All praise to the most high & by the most high I mean twinkle toes Da’Ron Payne, the most beautiful man I have ever seen. What a delight that was! I feel SO ALIVE. EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY. HERE COMES THE BOOM
The super Bammer angel that sits somewhere on the right side of the cortex of my brain (right next to, presumably, the part that says “sure Brian, you can have one more beer, everything will be Gucci!”) believed that something like this could happen—a Nick Saban team with more than a month of prep time, linebackers fully healed, a Clemson team that could be rendered pretty one-dimensional if there was some semblance of a pass rush, but that definitely existed in “most ideal scenario Bama brain,” & it came true! Of course, ideal Alabama is still very much entrenched in the “we are straight up killing these dudes oh whoops here’s a fumble oh whoops we have significantly less points than we should oh whoops they’ve put a drive together” before Smackdown! Here Comes The Payne built up his special AND alternate special Aki Man style & the game was over. Couple that with the Return of the Mack (who Tessitore kept calling MACK WILLIAMS before correcting himself on the third time like we didn’t notice, how dare you mess up Mack Wilson’s Instagram post, now he’ll have to write an even LONGER caption and use even MORE laugh cry faces) and OH MY GOD TOP OF THE WORLD
Our offense looked great in the way that Daboll will call plays where you’ll be like “straight out of the Pats playbook!” & then plays where you’re like “straight out of the 49ers default Tecmo Super Bowl playbook where the playaction takes 45 minutes to develop & there’s really nothing to do once Jalen has entered his post-hike animation” so you, know, THE FUN TIME USUAL
Throw in a Nick Saban Ass Chewing ™ & this is probably the most fun the Alabama fan base has had since the throttling of Notre Dame where Barrett Jones & AJ McCarron argued over whether or not there is room for a MAKI FRESH competitor in West Alabama during the Eddie Lacy spin cycle Kekua ghostbuster clinic. Yes, we’ve won a national championship in that time & countless incredible football games, but it’s not like winning is FUN or anything
Lowkey though, my favorite part was you felt as if Dabo KNEW that he had this game won. Every single ESPN camera shot of him during a pre-game is him just going blah blah blah blah now I’m just saying that the place in D.C. doesn’t even serve pizza, it’s a code, you see and everyone around him is just nodding & can’t get a word in edgewise. Little did he know that every single one of his words was being recorded & projected on one of those giant videoboards they have at business conferences. This game was over once Tony Brown’s mother stitched him a CUSTOM MADE SUIT. Let me tell you something—my mother is no seamstress but we have a Burlington Coat Factory near our house with a really nice soft-spoken Cuban tailor & on the occasions when I had something big coming up, you bet your ass my mother got that shit looking crisp because everyone was gonna learn today. You’re not going to get your inseam measured just to be AVERAGE.
Tony Brown singlehandedly made the entire Alabama fanbase be like “You know, that Hunter Renfrow, a hell of a football player. He’s a real gamer. I respect the hell out of him & I hope he does well. He plays the game the right way.” Because that is what happens when we get our comeuppance on a scrappy white player on the opposition (see also: Tebow, Timothy). Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Tony Brown is if the voices inside of Dre Kirkpatrick’s head forged into an actual person who ALSO had voices inside their head.
One time Simone Eli interviewed me while I was outside of the ABC store on McFarland Boulevard at 6am waiting to see if I could get a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle & it might’ve gone exactly like Tony’s interview because it was freezing & I had gotten like zero sleep & there were lots of other bourbon dorks in line who gave zero good quotables so it was a long morning for her too. Also she torched me in a Marines 5K once despite me taking 3 minutes off of my PR. Basically what I’m saying is that Simone Eli is a GODDAMN PROFESSIONAL & I like to imagine these two random intersections of our lives prepared her for the greatest player interview since the time Jake Coker sang the entirety of Tim McGraw’s Indian Outlaw on the JOX Roundtable.
Clemson got WORKED despite all of the typical Bama grumbles (fumble on the exchange to start the half, Clemson’s terrible kicker nailing two 40-yarders, a massive doink on our own kick, a surefire TD being underthrown) that would’ve broken the spirits of any of us (& did, for a brief period of time) if we were players, but it is a GODDAMN good thing that we are just some schlubs with weak hearts and our parents did not name us after a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.
GAME DAY SNACK OF THE WEEK
I’m one of those people who likes chocolate but doesn’t, like LOVE chocolate. I mean, chocolate is dope, but I’m definitely not one of those “Ah yes, please give me the raw cacao 45% chocolate,” because I’m not a monster & I am not a snob. Give me dat milk chocolate that is 100% sugar. I lived in Belgium for a year! Belgium has some BOMB chocolate. My favorite chocolate from there is called Cote D’Or, which is the equivalent of Hershey’s—it is fucking GREAT & the smartest thing they ever did was have super exclusive & fancy packaging options so it looked like you totally splurged at some fancy chocolate shop but in all seriousness you just went to the NACHTWINKEL which had a bunch of shady tobacco & odd flavors of Fanta & were like “here you go, random family member!” You can get this stuff at FRESH MARKET in Tuscaloosa & I am always tempted, but it’s like $7 & it’s just the principle of the thing, man. Anyway, it also has an elephant on the wrapper ROLL TIDE. The best chocolate I had in Belgium was at a place in Brugge across from a random church with a Michelangelo statue of Madonna and Child, but, like, VACANT JESUS STARE child & not sad ass Pietas Madonna and Child. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
I was at home in New Jersey for the holidays! Brownies are great any day of the week, but they are especially MAGICAL around Christmas time! Sometimes you get those little crunchy sprinkles on top & they really take it to the next level. There’s this grocery store in New Jersey called KINGS! (happy Reyes btw to all of my Iberian/Latinx germans i germanes may the worst person in your family get the bean) & everything in there is SUPER FANCY and SUPER EXPENSIVE. I swear, a pack of gum will set you back like $6. Anyway, their bakery is ELITE and they have some really spectacular brownies that I got during the Michigan State game which seems so long ago! & so I got them again for Washington which also seems SO LONG AGO & I’m not one to buck a trend/move away from something when it works (cough daboll cough) so BROWNIES AGAIN. It is easily the most delicious of all of the Crimson Tide traditions—I highly recommend choosing a good luck charm that is fudgy.
This year I’ve tried to convince myself that nothing that I do has any effect on the game whatsoever; in the past I’ve been HERE’S MY LUCKY SHIRT I MUST WEAR but now I am very chill. Wow! So chill! A good teaching story is I teach HUCKLEBERRY FINN & that book is all about superstition! So I ask my students about their football superstitions & they’re all like IF I DON’T LOCK GRANDMA IN THE BATHROOM WE LOSE & then I turn to a starting linebacker & am like “is this true” & they are like “oh most definitely” because even when you are practicing driving people into the ground 800 hours a week you still got time for GOOD JOKES
Pot brownies suck btw. Way to ruin a perfectly good brownie. Anyone who is like “wow this edible is actually REALLY GOOD” is just pretending. It is the equivalent of “try this vegan cupcake it is better than a cupcake made with butter!” but no one wants to admit it. KEEP BAKED GOODS DRUG FREE. I haven’t smoked weed since I was in a Dearing Place basement while Blake Sims was still a utility running back, so maybe they’ve made some advancement in THC culinary techniques since then but ya boy doubts it.
For the third straight year it is time to get NERVOUS TURNT on a Monday! Look! It’s our dear friend Kirby Smart! I kinda miss that guy & his weird thing he’d do where he’d put his fingers in his mouth and smile real big to, I don’t know, signal to Landon Collins to go kill some slot receiver. He was a dweeb, but he was OUR dweeb, you know? Now he’s just a dweeb. I imagine Kirby Smart looks exactly like Alex Jones with his shirt off. Not that I imagine these things on the reg, but you don’t need to know how I feel about former Saban assistant’s dadbods. (Kiffin: Kylo Ren; Dooley: A mythical tree that drips blood; McElwain: A baby shark; Dantonio: Surprisingly ripped like when Daniels takes his shirt off in The Wire; Jimbo: a chicharrón; Muschamp: Anger from the Pixar Original Film Inside Out)
don’t be scared because I’m your body tyyyyyyyypeee
I have a theory about Georgia which is the fact that they are the kings of “Almost”—they ALMOST get it right—even when they lost to Auburn it was like “Oh here’s Georgia mucking things up again SO CLOSE DAWGS” but obviously they just got caught up in the Jordan-Hare Devil Magic that we know a little bit about (Gus Malzahn is .500 in games away from Lee County! This is a fact that I have told many many people!) & rebounded nicely to work the Tigers in Atlanta & do us a major solid by eradicating Baker Mayfield from ever being talked about again & dooming him to going 6-10 with the Jets.
In the past, Georgia has had an odd complex—Mark Richt Georgia didn’t want to “be” Alabama in the sense of matching our success — it’s more so that they couldn’t believe that they’re NOT Alabama: they are the ones who should have the storied legacy, that somehow, some way we were the ones that stole the identity that should be synonymous with Georgia football & replaced it with a clone that works 75% of the time and exists to make the good people of Roswell and Smyrna to remember to keep their pinot chilled so that they can take their heart medication. Why should their fucked up backwards neighbors have all of the fun? They’re the ones who got the REAL OLYMPICS while we get something called THE WORLD GAMES. They got Delta. We got a renovated airport that has five people working at it & killed a poor child. They got The Masters & we got something called “The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail” which is just a bunch of mediocre golf courses put close together. They have Savannah, we have Eufaula. They have Dusty Rhodes. We have Sparkplug Bob Holly.
Hiring Kirby Smart was a come to Jesus moment for Georgia—they admitted, for once, that they wanted to BE Alabama. Not only that, but they feel ENTITLED to be better than Alabama—that if you can build a college football dynasty in our beautiful godforsaken state, you sure as shit can build an infinitely better one in a state that has infinitely more luxuries. Hiring Kirby Smart was admitting that Alabama was better than Georgia in something—it was the first step in recovery. Beating us would be the first step in returning things to their self-believed status quo.
Fortunately, most Georgia fans suffer from crippling self-doubt & inevitable dread, so we’ve been spared their wrath. But it’s hard to forget the smugness in which we walked into that Blackout game. Or when we had just lost to Ole Miss & had to go play in Athens in the middle of a deluge. If Georgia wins this game, be prepared to be barked at by ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS.
Georgia fans are kids who grew up repping EAST ATLANTA HO even though they’ve never actually been to anywhere in Atlanta except Turner Field and The Vortex. They most definitely say the N-word when rapping along to Migos but voted for Donald Trump because “they just wanted a change, man” and say things like “Oh, I’m not a Republican” because they’d rather just trash everyone & everything because caring about things isn’t cool & might accidentally expose their feelings. But hey, Future sounds really good when pre-gaming for your Old South mixer.
All of the Atlanta United fans are going to become Nashville FC fans.
R.E.M. just isn’t very good.
On our final Mellow Mushroom experience before it closed in Tuscaloosa, my cool wife & I had a server that was so stoned that he took our order, forgot that he had taken our order & had an extensive conversation with us, delivered us the wrong pizza, disappeared, the manager asked him if he was okay, a group of sorority girls had a meltdown next to us because they had been there longer than we had, we got charged 53 dollars for a medium pizza & they had no idea how to fix it, I was double charged, and had to go back TWO TIMES to get it fixed.
Chipper Jones still sucks.
I’m still kind of mad about Mo Smith. It’s the biggest Alabama to Georgia defection since Gucci Mane. (WE GOT BUBBA SPARXX THO)
Mikey Henderson caught that fade route right in front of me, ruining a perfectly good John Parker Wilson dumb ass scramble TD.
Chick-Fil-A is sugar chicken trash.
Nick Chubb still hasn’t graduated. HOW MANY CREDIT HOURS CAN ONE MAN HAVE
Hershel Walker and Waffle House are properly rated. (I draw the line somewhere.)
In our hope of hopes this will be the game that will turn Jake Fromm into the next in a storied line of human country club quarterbacks who Georgia fans love & then bury in a ditch behind a TacoMac the second they have one of those 10-24 for 86 yards & an INT games.
I have faith that the defense will do its part—despite the massive numbers Georgia put up against Oklahoma, the running game was more based on homerun hits rather than consistent churning drives, which Alabama will hopefully prevent. On offense, we need to do the reverse of what we did to Clemson—avoid going outside & pound the middle of the field (& for the love of god, no more bouncing Bo to the outside plays). Despite that grind of a fourth quarter, our offensive gameplan was pretty ideal against Clemson—here’s hoping we just take that one & invert it to attack the middle instead of the outside.
After all of the trials & tribulations of this season, with the millions of injured linebackers & some way more than necessary Jalen hate, here we are, on the precipice of winning our 17th National Championship. This is a special, special thing that we are witnessing. The rest of college football can’t tell us nothing, but if we pull this off on Monday, that greatest of all time debate gets easier & easier to make. This team, for all of its growing pains, has become one of my favorites—a season that will look absolutely incredible in retrospect if we get his win. I hope to be dancing on University Boulevard come Monday night. See you in the streets.
Alabama 31-Georgia 20