You might have gone to watch Nick Saban and Sandra Bullock in the new football movie "The Blind Side", or maybe you made up for the Holiday shopping you'll miss when Bama is playing Auburn on Black Friday next week. Maybe you were off in the woods for the first day of hunting (with guns) season. Regardless, there were plenty of better things to do Saturday than watch Alabama romp 45-0 over hapless Chattanooga.
Of all the Alabama football game I've seen covering the Alabama football team in one manner or another this was, well, one of them. Nothing more. There was no letdown. There were no noticeable injuries. Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram, and most of the first-teamers on offense sat out the second half altogether while Rolando McClain and the first-string defense played one play.
From the standpoint of the team's readiness to perform in its remaining games, those are good things. But that doesn't make them any less boring to sit and watch. Thank goodness for thrillers like Alabama-Tennessee and Alabama-LSU 2009 for getting the heart pumping during the actual games.
The truth is, a 12-game regular season is too much college football. It's a classic case of overexposure. (Think Britney Spears or Paris Hilton of a couple of years ago. According to a story on Forbes.com, "72% of the U.S. population would use the term 'overexposed' to describe Spears in 2007, as compared to only 54% five years earlier... most celebrities average between 3% and 7% during the peak of their careers.")
This is nothing against Alabama's game schedulers -- if Bama had scheduled a top-ten opponent for a game like this everyone would say they're crazy, and they'd be right. It's nothing against anyone except those who approved expanding the season in 2006: NCAA bean counters, corporate execs who run the networks and sell advertising, and the college presidents who went along with the money-making venture while espousing the virtues of amateurism and the focus on education for their "student-athletes".
But maybe all these nothing-better-to-do games in college football are bad for them in the long run, too. Don't these games violate the showbiz maxim to "always leave 'em wanting more."? For me, the answer is yes. By the time Roy Upchurch crashed his way through the Chatanooga defense with 4:00 to play many of my colleagues and I had Tide Touchdown Fatigue.
With a week off, Saban could have taken his wife to a premier of his own movie. That would have been worth a few clicks and views. If not that, then surely this week would have been better spent hyping the Auburn game. Wasn't it revealed this week that some Auburn players had been involved recently in some potential criminal activity? Now, that's juicy stuff; let's hear more!
We could have asked Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik to size up a possible BCS match-up game between Alabama and one of his old teams, Texas. That would have been fun. We could have asked each coach what effect Florida Coach Urban Meyer going to Notre Dame to replace Charlie Weis, hypothetically speaking of course, would have on the league next year. Who would want to miss that?
If Alabama losing to Louisiana-Monroe a couple of years ago was like 9/11, then today's game was like 11/9, or 7/11, or any other random date on the calendar that has no significance.
The powers that be in college football need to ditch the 12-game regular season. They should give the players a rest -- two weeks off during the season instead of just one. Sticking in a worthless game during the best time in college football seasons kills all the drama and dulls the buzz preceding a rivalry game like Alabama-Auburn.
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