me if we have any courses where he can learn why a chicken uses its beak to grasp food and propel it towards its esophagus. When I told him we didn’t, he crossed Ohio State off his list!”
“I won’t argue with that at all,” said Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian. “He told me the first time I talked to him that if Notre Dame didn’t teach its students how the bifurcation of the trachea effected the respiratory system of the chicken, he couldn’t consider us.”
“I spent an entire afternoon looking through our course catalogs to see if there were any lectures on just how prominent the mammalian basal nuclei is in a chicken,” said USC coach John McKay. “And when I couldn’t find any, I didn’t even try to recruit Bob.”
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