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PETE’S PICKS: Some redeeming qualities from fans for Crimson Tide

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The Arkansas Razorbacks conclude their shortened, SEC Conference-only games when they host Alabama on Saturday.

While many fans have a strong hatred for the Crimson Tide, the thought of how many SEC fans cling to them as the tip of the arrow for the conference (especially during bowl season) made me wonder if there are any redeeming qualities to the consistent national championship contender.

So I began to ask around, and here are a few of the likes and dislikes of the SEC’s finest.

Head coach Nick Saban – Like

Competitive. Insatiable in his desire to win. Successful. Clean.

If you can say you have ever met or know someone who is MORE competitive than Nick Saban then you are completely unfamiliar with Alabama’s head coach.

It does not matter if his team is down 30 or up 70, his goal is perfection from his staff and his players on every single snap of the ball. Anything else would be unworthy of his kindness, and he is quick to let the guilty party know of their mistake.

He also has 161 wins and 23 losses with 12 bowl victories, 8 SEC West titles, 6 SEC championships, and 5 national champions as the head coach at Alabama. Read that again if you need validation he is not a proven winner.

As far as we can tell, he runs a clean program. More on that shortly.

Fans – Dislike

Upon initial submission of this week’s piece I was informed I cannot use the term “candyasses” in an article. I replied I sure would like to as its usage would completely summarize the majority of their pretentious, pompous, egotistical, self-centered…. Wait, I need to relax. We are all familiar with their fanbase.

Even some of their lower-tier columnists are appalled if a fan of another team cannot name which of their Crimson Tide offensive linemen will be the first selected in the upcoming NFL draft, yet when asked about their thoughts on an opposing head coach their response will be akin to “I have not given him any thought and am unfamiliar.”

No, not every person rocking the heavy slab serif circular text is a displeasure with which to socialize. Yet, as in most cases, the most vocal represent the majority, and, win or lose, Alabama’s loudest are those displaying the least class.

 “Whooooooa, Nellie” – Like

Who doesn’t love to hear Keith Jackson’s (not ours – the nation’s) beloved catch phrase followed by his ability to morph “the Crimson Tide of Alabama” into a one word phrase?

Their bevy of unrelated mascots – Dislike

What is it with the state of Alabama’s “two flagship” schools? Tigers, Crimson Tide, War Eagle, Elephants, Plainsmen, Red Elephants. Their inability to align themselves to a singular mascot is that of a six-year-old loading up her parents’ backseat with her entire collection of stuffed animals for a weekend visit to grandma’s. Somewhere in the halls of these schools a conversation has taken place similar to this:

“You can only pick one animal.”

“I cannot decide, Momma.” [Insert puppy dog eyes.]

“Okay, fine, sweetheart, you can take them all.”

Yes, I’ve read the stories behind each of these, and yes, I understand one is a chant; however, it’s just too much, although I must admit, it would be kind of cool if they someday started using a rat as an additional mascot to pay tribute to one of Nick Saban’s comments.

“Sweet Home Alabama” – Like

Okay, this has nothing to do with the Crimson Tide, but the opening guitar riff from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1974 hit is one for which very few can resist without at least a hipster head bob.

Roll Tide – Dislike

Do not get me wrong, there’s nothing totally wrong with the chant. It’s a tradition recognized by so many.

What irks most outside of the Yellowhammer State is how the fans of the top program in the nation somehow get a kick out of taking rolls of toilet tissue, gluing them to Tide detergent boxes, and either toting them around on a stick or even going as far to mount them as head gear.

You heard me right, head gear people.

I mean if a state ever wanted to separate itself from the stigma it is just a bunch of dog raising hillbillies, then toting around such and odd tribute to the very thing for which your state is known might require some more abstract thought. I have been to Alabama; they have bakeries there. Think about it.

Their hatred for Lane Kiffin – Like

Any organization who has public discourse regarding their disdain for current Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is not 100% bad.

Remember when Nick Saban gave Kiffin an earful in 2016 while the Tide held a 35-point lead over Western Kentucky with less than a minute to play in the game.

Over what?

A playcall from offensive coordinator Kiffin which did not sit well with Saban. When asked about the incident the head coach was quoted as saying, “There are no arguments. Those are called ass-chewings.”

Speaking of memories, do you recall the time the Alabama bus left Kiffin at the stadium following their national championship victory over Clemson? Do you remember when they left him again a year later in Atlanta?

If the latter was not bad enough, the program informed him the following week he would no longer be privy to travel with the Tide prior to that season’s national championship game.

Kiffin was about as welcome at Alabama as Mel Gibson would be at a Harvey Fierstein birthday party.

They don’t recruit and they never cheat – Dislike

Okay, that’s a falsehood on my behalf. They do recruit, and Saban is a relentless pro at it. My point is they do not have to.

Remember when a former Arkansas basketball coach said something along the lines of “We don’t recruit. We pick.” Yes, that. THAT all year long at Alabama.

Top players will sit the bench for multiple seasons at Bama when they could be an early starter at another D-I school. This is one reason why so many fans from across the nation despise what Saban has done in Tuscaloosa.

Despite some anonymous allegations and other rumblings regarding Apple Watches to players to monitor their health during the covid-19 quarantining, nothing comes to a prominent light of infractions during the Nick Saban era at Alabama.

None. Zero. Correct me if I have missed something.

 They make the SEC money – Like

Like a lot of conferences the SEC has revenue sharing.

Arkansas receives a full share even when Chad Morris had the responsibility to start every post-game press conference with “Little disappointed tonight. Things didn’t go the way we’d hoped.”

Guess who of the 14 conference teams most commonly brings in the majority of the SEC revenue for distribution purposes.

Before you go on a mad ‘Google’ hunt, know the difference between generated income for the school and revenue earned for conference dispersal.

Arkansas has not beaten Alabama since 2006 – Dislike

Remember Leigh Tiffin? If you were older than four and a Razorback fan in 2006 I can almost guarantee you do.

Arkansas defeated Alabama 24–23 in double-overtime.

I cannot recall ever feeling as much sympathy for the performance of an opposing player as I did for that young man on that day.  The Alabama kicker missed a 33-yard field goal in the first half, one from 30 in the fourth, and what would have been a victorious 37-yarder in the first overtime.

But that wasn’t the end of his day on that beautiful September Saturday.

Tiffin no doubt further provided himself lament when he missed an extra point wide right in the second overtime in Fayetteville. In only a matter of minutes,

Arkansas’s Jeremy Davis showed him proper technique in kicking the winning extra point following Mitch Mustain’s 11-yard touchdown pass on third down to tight end Ben Cleveland.

For clarity, while we have not beaten the Tide since 2006, there have been opportunities in close games. One heartbreaker (I believe) was in 2010 when No. 10 Arkansas had No. 1 Alabama down by 17 at the half.

However, during what would be a late fourth quarter drive by Alabama, two Arkansas defensive backs both had the same opportunity to intercept a Greg McElroy pass to seal the victory.

As only fate would allow the two backs crashed into one another, thus the ball fell haplessly to the ground.

One might ponder what would have happened to at least the Razorbacks program had the final score that day stayed in their favor.

Motorcycle ride for lunch anyone?

Honorable mentions:

Their hatred of Auburn – Like

Gulf Shores being called the Redneck Riviera – Dislike

They represent the SEC well – Like

The girl holding the “This is Our Conference” sign – Dislike

Their Affinity for Mullets – Undecided

There you have it. While I did not list anything specific regarding the game, its strategy, nor the countless other things to dislike about Alabama, you can see what the experts have to say on HitThatLine.com.

Also, listen to what Houston Nutt stated he would tell the team the night before facing #1 ranked Alabama when he visited with the fine hosts of The Morning Rush.

Arkansas keeps it close: Alabama 42, Arkansas 31.

Be certain to listen to the game Saturday at 11 a.m. at HitThatLine.com and on the air at ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home.

Quick SEC picks for Week 15

(Editor’s notes: Pete’s picks this week were to fill out a complete schedule so as to not be compared to the Big Ten as he was technically out of the competition with Andy Hodges before Halloween.)

Alabama at Arkansas: Tide by 11.
(9) Georgia at (25) Missouri: Bulldogs by 24.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt: Vols by 10.
LSU at (6) Florida: Gators by 17.
Auburn at Mississippi State: Tigers by 20.
Ole Miss at (5) Texas A&M: Aggies by 24.

Enjoy your Saturday no matter where you go or what you do.

Find me on ‘Twitter’: @PeterMorganWPS

Go HOGS!!!