Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

November 25, 2009 12:49 PM

Can We Please Have a Little Animosity?

Where's the animosity? The hatred? The venom? The trash talking?


Nick Saban on sideline.jpgFrankly, I've been disappointed the last few days because Iron Bowl Week has turned into a Mutual Admiration Society event as coaches and players from Alabama and Auburn talk about their upcoming game Friday afternoon at the Tigers' Jordan-Hare Stadium.


Nobody is dissing anybody. Nobody is giving anybody any bulletin board material.


Just a whole lotta talk about respect.


Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban began the festivities with the following remarks about Auburn (7-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference):

"As I've said before we have a tremendous amount of respect for their team and what they've accomplished. Offensively, they have one of the best offensive teams in the conference ... Their ability to run the ball makes them probably the best running team we have faced all year.  Ben Tate is an outstanding runner and they do a good job of utilizing their personnel, playing different personnel groups and that type of stuff, which is always a little bit of an issue to prepare for ... Defensively, I think they play hard, they play with toughness and I think they've improved tremendously on defense, especially in the back end and how they play.  Their front seven is physical and playing very well. This is a really good team."


Yada, yada, yada.


Not to be outdone, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik lauded the Tide (11-0, 7-0 SEC).


Gene Chizik on sidelines.jpg"They have very good players and they are very well-coached. They are at the point in the season when obviously (being national champions is) their goal. They have gotten to the point where they are one of the teams that's a viable option to play in that game. Are they a tremendously talented and good football team? Yes. I haven't seen everybody else out there. I don't know who to compare them to. I just know they are a very good football team."


Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Isn't this supposed to be one of the fiercest rivalries in the nation? Well, you can't tell it by the way these guys are talking. Even Tate, Auburn's senior running back, did some backtracking on remarks he made before the Tigers played Georgia two weeks ago.


Tate told a reporter Athens Banner-Herald that he was top running back in the state and not the Tide sophomore Mark Ingram.


``I know I'm the best back in the state,'' Tate said. ``I bet, if you went and broke down film and asked teams in the SEC who is the best back in the state, I mean, I feel like it's me. Don't get me wrong. (Ingram's) a good running back. He's a very good running back. He's only a sophomore, and he's having a great year, but at the same time, his team is winning, they're undefeated, so of course, he's going to be talked about.


``It's great news he's up for the Heisman. Hopefully, he gets it. I want to see a running back get it. It's been awhile since a guy at the position has been able to get it. Maybe, hopefully, he will. More power to him.''


But when asked about those comments later, Tate chose the politically correct response.


"I've seen a couple of their games," Tate said. "I've watched them and I've said it before and I'll say it again: He's a very good running back. He's having a great year. Their team is undefeated. He's a great running back. I hope he wins the Heisman. Honestly, I'm serious when I say that because he'd be the first running back to win it since Reggie Bush, and I think he's got the opportunity to do that."


Ingram refused to be drawn into the debate about who's better.


"I'm not a guy that gets into tongue tussles with anybody," Ingram said at the Tide's weekly media conference. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Like I said about (Tate), I think he's a great back, I love the way he runs the ball. He runs with a lot of passion, he runs with a lot of heart and he's a great back and I'll just let my play talk for me. I'm not going to get into any off-the-field tongue tussles with anybody."


Perhaps, this niceties nonsense will end with 1:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday and we can get a little pushing and shoving after the whistle blows and a few on-the-field tongue tussles.


Otherwise, it's going to be a boring game because there won't be any drama in the outcome. Auburn is not going to come close to an upset. As I predicted several days ago ... Alabama 34, Auburn 10.

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