The Tuscaloosa Bearometer LOFF EDITION: Winning Through Extraordinary Circumstance

(Bear Bear Bryant by Robert Gobel III; BBQ Nachos by Big Bad Wolves; Smiling Saban by Someone Doing a Remote Task Correctly For the 100th Time)

AUDE ANTONIO LANGHAM SYNE Y’ALL

I hope everyone had a fabulous holidays! Mine was good! I mostly just ate cookies & avoided saying anything extreme about the upcoming Alabama Football Contest because I did not want to jinx us because every time your favorite gump friends posts some meme about how NICK SABAN IS THE GREATEST CHAMPION GUARANTEED PLAYOFF CHAMPIONS Tony Brown is .000001% closer to being sent home from Dallas

What is everyone’s plans for New Years? Ignoring everyone that comes over to your house & shushing people who attempt to ask you about how your Christmas was because it’s a pretty poignant 2nd & 8 in the first quarter? ME TOO

Yes, the College Football Playoff has taken one of the most stressful holidays of the year & made it EVEN MORE STRESSFUL by adding actual stakes to it! I stopped going out on New Years when I was like 24 because I am a grown-ass man & I’d rather just drink whiskey in my own home while hanging out with my grandmother because coordinating New Years Eve is the biggest pain in the ass on the planet when the easy solution is just to get yourself some nice alcohol & some nice food & get drunk with friends & stay up past your bedtime! I had it all figured out! No worrying about public transportation or driving home during Mario Kart 64 DEATH DASH! No paying exorbitant amounts of money to go hear DJ Go Fuck Yourself play the hottest traxxx of 2007 for about three seconds before playing a whole new hottest traxxxx for another three seconds! Yeah but bottle service tho

ANYWAY that has all been ruined because now I have to PLAN THINGS & make sure that I packed my lucky shirt (I did) & my lucky trackjacket (I did) & make it very clear that I am not throwing a New Years Eve party & nothing about this will be fun AT ALL because we are playing a team that is built a lot like ours with the equal amount of zero fun ever!

SEMI-FINAL PREDICTIONS

Yes here comes Michigan State & Saban-lite Crabby Man Mark Dantonio & worktrojanhorse-like mentality! They run the ball! They play hardnosed defense! They have a Senior White Quarterback (tm) which automatically turns a regular dude into a god-tier slinger who is getting looks at from NFL scouts! Amazing!

There is not a lot to say about Michigan State except no one believes in them! That has always been Michigan State’s identity: that no one gives them an identity so they craft an identity from being ignored. This makes all the sense in the world considering they play both Michigan & Ohio State every year who are probably the two biggest teams that give zero fucks about anyone except themselves & continually go “oh pish posh” whenever Michigan State shows up (& usually beats them more often than not). No one believes in Michigan State! Except for, you know, the College Football Playoff Committee that ranked them the 4th best team in the country & gave them an equal shot at winning a National Championship than the other three teams! The dorm rooms at Michigan State are made entirely of corkboard & every undergraduate is given a giant box of thumbtacks when they arrive so they can clip out articles in the newspaper where they believe that they have been disrespected so they can put it on their walls in order to MOTIVATE THEM. This movie reviewer gave Mockingjay Part II 3 stars. NO WAY IT WAS MY FAVORITE MOVIE THIS YEAR WHY ARE YOU DISRESPECTING MY TASTE IN FILM AO SCOTT

Have you ever tried to compliment a Michigan State fan about their football team? I had the pleasure of doing this at a Christmas party I was at! I was like “yeah that Connor Cook manages to come through when y’alls backs are against the wall” & he was like “yeah but no one talks about how good he is on first down.” THEY THINK YOU ARE DISRESPECTING THEM WHEN YOU SAY SOMETHING GOOD! Michigan State is like when you compliment someone’s shoes & they’re like “yeah my shoes are great but why didn’t you say anything about my socks?” I swear, I could be like “hey, East Lansing seems like a cool place to see a football game” & they’ll be like YEAH BUT NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT WEST LANSING

This is synonymous with Spartans in general — they’re always like “ooh, Sparta was so ahead of its time but everyone talked about the Romans & the Persians but look at how special Sparta is they had toilets & some semblance of a communist government ooh NO ONE RESPECTS LACONISM” like it is some magical city-state football team that channels bad long snaps when in actuality it is all SPARTAN MIRAGE & they are a team that blew a 21-point lead to Purdue & needed a last minute touchdown to escape Rutgers & Xerxes definitely got a bad rap.

Not to mention that Hitler was like ‘wow the Spartans had the right idea in limiting their population & having it only consist of the best & brightest’ & when ADOLPH HITLER thinks you’ve made some good points it’s most definitely not a good thing. Basically what I am saying is that rooting for Michigan State is like pulling for the Nazis.

I really don’t have anything against Michigan State (wait did I just call them Nazis) as they’re just always kind of around & are the lesser (lessest?) of the Big Ten evils. However, I can easily drum up some hatred for their basketball team because they are the least predictable team in the tourney every year. You’ll be all like “Michigan State, final four!” & then they’ll go lose to Lamar or some shit or you’ll be like “they’re gonna be bounced early! that’s a tough matchup against Belmont!” & they’ll stroll into the championship game. Y’all are the worst. Pick a side, you goobers. I can’t believe we’ve let you into a tournament that involves a bracket. Nick Saban is definitely not going to get Tom Izzo to take over the Alabama basketball now.

Sparta is easily the worst band to come out of the At The Drive-In breakup & I am still bitter about it. Much like Michigan State it is boring plodding self-righteous slog rock that someone will try to convince you that they’re actually underrated. The Mars Volta is Washington State where everyone tries to convince you that the complicated offense is actually a lot of fun but it’s just a whole bunch of complicated noise.

My parents’ ISP (shoutout to DSL) is based out of Sparta & we get like 0.4 MB upload speeds so I am especially salty about all things Spartan right about now

They invented the Spartan Race because apparently just straight up running isn’t bad ass enough anymore that we have to create obstacle courses for adults; be careful for the QUAD RIPPER

FINAL VERDICT BIG LOCK OF THE WEEK SPONSORED BY BIG LOTS

Bowl games are weird, man. We’ve now reached this weird part of college football that is synonymous with other sports which is the “hey it’s a championship game anything can happen!” except we get TWO games of this instead of ONE. Alabama does not like new things — we are not a huge fan of outliers or hurry up no huddle or any of that nonsense. If it was up to Saban all games would be held in a temperature controlled bubble with absolutely no spectators & zero reporting — college football would just be this weird model train like-hobby that he has in the basement that he wouldn’t even let his own children see.

That being said, it seems like our mentality going into this game is different than it was last year, as we got caught in the super sticky Sugar bowl (water & sugar mixing together is delicious but will kill you) thinking that we’d just fuck around & go to a National Title like the game was against some SEC East also-ran. We used to do this thing where we’d be like BUSINESS TRIP before a big away game & I’m hoping that has translated a little bit this go-round.

We’re in a classic Alabama game where we really don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re sure as hell hoping for the best — it’s the same butterflies you get before the first game in the season (& obviously there are parallels considering a BIG TEN opponent). Fortunately for us, we are playing a team that is very similar to ours — they rely more on their quarterback than we do, but we play well against teams that look like our doppelgänger.

The SUPER HYPE BAMA BRO FAN in me sees a lot of parallels between Michigan State & Notre Dame 2012 which has me feeling optimistic, but the REALIST OVERLY CAUTIOUS STRESS EATING BAMA BRO FAN that dominates most of my thoughts can see it turning into an Ole Miss 2014-like slog where the defenses cancel out each other’s offenses & we’re just praying we don’t make a mistake.

Michigan State will get their plays — especially those 3rd & 8s where Cook will make something happen & cause us all to go UGHHHHHHH which is something I’d be absolutely terrified of if it were last year’s team. But this year’s team, while we do give up that play, we don’t give up four or five of them in a row to sustain drives.

We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a miracle play from Santa Bert in that Ole Miss game, & I thank my lucky stars for that beautiful man every single day when I wake up. I want to send him all the Omaha Steaks in Omaha. The ghost of Arkansas is going to show up again in this game, though hopefully not in the “terrifying improbable play” (which would certainly go against us) but in the “tough first half before Reggie Ragland stomps you into a delicious grape juice that then goes through a heavy dose of the Derrick Henry fermentation process to create a palatable finish” way.

Here’s hoping we pop some bottles at midnight.

Alabama 27 — Michigan State 14

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