Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories.....

When I was a child, we lived in a small three bedroom brick house in a rural area. The house had a one-car garage on its end with a overhead door on the front side and a 3070 door on the back side. In those days, everyone on my mom's side of the family got together to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One Thanksgiving, my great-grandmother and grandfather came to our house the night before Thanksgiving and spent the night with us. Even then, they had already began to show their old age. My grandmother was a big believer in "fresh" foods. Every time that we ever ate lunch with her, we had fresh vegetables from her garden, fresh chicken from her backyard, fresh rabbit out of the pen, or anything else. It was always fresh.

On this Thanksgiving eve, she and granddad showed up at our house with a fresh turkey. So fresh that it was still alive. They drove about 75 miles with that turkey in the car with them. When they arrived at our house, the turkey was put in our garage. The garage was used more for storage of our junk instead of our cars.

On Thanksgiving Day, my grandmother was going to kill this turkey and prepare it for our meal. I will never forget hearing all of the noise bright and early that morning. I got out of bed to go see what was wrong, and found everyone in my family gathered at our back sliding glass doors. When I got close enough to see what everyone was staring at, a permanent picture was etched into my mind: my old grandmother, with her hair balled on top of her head (it was against her religion to cut it) had a hatchet in one hand and was shaking the fist of her other hand, as she was chasing that turkey across our back yard. I do not know if it broke free of her grasp as she was trying to kill it, or if maybe she opened the 3070 door to take a look at it and it bolted out of the door. How it occurred has slipped my memory, but I will never forget that picture. If I get a chance, I will check with my parents and see if they can remind me of how it happened and follow up with another post.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bad Football Weekend For Me.....

The football season is coming to an end and although my team is nothing fancy right now, I hate to see it go. I get all worked up every summer while waiting for that first kickoff. Then, like the last day of a long vacation, I get a little down when it ends.

My old high school team was eliminated from the second round of the playoffs Friday night. They lost a lot of last year's talent to graduation, but still managed to have a good season. They were not expected to make it to the State Championship game again, but they were expected to make it beyond the second round.

Friday night, they were beaten by a less talented team that walked onto the field prepared to play. We shanked our only field goal attempt, and never made it to the end zone. The final score was UMS-Wright 3, Eufaula 0. The field goal for UMS was setup by a blocked punt. If you are into defense, and I am, this was a defensive battle. Eufaula, although more talented, was not ready for this game. Congratulations to UMS-Wright for back to back shockers. They knocked off the #2 team last week.

The same was true for the Crimson Tide yesterday. They walked onto the field unprepared and was beaten by a school that played a good game. Anybody can beat anybody on any Saturday. Alabama has lost three in a row and now face Auburn - the in-state rival.

Auburn has had Alabama's number the last 5 years, and if Alabama does not find some offense, will have it again this year. This one is for the bragging rights. This one gets you through the winter, spring, and summer, and gives you something to talk about at the start of next season. This one has wrecked marriages, caused brothers to shoot brothers, and helped fans to become more obnoxious.

Saban, if you are reading this, please get the boys ready. I am tired of hearing my brother, wife, and kids talk about how Auburn and everybody else can beat Alabama. I know that the Tide will turn the corner in a couple of seasons and be a consistently ranked team again. But, I really need this win against Auburn to help me through until then.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This Week's Games

Other than a couple good SEC matchups, and Cal-USC in the PAC-10, there doesn't seem to be many "good" games this weekend. The top 5 looks like it may be safe, unless Illinois upsets Ohio State.

My first game of the day will be Alabama-Miss. State, while also flipping over to keep up with Arkansas-Tennessee. At 2:30 cst, my wife and I will watch her Auburn team battle Georgia, while also keeping up with Texas Tech-Texas and Illinois-Ohio State.

The night games that I will watch will be Florida-South Carolina, while flipping over to catch Cal-USC at the same time.

By 11pm, I will be full of cheese dip and cross-eyed from a typical Saturday of watching a half-dozen football games and flipping channels - unless one of the kids loses the remote. In that case, I will be in jail.

Here are my weekend picks:

Michigan at Wisconsin......take Wisconsin +3.

Illinois at Ohio State......Ohio State wins, but closer than expected...take Illinois +15.5

Auburn at Georgia......Auburn is a very good road team and always finishes the season strong....take Auburn +2

California at USC.....I really feel that this is a toss up, and home field advantage does not exist. I am going with the coach....take USC -4.

I Was Ready, But Bama Was Not.

Alabama's loss to LSU Saturday was a heartbreaker. It was a game in which virtually no one thought Alabama had a chance to win. With both teams coming off a bye week, I felt that one of two things would happen: LSU would play sloppy and Alabama would sneak out with a 3-point win, or Alabama would play sloppy and LSU would win big, and as expected in a #3 versus #17 battle. I was wrong in both cases.

Both teams played poorly, and Alabama capitalized on LSU's mistakes and overcame a 17-3 first quarter deficit to almost win the game. In the end, however, it was Alabama's biggest mistake of the game that drove the final nail into the coffin. A mistake that we have seen so many times in the past.

Moral victories are worthless, but if you are an Alabama fan, you still have get excited when you look into the future. Alabama had very few penalties, forced a passing game to work when the running game was not there, and played good defense from the second quarter to the last 3 minutes of the fourth. Alabama did not pressure the quarterback in the first quarter, nor in LSU's last full field drive which led to the touchdown pass that tied the game with about 3 minutes remaing.

After having success forcing turnovers in the second quarter by pressuring the quarterback, and keeping him under control throughout the third and fourth quarters, it is hard to understand why you only rush three in the end. You see alot of teams do it, but this is yet another case of "prevent defense" preventing a win.

Still, the future is where Alabama's success lies, although they are improving much quicker than I thought they would, I have to remember that the best is yet to come.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm Ready

I have read every article I can find related to the Alabama-LSU game. I surfed the web looking for all of the articles. I even googled the Baton Rouge newspaper to see what kind of stuff they were printing about the game, or at least about Nick Saban.

I have flipped through all of the channels on cable trying to catch all of the Alabama-LSU or Saban-Miles news conferences. I watched a replay of the Alabama-Tennessee game of two weeks ago just to get that feeling again.

I have mowed the grass and raked the leaves already for the weekend. I am getting my haircut, which is another Saturday chore, tomorrow. I have some firewood on the back porch just in case a cold front moves in this weekend. My weekend getup -- a pair of old shorts and an older T-shirt -- are ironed and ready to go. The refrigerator is stocked with food and tea.

Now, I need the game to go my way.