Enjoy your retirement, Roy

Is it possible Roy Kramer left us a little something to remember him by?

Kramer, whose reign as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, ended last year, will be remembered by most Crimson Tide followers as the only commissioner of the league who seemed to have a hatred of one of its charter members. Kramer, who grew up near Knoxville, could hardly hide his love of Tennessee. And what's bad for Alabama is good for Tennessee. Kramer's performance as commissioner should earn him a street named in his honor in Knoxville.

The conference games (eight of them) in the football schedules of SEC members are established by the conference office. SEC officials would have you believe that this scheduling is random, mere chance. Anyone familiar with the laws of statistics would scoff at such a ridiculous notion.

What are the odds of Tennessee "randomly" getting an open date each year prior to its two biggest games, Florida and Alabama? Alabama, on the other hand, always has an SEC opponent on its schedule prior to its two biggest games, Tennessee and Auburn.

Beginning last year, the SEC schedule had a new twist. Of Alabama's eight SEC opponents, Tennessee and Arkansas had open dates the week before Alabama; LSU and Mississippi State played Kentucky the week before Alabama; and Georgia, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt had open dates the week before Alabama that those teams chose to fill with weak opponents. Only Auburn of Bama's SEC opponents had a tough game­Georgia­the week before Alabama.

Apparently that wasn't unfair enough to Alabama. LSU and Mississippi State having to play Kentucky must have weakened the Tigers and Bulldogs too badly.

The conference office has remedied that oversight. This year LSU and Mississippi State have open dates before playing Alabama. So does Tennessee, of course. And SEC Champion Georgia, which had played mighty New Mexico State and then had to fight from behind in the final minutes to beat Bama last year, gets an open date from the SEC the week before playing Alabama this year.

Three other SEC opponents were provided with open dates before the Alabama game, but elected to put non-conference patsies in those openings­Murray State for Kentucky, North Texas for Arkansas, and Arkansas State for Mississippi.

Once again, only Auburn (which again plays Georgia the week before playing Alabama) has a conference game the week before facing the Tide.

Alabama's lone open date is November 1, the week before the Mississippi State game.

Alabama's 2003 Football Schedule:

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