From the Other Sideline – Alabama

Rick Muscles (@rickmuscles) is an Alabama fan and Ole Miss season ticket holder. He has written for Everyday Should Be Saturday, Friends of the Program, Roll Bama Roll, and has also done a few Other Sidelines for me (last season, summer). He also does a little podcast called Friends with Muscles (I was on it once or twice). In real life he’s a recovering alcoholic claims adjustor who loves to lift weights and see rock concerts.

1. How bad does Alabama have to play and how good does Auburn to play for the Tigers to win the Iron Bowl this Saturday?

Auburn has to play as well as it would feel to have Louis CK tell you jokes while Brooklyn Decker put her t—-s on your head and gave you a back rub. Bama will have to play worse than a haircut from Muhammad Ali.

Not saying miracles don’t happen but the Mayan apocalypse ain’t happening until next month.

2. Do you fear a slight letdown this week considering that Alabama fans don’t care about beating Auburn, instead only caring about winning championships?

I do fear a let down. Bama is coming off a big weekend despite playing Western Whichever ACC State. Everyone in town seems to be looking ahead to Miami. Not sure it will affect the game though.

You could flip this question and say, “Do you think Auburn players will go through the motions in their final game to close out a disastrous season?” just as easily. Pretty sure everyone in Auburn’s football operations office is looking forward to hitting the deer blind or at least kissing up to pro coaches at the Senior Bowl. Got to start lining up that next job, y’all. So Bama’s let down will probably lead to a bad game and not a Barn win.

3. How many goats and chickens does Saban sacrifice yearly to get second chance after second chance ?

Saban is a great coach, but the real reason he deserves the big bucks is the national esteem he carries. As Wright Thompson pointed out in a recent article, Les Miles and Saban roughly have the same career winning percentage. However, Saban is perceived as Julius Caesar and Miles is viewed as football’s Joe Biden. Saban’s perceived genius got Bama back in the championship last year and there’s a strong chance it’ll happen again. Bama is currently #2, but Florida has a slightly better strength of schedule. Without Saban, this does not happen for Bama. Mike Price and Coach Fran were never putting Bama in that position.

So to answer your question, I goat for every AP writer and a chicken for every blogger. This is why y’all’s next hire better be a slam dunk or you’ll end up in the Tennessee shame spiral. Pretty soon y’all will be cheering for some dumb ass in orange pants.

4. But seriously, which positional matchup do you see Auburn having an advantage?

Frankly it’s not pretty. Auburn’s defensive strength is probably the defensive line but Alabama has the best o line in the nation. They got Barrett Jones, y’all. So that doesn’t appear to be an advantage.

This year I’ve been trying to think of something worse than a dumpster fire to describe Auburn’s offense. So I don’t see how that can be an advantage against- statistically- the best defense in the SEC.

I do think y’all have been decent on special teams. Alabama has not been great this season. Maybe you can flip the field some and catch Bama off guard with a big return. Punt, Bama, Punt, right?

5. Are there any guys on the current Auburn roster that scare you?

Lemonier has had a solid season and his match up with Cyrus Kouandjio should be fun. If he hits McCarron so hard that the Jesus tatted on his chest cries then all bets are off.

Other than that, the only thing that makes me nervous is Auburn’s kick return game. Bama has been disorganized on special teams in the past and that could swing the game in the wrong direction. Auburn has returned kicks pretty well all year.

6. What do you think is wrong with Auburn this year?

Willie Martinez. No, just kidding. It’s of concern when you have the blue chip recruits and they don’t show up on Saturday. Keep wondering if the players have been coddled and indulged during the recruitment process and now that it’s time to work they’re nowhere to be found. The troubling thing about Chizik isn’t the record, it’s the private security firm that had to perform bed checks. A winning teams doesn’t have to be told to go to bed, they go to bed so they can beat that ass tomorrow. Get the feeling the inmates are running Auburn’s asylum. Maybe the private security firm should start calling the plays on offense.

7. With no opposable thumbs and a very flaccid trunk, how does Big Al pick up anything?

Seriously, with all the money Bama puts into the athletic department they could update Big Al. The Big Al costume was dated in 1987. Those guys who show up at birthday parties in third rate Batman costumes think Big Al looks cheap. However, I’m still creeped out by Aubie. His costume makes him look like a weird, skinny, redneck Tiger. If Tigers had Walmart he’d be strolling around the toy aisle bothering children and trying to find the department where they sell the all white off brand tennis shoes.

8. What’s your prediction/analysis of the game?

It’s not pretty. It seemed the Tigers packed it in around the 3rd quarter of the Mississippi State game. Since then, they just haven’t played hard all year. That’s sad because you look forward to Auburn being the bad guys of the SEC. If your team can handle the punishment from a traditional Auburn team then you’re pretty good. The effort just hasn’t been there for Auburn. Why would they play hard now? We know rivalries are more important to fans than players.

That said, it doesn’t look like y’all can pass the ball against an upper tier SEC school. So you know Saban will load up against the run. Not convinced you can score on Bama without a balanced offense. If you can’t score and Bama puts up 28 then it won’t be pretty. Bama will still score 21 even if you’re defense comes out on fire. God help you if VanGorder, his stache and the defense come out flat. I say Bama 31 to Auburn’s 10.

8. Where will Alabama end up this season? Auburn’s going hunting, in case you were wondering…

The A&M game woke everybody in Crimson up. Y’all had every right to rag Bama fans’ asses about that loss because we had become smug and flat. That game woke the team up. It looks like UGA will play Bama in Atlanta, depending on this game. UGA only has 1 loss but still seems erratic. The Tide will probably play a more complete game and beat the Dawgs in the 4th quarter. Which should punch a ticket to Miami against Notre Dame. On behalf of the South, the Tide will blow up on the Irish like a Marshall County meth fire. That leads to #16. (I count an extra championship just to be a dick.)

9. Should Auburn replace Chizik? If so, who do you seriously think they should go after? Who would strike fear in Alabama’s fans hearts for years to come?

Personally, I say no. He won a championship. He should be given 1 season to completely fall apart. Also, it seems y’all are too late in the game to get the best coach this year. This is the 1st time the state of Arkansas has ever had the jump on our state at anything. I’d give Chizik until next year’s Mississippi State game to turn it around. If they lose then it’s time to back a dump truck full of Yella Fella’s money and hire Bo Pelini or Jimbo Fisher. A real coach from a legit conference. I know who’d strike fear in my heart – hire the Cecil Newton as head coach, Cam as offensive coordinator and Joe Lee Dunn at DC for the laughs.

10. Lastly. if you have to get another tattoo, would it be a replica of AJ’s chest tat, “ROLL” and “TIDE” going down each calf, or full on back tat of Bear Bryant like that dude and why?

The Bear tat for sure. Mainly because it wouldn’t take away from the full western style gun belt I have tatted on my waist. It also says Bama Boy. Get at me Barn ladies.