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Hartselle Enquirer

Let’s talk a little football

There is nothing political on this Halloween Sunday night I can write that will convey any information about Tuesday’s election that most of you don’t already know, make the prospects for any candidate any clearer, or make the possibilities less scary…so let’s talk a little football.
For the first time, at least in modern gridiron history, the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide have the opportunity to start playing for a National Championship… not when they meet in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 26… but next Saturday, the first week in November…in Baton Rouge and Auburn.
The new Bowl Championship Series compilation of polls now ranks undefeated Auburn No. 2 (behind Oregon) and Alabama (with one loss) at No. 6 in the national BCS standings. In between are No. 3, TCU, No. 4 Boise State and No. 5, Utah. If either Auburn or Alabama runs the table most sports pundits I have heard believe that team will play for the National Championship.
For Auburn that means wining over Chattanooga in Auburn next Saturday, over Georgia Nov. 13 on the Plains, over Alabama in Tuscaloosa Nov. 26 and capturing the SEC championship in Atlanta on Dec. 4, probably against South Carolina.
Alabama must defeat LSU on the road Saturday, Mississippi State at home Nov. 13, Georgia State at home Nov. 18, Auburn in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 26 and winning the SEC championship in Atlanta the following week. The pundits believe that Crimson Tide will make the championship game even with one loss over the likes of Boise State, TCU and Utah, even if those teams remain undefeated. November will be a heady month of football in Alabama for us all.
And if that isn’t enough, toss in the Heisman Trophy watch recognizing college football’s best player, won last year by Alabama’s Mark Ingram. This year sensational Auburn junior quarterback Cam Newton is currently the odds-on favorite to win the award, which is named for former Auburn coach John Heisman. Newton would become the third Auburn player to win the Heisman, joining Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson.
Heisman played football at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. He coached at Clemson and Georgia Tech in addition to Auburn. The award, a cast bronze statue that is 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) tall and 25 pounds heavy is presented in early December before postseason games.
Although not a grad of either school I tend to favor the Tigers unless Alabama could clinch a national championship. That’s mainly because Nancy and I have paid a considerable number of dollars to Auburn for the education of two of our four children.  So, if it gets down to an either-or situation Nov. 26th in T-Town I will be wearing orange and blue.
My outlook with regard to SEC sports has generally been of an ecumenical nature. It is best, I believe, for all SEC teams to perform at their best against outside opposition in order to boost the teams which eventually rise to the top and are competing in the national polls. I can’t recall ever pulling for an SEC team to lose to an outsider.
Both schools have storied football histories, but Alabama’s is perhaps the most significant of Southern colleges and universities. It started with the 1926 Rose Bowl against Washington.
The game was considered by many to be the worst mismatch in the history of the Rose Bowl. Alabama had a good enough record-nine straight wins-but football experts in the ‘20s didn’t think highly of southern football.
Dartmouth, the undefeated national champion, had been the first choice of the Rose Bowl committee for the 1926 game. But the Dartmouth players rejected the bid. Two weeks earlier Les Henry, the Rose Bowl committee chairman, had received a telegram, ostensibly from Alabama Governor W. W. Brandon, stating that, “If you are interested in a real opponent for your West Coast football team, then give Alabama serious consideration.”
Champ Pickens, the student manager of Alabama’s 1896 team, had actually sent the telegram with the governor’s blessing. “Alabama,” read Henry’s reply to the governor’s mansion, “will be given the utmost consideration.”
As it turned out Alabama was invited and won-defeating Washington 20-19 in what many call the most thrilling Rose Bowl game ever played-and no one ever again looked down on southern football. Southern teams played in 13 of the next 20 Rose Bowl games.
The Crimson Tide played in five of those 13, compiling an overall Rose Bowl record of 4-1-1.

Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. Email him at: bob@montgomeryindependent.com

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