First, the other stuff…
It hasn’t been a fun time lately being a sports fan. It seems like the worst of sports has reared it’s ugly head, over and over again. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Jameis Winston have all made us check our priorities and adjust our perspective.
All three of these cases are different, but have at least one thing in common. For each of these people, the focus quickly shifts away from the judicial system and onto their team and, in the case of Rice and Peterson, their league. Yes, it is important whether or not these guys get to play or not, but the most important thing is whether or not the judicial system has done it’s job.
In the case of Rice, justice was clearly not served. Whether or not he plays again in the NFL is beside the point. In real life, he should have served time in jail. In Winston’s situation – and by situation I’m referring to the rape allegations made against him – the judicial system clearly failed. Is he guilty or not? I certainly don’t know and the folks in Tallahassee didn’t want to find out. Oh yeah, he also had that crab leg situation, which was caught on video, but once again the star quarterback was left with virtually no consequences. Then Winston has the gall to use his bully pulpit of Heisman-winning, national championship quarterback to shout obscenities. It’s almost as if he is trying to see how idiotic he can act before he is held accountable.
In Peterson’s case, the justice system appears to be working in the midst of his odd situation. He readily admits to punishing his child and has apologized for going too far. He even offers up that he was punished in the same way. But our attention, turns from the justice system and turns to Roger Goodell to see how he will handle things. It’s almost as if we could care less about the legal system because the suspension is what really matters.
This is frustrating to me. This past summer, we saw a similar situation with Nick Marshall and his pot bust. The actual crime was coded as minor, but the real uproars focused on the punishment to be handed out by Gus Malzahn.
This is a sinking ship folks. Our priorities are all wrong. Our attention should be on our system – the judicial system working, not on how much a player will or won’t play. This won’t happen, though. Not with all of the money involved.
Alabama hosts Florida on Saturday and, Lord willing, I’ll be there. The Tide enters the game as about a two touchdown favorite over the Gators and if we play well, the sounds about right.
We’ve been point to the Florida game for a long time as a litmus test for this team and I think it’s true. This game will tell us a whole lot about our Tide. Win the game and we’ll think our problems are being addressed. Lose the game and we’ll think the sky is falling.
The key to this game, I think, is cornerback play. For both teams. I don’t see Florida consistently running the ball on us. That forces them to attack our weak spot – our corners. We’ll see if Jeff Driskel can make the throws that can beat us. I’m guessing Florida thinks they can load up and stop our run game and, therefore, force Blake Sims’ arm to beat them. That means his favorite target, Amari Cooper, becomes the swing vote. How Coop plays against Florida corner Vernon Hargreaves, III is definitely the match up of the game.
I don’t foresee the Tide offense breaking away from what they’ve been doing the last three games. Make the run game work. Easy throws for Sims. Eat the clock. As I mentioned above, Florida will load the box against the run game. However, I don’t think we have the OL to simply run the ball if we want to. I think Sims will start the game with the ball in the air – West Coast-style, and we’ll go from there.