99 Days Until Kickoff/99 Luftballons/99 Things I Am Looking Forward To This Alabama Football Season

99 First off all, it’s Alabama.

98 That first Friday before the first home game where all of the tiny tents are being set up on the quad

97 Gus Johnson getting unreasonably fired up over a Texas gain of 8 on the first drive of the game before having relatively tempered (for him) dialogue as Alabama rattles off 28 unanswered

96 A very dangerous first game of the season 6:30 kick-off catching unseasoned drinkers and freshmen pledges by surprise by around 4:45 Central & watching kids being carried up the spiral ramp

95 That first Yellowhammer that doesn’t have the right ice to drink ratio but who cares we balling

94 Having Dave Neal at some point during the Utah State game have to say the phrase “Coming off a win in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl”

93 The comically loud off-sync BEAT AUBURN coming through the speakers during Dixieland Delight

92 Someone trying to shoehorn Texas A&M into said Dixieland Delight the week before the game & everyone getting mad about it online

91 The post-game handshake between Jimbo & Saban that will be analyzed more than the Zapruder film

90 A week of speculation before the Auburn game to see if Bryan Harsin is going to be fired before or after the game

89 Our first Red Zone false start

88 Lane’s cutesy being super nice to Alabama before the game on Twitter

87 Lane then pretending to be “super serious Kobe mode” before the game instead of the whole popcorn ordeal last year & then still losing by 24

86 A WR doing a crane kick & us all getting PTSD

85 Utah State scoring 17 on us & everyone being very upset at Taco Bell enthusiast Pete Golding

84 Everyone telling us to be worried about Arkansas but us being like “it’s Arkansas” & then it turning out to be Arkansas

83 That first Auburn loss

82 Those moments on the Internet where someone tries to give a player on another team an ounce of credit & all of the Bama fans lose their shit

81 A former player tweeting “no tweets, just action” before a game where he might get targeted 4 times

80 That 10th Cam Latu Touchdown

79 The comments on Austin Peay’s minor league baseball-ass looking logo

78 That second Auburn loss

77 Jimmy Johns and 9/11 references during the ULM game

76 The inevitable comedown that will happen after the obliteration of TAMU and then having to go to the Garbage Truck Workers’ Convention

75 On the positive side, the Garbage Truck Worker’s Convention video will be shared far and wide once again

74 Someone on the quad giving you a sip of something from a flask and you being like “what is it” & they purposely don’t answer you & it is some of the worst whiskey you’ve ever had in your life

73 Breakfast brisket at Druid City before a 2:30 kick

72 Gently locking the door behind me in the English Building so I can use my one perk that I have by being a faculty member here at the capstone, which is using the bathroom and getting more mixers from the vending machine

71 Bill O’Brien making Bryce go under center during an important goal line play and me having a heart attack because that dude is so small but also being very impressed with his squat depth

70 Brian Kelly throwing whomever his weird revolving bayou quarterback underneath the bus during a halftime interview after scoring 3 points at home

69 Senator elect Katie Britt & the Tubs making a post about a “friendly wager” over the game to see whose lodge is going to be renovated by the Alabama general fund (these are public spaces, of course, anyone can make a reservation, oh whoops it looks like it’s booked through 2032)

68 Seeing my students who have been busting their ass get some time to shine after being patient

67 The sweet sounds of the ultimate stadium anthem, Flo Rida’s “My House”

66 That third Auburn loss

65 Saying unironically “Slade would’ve caught that”

64 Attempting to make BBQ nachos at home because the Houndstooth sells food now so Big Bad Wolves is a wolfpack without a home, and honestly, coming pretty damn close

63 Watching To’oto’o diagnose every single play almost immediately and get zero credit for it

62 Enjoying the “why do we have a starting wide receiver back fielding kicks” experience

61 Thinking about buying a nice cigar for Tennessee but then choosing to purchase one from one of the four gas stations that is really close to my house

60 That moment where you are walking from the Quad into the stadium with your last drink & you are chugging it while you walk and then you realize that you are almost 40 years old and you have nothing left to prove so you just dump out the rest in the gravel parking lot on the west side of the stadium

59 The t-shirt vendors selling screenprinted beefy Ts of whatever the newest cultural grievance is

58 The offensive linemen’s NIL deals with restaurants that serve literal buckets of food

57 That first Georgia loss (which will either be to South Carolina or to us in the SEC Title game with zero in between)

56 The Million Dollar Band finally learning the Terminator theme to accompany any time Will Anderson does anything (e.g. every play/it’ll be like Boomer Soomer up in here)

55 Will Reichard inexplicably missing his first field goal of the year & everyone having a meltdown

54 The Jalen Milroe/Ty Simpson quarterback battle that will somehow get really weird and use some very not so coded language

53 That fourth Auburn loss

52 A friend being like “oh I think I’m coming down for the Mississippi State game” & then you forget about it & the next thing you know you run into them in the scrum that is leaving the game

51 The refreshing bathwater temperature of the sweet hydration from the Watermonster

50 Eating a corndog and thinking to yourself “wow these are really good, why don’t I eat them more often” and then having heartburn and going “oh, yeah”

49 The return to the Jake Coker offense where you run the ball 40 times a game and then just uncork verticals every 9th or 10th snap

48 Those old timey Bama fans who say ridiculous things like “Kendrick Law is fast but the fastest guy I ever saw was Norbie Ronsonet

47 Those moments where you’re like “oh it isn’t that far of a walk” and then it turns out to be the furthest walk you’ve ever gone in your life

46 Watching Gibbs run for 4 to 6 yards for about 9 plays before BO’B goes “this will make em think!” & throws three straight out routes

45 Jaylen Moody getting a pick-six after averaging one per A-Day

44 My man on the corner across from Publix who sells tickets for pretty cheap and always gives me a bottle of water when I am on my Friday morning long run

43 Peeing next to an old man at Bryant-Denny Stadium who does that old man one hand against the wall lean-back and sigh pee

42 In our tightest game of the season after a momentum shifting touchdown kicking the ball out of bounds and giving the other team great field position

41 Forgetting that our other SEC home game is Vanderbilt, even during Vanderbilt week

40 That fifth Auburn loss

39 Trying to decipher all of the weird emojis that 19-year-old student athletes use on Instagram comments after they post their high gloss action photos on Sunday morning

38 Purchasing a frozen pizza because no places deliver within three hours during a home game and if you stay ready you don’t gotta get ready

37 Either wearing a giant puffy Starter jacket I got as a joke for the Iron Bowl because it is 28 and rainy or wearing a Nike Dri-Fit because it is 78 and rainy

36 Inflating my 9 foot Big Al for the first time in a long time just because it is truly a ridiculous spectacle and sometimes you need a photo op

35 The folks who give you tickets getting you a hot dog that you would never buy on your own but then you eat the hot dog and you are like “wow I really needed that hot dog”

34 Being able to say “It’s in Tennessee” to everyone who says “where is Austin Peay located anyway?”

33 Getting irritated at being told what to do when the lights go down and we are expected to do the cell phone flashlight thing instead of just letting everyone vibe at the giant rave

32 Continuous celebrating of it being one year until the ten year anniversary of the Kick Six

31 Brad Nessler saying “Brad Nessler”

30 Getting upset that we have to go through the Arkansas/TAMU/Tennessee gauntlet before having to play Mississippi State at home, the ultimate “sim to end” game every single year

29 Watching Mike Leach do the same thing he always does even Pete Golding is an Air Raid defending savant

28 Every single one of Saban’s assistants being asked to say something about Saban and them throwing slightly more shade at him than in past years

27 The entire crowd going “Ouuuuuuuzts” whenever he catches a pass because who doesn’t love a white tight-end who occasionally lines up at H-Back

26 That first play you can tell is a touchdown the second Bryce completes the play fake

25 Someone yelling “turn and look at the ball!” to our CBs after a pass interference call even though that is not how cornerbacks have been coached since before Ramzee Robinson

24 Getting a little too hype on the timeline and explaining systemic racism to folks using a “why doesn’t Bryce run more often” metaphor

23 Yelling at the TV and scaring the dog

22 Seeing what amazing outfit Miss Terry got a great deal on at TJ Maxx this week

21 Listening to flyover practice going directly over my house on a Friday afternoon

20 Explaining to my fellow olds that “Mr. Brightside” is just Gen Z “Don’t Stop Believing”—a song that came out when they were toddlers that inexplicably became a generational anthem

19 Wait, who is our SEC East opponent again? Oh yeah, Vanderbilt, sorry

18 Witnessing some player that will get 34 snaps against Utah State but then 34 snaps the rest of the season, aka “the 2019 Duke Game” corollary

17 Walking into the stadium behind some kid who is third on the depth chart’s family—all decked out in personal jerseys with everyone’s name on the back

16 Scrambling to work the “jump” function on the remote as those 11am games begin to converge on the 2:30 hour, as you hear that Georgia is in trouble against Mississippi State, while Oklahoma has the ball down 4 with no timeouts in Morgantown, and even though you know the inevitable is coming, there’s always a chance that the games of the day could spiral out of control in the best possible way

15 Everyone rolling their eyes when some pop country singer-songwriter from ACC country is selected as the College Gameday Guest Picker at a huge SEC tilt and makes his picks with all of the zeal and excitement of an empty flattened Coors Light can bleached in the sun

14 Anticipating which Nick Saban rant is going to get sound-bited and turned into a cultural college football phenomenon

13 Hoping that you remember the words to “Yea Alabama” after the first score of the year but then your brain just goes into complete autopilot like it used to when you went to church & it was Nicene Creed time. Amen.

12 The 6pm kick-off in October where it is going to be 71 during the day but a cool 49 at night and you are debating whether to go with the light-weight long-sleeve jacket with the knowledge that you’ll be carrying it around most of the day, or just hoping that the sustainable whiskey flush will keep your bare forearms warm well into the 3rd quarter

11 The worst Dr Pepper commercial you’ve ever seen, which you find very impressive that such a great product can have such awful advertising

10 Complaining that the CFP games are on New Years Eve like I haven’t done anything on New Years Eve since that time I helped my cousin DJ in Brooklyn, but even then I drove home at 10:30pm

9 The cheerleaders doing the flippy thing across the endzone while Basket Case, a perfectly fine song made funnier that a song that has the words “stoned” and “whore” has become such a beloved tradition by the olds

8 Witnessing some inevitable absolutely bonkers feat from our dudes and wishing, above all, that Cecil was still here to try to put a bow on the patently absurd—something that he did better than any of us could ever hope to do.

7 Thinking that the Applebee’s song is something that we left in 2021, but having to acknowledge that much like COVID it is something that we are going to have to live with until the sun crashes into the earth—having to explain to your children in 2048 what an Applebees is because they’ve all been exterminated by the Millennials, but the song, THE SONG, remains

6 To use a professional wrestling term, giving the Georgia Bulldogs their receipt

5 Staying up a little too late to see how our dear friend Bo Nix is doing against a plucky Eastern Washington team

4 Probably beating Ohio State again in the national championship? Pssh I don’t know

3 Picking out that gaudy piece of National Championship gear—some horrible combination of Crimson and Gold and/or Silver crafted out of an inexplicable Nike template; and hey, if it doesn’t go our way, there’s always the overpriced baseline basketball hoodie collection

2 A nice and beautiful distraction from the horrors and debate club nonsense of the world while we scramble to protect imaginary children while real ones are being harmed all for the sake of discourse and protecting the status quo even though the status quo will never get anyone free—and maybe, just for a second, despite all of the problematic elements that are associated with college football, sometimes there is a lot of joy in the words of James Wright—“their sons grow suicidally beautiful/At the beginning of October,/And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies”—a gorgeous line, sure, but neglecting an earlier section of the poem where the father’s dream of heroes—any hero, really—and sometimes my hero takes the form of a kid from the middle of nowhere Louisiana who grew the right amount of tall to be the talk of that town and all of the other towns and buy his mom a house and take that photo on the stairs of Mal Moore with a cap and gown on while the family celebrates, and to recognize that there are always lives worth protecting—that weak become heroes even though we ask way too much of the weak and maybe a little too much from our heroes too.

1 And in the meantime, I get to share my first season with this guy—early kicks and biscuit breakfast sandwiches on the couch, possibly daring to navigate a stroller down to the Quad—as a reminder in this sometimes lonely world, sports are something that are meant to be shared; a gift that doesn’t need to exist and may not exist forever, but in the meantime, we are here with all of our faults, always trying to find a way to prove that our world was here.

1 comment on “99 Days Until Kickoff/99 Luftballons/99 Things I Am Looking Forward To This Alabama Football Season

  1. Anonymous

    Well done and much needed. Thx Brian and RTR

    Liked by 1 person

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