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Sprints Is Taking a Lunch Break with Alabama, Florida and Rebel Land Shark // 10.01.10


Pat Dooley is afraid of porcelain dolls
And somehow this relates to whether Alabama is Florida's biggest rival right now. (No, I'm not going to even try to summarize the connection here. The link is there for those who want to see how he brings it all together.) Urban Meyer says not so:

When I was brought in here I was told there are three great rivalries. If you're asking me if that's a great football team and we've had some epic battles with them, yes. But we're not putting a board downstairs like we would with one of our rivals.

Ah, so they didn't prepare for Alabama like the Tide is a ri-- I'm sorry, John Brantley, what was that?

Alabama is such a great team that we have to prepare and work much harder that week. We treat them like a rival, definitely. We circled it on our calendars this year.

Hmm. I'm not even going to try to figure out the psychological strategy between two of the game's better motivational coaches in Meyer and Nick Saban. But I find it hard to believe that there's not a bit of rivalry after, as Dooley notes, each has ended the other's hopes of a national title once in the last two years.

Problems up front for Alabama?
outsidethesidelines thinks so.

The defensive line has struggled to control the point of attack, tackling has been an issue, and, by my off-hand count, we've generated all of about two stops on third-and-short situations. We're a solid 27th in the country in overall run defense, but having said that we're about 45th in the country in terms of rushing yards allowed per carry. In many ways, the biggest saving grace we've had to date is that we've faced some ineffective rushing attacks.

Well, that shouldn't change this week, as Alabama faces ... ah, yes. Well. In that case, it could be an issue.

Apparently, a team that lost to UCLA facing a team that almost lost to Utah State is more compelling
Florida-Alabama is "only" second on StubHub's price rankings at $340. For reason passing understanding, some people are willing to pay $455 to watch Oklahoma and Texas.

Nick Saban could have hired Urban Meyer in 1990
Saban was head coach at Toledo for one year (must...avoid...joke) and didn't follow wife Terry's advice about whether to hire the coach then at Illinois State.

"It’s really one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made," Saban said.

Not that either of them have had too much trouble because of the oversight.


The Ole Miss mascot search has finally reached the point of absurdity
Some might argue that we passed that point awhile ago, but the committee in charge of choosing the mascot lapped itself in describing why Rebel Stallion was discarded in the cut from five to three.

The committee also eliminated the Rebel Stallion concept due to the problematic logistics of having a live horse in the stadium or Grove. ...

"These facts would require a companion costumed horse mascot to be visible at the games, other sporting events like basketball games where horses are not allowed and at special events."

One can assume that this is also the reason that Rebel Lion was eliminated, but why does Rebel Black Bear remain? Personally, I'd much rather have horse in the stadium than a Black Bear or a Land Shark, for that matter. Not that I'm sure what a Land Shark is, much less a "Rebel" Land Shark -- but it sounds quite intimidating.

But, no, that wasn't the reason that Rebel Lion was eliminated.

The Rebel Lion was eliminated because, despite a positive response to the play on the word "Rebellion," the committee felt that there was not a strong enough Mississippi or Ole Miss connection, according to a statement from the committee.

So you left the Land Shark instead, with its well know ties to Oxford and Ole Miss. Whatever it is.

Hotty Toddy has mercifully been combined into one character.

However, it is important that the ultimate concept be proud and in no way silly, so we have taken more time than anticipated to make sure the concept shown is as strong as it can be.

There is no way that mascot resulting from this process will not be silly. First indication: The people creating the mascot used the word "silly" in an official press release. (HT: Veazey)

You will be stunned to know that Boise State's schedule only gets easier from here
Great look at Roll Bama Roll on the strength of schedule so far for the Top 25 teams in college football and what it could mean in the BCS. But let's look for a moment at a slightly different question: What does the remaining slate mean for the ranked SEC teams?

Alabama's hardest football by far is ahead of it; the future opponent rank is 34 places higher than the past. Florida's hardest football is behind it, believe it or not. Consider: Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Georgia still remain. (Sorry, Georgia fans; it's true.) Auburn's about even, LSU's gets a bit harder and South Carolina's also gets easier. Of course, easy and easier are relative terms here; all the remaining schedules are still in the Top 35.

Gamecocks probably losing key linebacker
Shaq Wilson is likely done for the season. Which is not the news you want a bit more than a week before facing Alabama.

"The hamstring is not normal," Johnson said.

No word on precisely what that means, other than it means that Wilson probably won't suit up again until 2011.

Les Miles has a 'scotoma'
Don't worry, it's not as painful as it sounds. At least, I think so, based on Miles' attempted description:

I don't see it. I can't reflect on it. It draws no feel. It's non-descriptive. You kidding me? You have to understand something. I saw Jack Lambert play (for Pittsburgh). He didn't have any teeth. He was tall and he was tough, and he made every tackle. He was from Kent, Ohio. And I want you to know something, I had great respect for him. Wow. And Jim Brown. I remember touching him, Jim Brown, No. 32 in a Browns uniform. Are you kidding me? I was from a middle-income home. So it was such a rare treat to be in a stadium of color and music and excitement that I elevated it well above anything that could be negative.

The Shreveport Times makes it a bit clearer what the heck Miles is talking about, but not much. I just thought that quote should be preserved for posterity in as many places as possible.

Why do this?
With Georgia's luck this season, why in the world would the AJC tempt fate by talking about one of the few consistent players on the team?

Secret Agent Men: UNC update
We'll do this pretty quickly, given the SEC news: John Blake's attorneys are confirming 'loans' from an agent and 'dear friend,' Butch Davis tries the Sgt. Schultz defense and the NCAA is back in Chapel Hill to discuss the academic fraud investigation.