It’s been a couple days. How are Tide fans doing?
No. 3-ranked Tennessee’s dramatic 3-point victory Saturday night ended a 15-year drought against No. 6 Alabama, sending Tide fans into a spiral of existential doubt, sorrow, and at least five more stages of grief.
For your hosts of the Throw The Flag podcast, it’s difficult to write a recap of a loss so devastating to your own college football mental health.
But here we go.
PENALTIES. ALL OF THEM.
First, let’s start with the flags. Because Alabama sure did. The Tide drew four penalties in a single first-quarter drive. They officially committed a record 17 total penalties.
To put that in perspective, it took both Florida and LSU roughly 38 minutes into their game Saturday to draw their first flags of the night – on the same play.
Alabama’s 17 flags cost the Tide 130 yards on top of the 567 Tennessee traveled on their own.
Alabama ranks 129th in penalty yards per game, playing more disciplined than only Houston and Utah State. The Crimson Tide averages 9.4 penalties per game, costing them 80 yards every Saturday.
IS TENNESSEE, LIKE, A THING NOW?
Is Tennessee back? Yes. We said the Vols found their guy a few weeks back and clearly that argument has only gotten stronger.
Now all that stands in Tennessee’s path to a conference championship game and the playoffs is a date with Georgia in Athens on Nov. 5.
ALL RIGHT. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE REFS.
We generally try to stay away from blaming the refs in this column and in the podcast. It’s not easy, and games like Saturday’s make it even harder.
Seeing the late-game pass interference call on Kool-Aid McKinstry side-by-side with a non-call against Tennessee makes not blaming the refs as an Alabama fan damn near impossible.
WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
Alabama is no stranger to dropping a mid-season conference game, then turning it all around into a playoff berth. The path is still clear for the Tide to win their division and conference, which would almost assuredly place them in the playoffs.
But it’s not enough to make it to the playoffs for Alabama. Just ask how fans feel about last season. And a one-loss season looks very unlikely if the team can’t get their act together.
Neyland stadium provided an atmosphere several degrees higher than your generic hostile environment in college football. That doesn’t change the fact that Alabama demonstrated a complete lack of discipline and readiness to a national audience.
And Vols fans showed the country that Alabama has a lot more to do than perfect a silent count to win on the road.
ALL CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
Let’s say something nice about Alabama’s opponent last week. Heck, let’s say four nice things:
- Hendon Hooker is the Heisman front-runner.
- Josh Heupel’s ability to pull together a dominant team in two short years is the only thing athletic departments seek these days.
- Tennessee fans deserve this win for the degree at which they showed up Saturday.
- Jeremiah Crawford’s barfing session-turned intimidation tactic was the closest college football has come to a GG Allin concert in the sport’s history.
Don’t worry. The link above isn’t to an actual GG Allin concert.