“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances." — Aristotle
My wife was sitting in church Wednesday night when she experienced one of those “you know you’re in the South when…” kind of moments.
The preacher called for birthdays or anniversaries when an older gentleman stood up in the back and said,” I’d just like to note that today would have been Bear Bryant’s 100th birthday.
To which my wife responded, “Amen.”
You can take the girl out of Alabama, but…
But it seems the Southeastern Conference, from Alabama to, well, Auburn, appears to slipping into the black hole of turmoil lately. The same conference that produced the last six national championships in a row can’t seem to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time these days.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Alabama – Former offensive tackle D.J. Fluker – whose only problem prior to Wednesday was showing up at an NFL combine shirtless – was possibly the most prominent of five players implicated in a Yahoo! Sports report for allegedly accepting impermissible benefits. Remember when those exclamation point-laden folks were best known for Internet searches?
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban just wants to talk about the next game with Texas A&M – now touted as the fifth game of the century – and would rather not talk at all than answer another question about the Fluker case. Given the fire fueled from this controversy, I think I’d hate to be Texas A&M this weekend.
Arkansas – After last year’s debacle with now-Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino’s “affairs,” the Razorbacks might just be the most scandal free for once, and for now.
Auburn – The Tigers have a new head coach and are actually winning games. But the saying, “Get on the Gus bus,” speaks volumes and not in a good way.
Florida – Right now, the only scandal in the Swamp is Will Muschamp’s offense. Pitiful.
Georgia – Mark Richt is on the hot seat, then he’s off again, then he’s on again. With a loss to Clemson last week, Richt could whip up a tasty grilled cheese sandwich right on his backside. Could it finally be Richt’s final year with the Bulldogs? Time, along with the outcomes of a few more games, will tell the tale.
Kentucky – Here’s another team with a new coach, and already the Wildcats have a loss to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers? Really? When does basketball season begin again?
LSU – Poor Les Miles can’t seem to catch a break. Two years ago he defeats the Crimson Tide only to get blanked in the national championship by Alabama. Now, Miles is implicated in a scandal where players allegedly used drugs, accepted pay for good play and even skipped classes at Oklahoma State. Miles is so far removed from the Cowboys at this point, it’s doubtful the Tigers will suffer any fallout, unless bad habits die hard for the Mad Hatter.
Ole Miss – The “Mascot That Shall Not Be Called By Name” is riding high in the early season under Hugh Freeze and may actually cause scandal for another team this weekend. Texas folks should pull a Kentucky vs. Bill Curry and park a moving truck in front of Mack Brown’s house.
Mississippi State – Two Bulldogs are named in the Yahoo! Sports story. That’s tough for the squeaky clean Dan Mullen. This may just take a little shine off the Egg Bowl, which might be the only bowl Mississippi State is allowed to visit for a while.
Missouri – The Tigers will be without linebacker Andrew Wilson, who was ejected during last week’s matchup with Toledo for targeting. Shame, shame. The only thing worse, head coach Gary Pinkel’s middle name is Robin.
South Carolina – The Ole Ball Coach didn’t like what a columnist from The State newspaper was writing about him and asking him in press conferences, so he apparently went to the publisher and got the guy reassigned to another beat. This one is tough. I know Steve Spurrier is smart, but running a newspaper? That’s a lot on a coach’s plate.
Tennessee – Still another two Volunteers were named in the Yahoo! Sports story, and one of them – Mo Couch – still plays for the Big Orange. It may be the first time Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi State fans all pull for the same outcome.
Texas A&M – Johnny Manziel will sign anything for a buck. He likes to run his mouth and make gestures on the field. He doesn’t have time for what coaches have to say. But hey, he won the Heisman and has a cool nickname.
Vanderbilt – In possibly the biggest black eye on the SEC right now, four former Commodores were charged with rape and a fifth with helping to put together a cover-up. But the biggest scandal here is Vandy is getting the least amount of press even as the only team with an actual victim.
Don’t look now, but I think Bear Bryant just rolled over in his grave.