Archived Story

Can we just skip to football season already?

Published 10:33am Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From an Alabama fan’s perspective as far as months go, last month was one. At least, that’s the nicest thing I can say about the last four weeks.
It saw an unbelievable loss to our arch rival in the most unfathomable way imaginable, unfounded coaching rumors – which dent your recruiting efforts – and a more than a couple of lost commitments. These last 30 days almost make you forget the six-year period of dominance enjoyed by the football program.
Thankfully basketball is right around the corner and Coach Anthony Grant’s squad can’t be any … worse … than … wait …
Dang it.
This Tide hoops season is over before Christmas again. At 5-6, does any Alabama fan out there have any hopes of making the most moderate of ripples in the vast NCAA ocean? I didn’t think so.
It’s one thing for Grant and company to waste two hours of our time on game days when the football team is playing for another national title. The ‘Bama brethren are a more forgiving bunch toward basketball mediocrity while Saban is hoisting crystal trophies.
But now that Alabama will be playing four days before the BCS game, Grant better start producing results faster than Chris Davis can return a missed field goal.
It’s all a moot point anyway. Haven’t we seen enough of Grant’s abilities to know the fit between him and the school is not ideal? What good is playing a tough schedule if you never beat anyone on it?
I wanted Grant to be the guy. I truly did. Five years in, though, I am having a hard time understanding why he isn’t forced to give three-quarters of his $2 million contract to Nick Saban out of principle.
Meanwhile, a perfectly good experienced coach works his way through the speaking circuit while practically begging for another shot.
Bruce Pearl may have had an NCAA run-in a couple of years ago, but there is no doubting his elite skills.
Pearl spoke to a tip-off club in Birmingham last week and had fans from Alabama (and Auburn, for that matter – their situation isn’t any better) wondering how to get him in their coach’s slot.
My bet is Pearl never gets a shot at either state school, though. His NCAA transgressions, no matter how slight, will probably scare the gridiron-centric schools from taking a chance.
The company lines will be, “If we give the NCAA a reason to look at us for hoops, they MAY snoop around the football buildings, too.” No matter how clean you think either university is, neither location would want to give its governing body an excuse to pay it a visit.
So Alabama basketball is in hoops purgatory with a coach not bad enough to fire immediately but not good enough to ever do anything spectacular. Meanwhile, the product on the court is predictable and boring which leads to less than enthusiastic crowds in the seats (And I am using the term ‘crowds’ loosely; more people showed up at the “free enema day” at the hospital than they did for ‘Bama versus Xavier).
The only way I see Alabama making a change at this point is if the wheels fall completely off this season.
The problem is that the SEC is below average again this year, which means even this Tide team should secure 8-10 league wins.
Fantastic.  Another March malaise for the hoops squad. Spring practice can’t get here soon enough.
Robinson is a sports columnist for The Outlook.