Ole Miss Rebels vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (#2), 9/28/2019, 2:30pm
Score: Alabama 59 – Ole Miss 31, Attendance: 99,590
Weather: Hot, 91 degrees; Ticket: Free, Face $80 – thanks Morgan! Parking: $62.50
Review: Roll Damn Tide by Tree
The Crimson Tide play at Bryant – Denny Stadium which holds over a 100,000 on a good day. It has all the requisite amenities of a world class stadium. There are seat backs around the majority of the bottom ring. We were sitting on the 50 yard line about thirty rows up and thankfully in the shade. To be honest, they were just about the best seats I have ever had for a game, absent being on the field. With four video screens and numerous video ribbons, any seat would be good enough for watching a game. Our tickets were free thanks to my son’s friend, Morgan. I did note that scalpers were selling tickets at face value. There was probably a bit of a discount given the oppressive heat. It was the end of September and fairly miserable.
The concessions were varied but there were no beer sales inside the stadium. There was a good looking souvenir cup for $5. We sampled the boiled peanuts, and they were good as boiled peanuts go. The stadium was well run with free sunblock and water refill stations. The only negative to the stadium was that there was not wifi. It was a surprising omission in this day and age.
Before I cover the atmosphere, here are a few words about the tailgating. Not unlike some of the other major stadiums, the best tailgating is on campus in a central area, known commonly as the Quad. It certainly looked like a good time, but it presents logistic challenges for out of town visitors. I was meeting my son at the game but not at a time early enough to grab a spot. And while I like a communal approach to tailgating, experience has taught me that it is a real pain in the ass to load and unload in these environments. It works great if you are local and have a group of folks that can pitch in, but as a visitor it is fairly un-doable. Accordingly, I skipped on that approach and looked to secure a parking spot in the soccer field lots. I was told this was a reasonable tailgating option. In reality, it was pretty weak. It was a beautiful spot, but almost no one was there. I arrived there about three and half hours early based on a local recommendation but I could have rolled in an hour or two later and still had a good spot. I spent the morning watching Game Day, pretty much by myself. I had all the somanystadiums stuff up and that usually generates lots of walk up traffic. Additionally I was right next to a well-traveled sidewalk. While I got plenty of looks, almost no one approached me. That was unusual. I wouldn’t say folks were unfriendly, but they obviously would rather make their way to the Quad rather than talk to me.
Across the street from my tailgate, there was a steady flow of pledges in khaki pants and blue blazers trudging back to the fraternity house. Not too far behind them were a number of young women in skimpy sundresses and short skirts. It was an interesting contrast to the herd of less refined fans in their jorts and sleeveless Alabama t-shirts. Once inside the stadium, the majority of fans were older – the golf shirt and summer dress crowd. The fans were sufficiently loud when appropriate but it was not a constant roar. The one signature cheer I heard was after the offense got a first down – “Alabama First Down – Roll Tide”. Apparently they open with a Bear Bryant montage, but we missed that. Big Al, the elephant mascot roamed the field throughout the game. There are apparently four or five “Al’s” that take turns during the game to limit the chance of mascot heat stroke or dehydration. There was a stadium sing along to “I’ve got friends in low places”, but the marching band was doing most of the singing. All in all, this a pretty mellow environment, right down to the very mainstream, late ‘80s / early ‘90s hip hop that seemed to be played at every stop of the clock. It is so chill that the local law enforcement official stationed in the stands spent his time intently watching and analyzing the Tide’s performance rather than having to break up any drunken brawls. Visiting fans from Ole Miss were a very distinct minority, which is a word (minority) rarely associated with that University.
The University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa which means you have a little bit of a drive from wherever you fly into whether it is Atlanta, Birmingham, or Memphis. While not a land grant university, it has the typically grand and expansive campus. If not for the heat, walking through the campus would be enjoyable. We did spend some time in the local bars after the game, but did not have the signature cocktail, Yellowhammer. The bar that serves them, Gallettes, wanted a $20 cover charge. Our entire party thought that was a bit much. That would buy you at least five pairs of jorts.
We didn’t get into the game until the start of the second quarter, and shockingly Ole Miss was actually up 10-7. We were delighted, thinking that just maybe, this was going to be a good game. It was not. Alabama reeled off 31 straight points in the second quarter and the rout was on.
There really is not much more to say. It felt like the Tide could score on every play. In reality the truth was not much further from that. Most of the touchdown drives were five or six plays long and none more than ten. If an Ole Miss defender missed a tackle, there was a pretty good chance that Bama was going to take it to the house. I will say that Ole Miss tried to hang in there. Given how good this Bama team was, 31 points for the Rebs was almost respectful. Even with 476 yard of total offense, Ole Miss was still out gained by nearly a hundred years by Alabama. Roll Damn Tide indeed.
Oddly enough, I had heard from at least a couple of different folks that the Alabama experience really wasn’t that great. There is some truth to that. While there are some traditions, they weren’t nearly as pervasive or unique as at other universities. The stadium is loud, but not raucous. It is probably because the team on the field is destroying their opponent. It is hard to knock a program for being too good, but it is rare to see a truly competitive game at Bryant – Denny. Between an inability to get other Power Fives to play them (which is what current coach Nick Saban says is the problem) or the fact that the bottom feeders of the SEC are truly just that – bottom feeders, many of the games are done by halftime.
I was ready to declare Alabama as a good visit, but not a must see. However, given their body of work, it would be an easy argument to say that it is the most successful program in all of college football. Their rich history alone makes it a must see. However, I would add a few caveats. If you can’t get into the Quad, then don’t bother with tailgating. Just hit the local bars and then wander over to the stadium. Also, check the schedule and make sure you attend a competitive game. It’s going to cost you more but it will be worth it. Lastly, do it either in mid-October or later. There may be free sunscreen, but it is still hot, hot, hot.
Game Review: Tennessee Volunteers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide, Oct. 22, 2011, 7:15 pm
Final Score: Volunteers 6 Crimson Tide 37; Attendance: 101,821
Weather: 40’s and clear.
Crime and Punishment by Momo
Bryant – Denny Stadium is the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide and quite possibly the loudest stadium I have ever been in. Granted, I was only there for half of the Tennessee / Bama game in 2011 (more on that later). The stadium is on the campus of the University of Alabama and close to several good bars (more on that later). While the stadium is loud, I did find it a bit sterile compared to LSU or Michigan. There is really no “scenery” like one would see at Army or Husky Stadium. The stadium has great sight lines and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. We didn’t see much of the tailgating scene as we went straight to the Houndstooth bar upon arrival in Tuscaloosa. The hotness of the women was truly outstanding. Coeds and alumni alike were high on the hotness scale. You also had this feeling that the women were attainable for the average guy as most of the male dates of these hotties appeared to have IQs in the 80 – 85 range. Buying a ticket on the street was pretty easy. I paid well below face value. Both US and Confederate money is accepted on the street. We had a large group (8 people), so we had to break down into groups of two for ticket buying purposes. Note that the University of Alabama campus police take their job very very seriously (more on that later) so you might want to make sure that you understand and follow the rules on campus.
We drove to Tuscaloosa from Talladega. The main purpose of our trip was to see Ricky Bobby and his gang do a little racing. Since the Bama / Tennessee game fit well into our NASCAR watching schedule, we took a detour to Tuscaloosa for a 6PM kickoff. The drive was easy and there was relatively little traffic even around Tuscaloosa. We found $10 parking near a frat house within fairly easy walking distance of the stadium. As mentioned before, we went straight to the Houndstooth bar which is very close the campus and the stadium. The Houndstooth is a typical sports bar with decent food. Very packed on game day. They make a very very potent “Alabama Slamma” (more on that later). There are several other bars and casual restaurants in that same area. Lots of fans and a pretty good area to prefunction. We started to look for tickets about 30 minutes prior to kickoff near one of the end zone entrances. There were several sellers and we were all able to purchase tickets to the game (except for a couple of people in our group who chose not to purchase tickets…………….more on that later). It took me about 10 minutes to get to my seat as I was in the upper deck, but the seat was pretty good. A bit high up there, but you still feel close to the field.
The game was competitive in the first half, but you could tell that Bama was totally in control. Tennessee was going three and out on most drives. The score was 6-6 at the half, which was the point that I had to leave the game to attend to some more pressing matters (more on that later). The stadium was LOUD. Those 80 – 85 IQ guys were really screaming at the top of their lungs. Tennessee offense was on silent count the entire game. Bama took over the game in the second half with 31 unanswered points on their way to a 37-6 win.
Personal Notes From the Game
OK, now I can get to the story………………..Our group of 8 people made the trek from Talladega to Tuscaloosa for the game (it sounded like a great idea at the time). We flew into Atlanta and rented an RV……(on an interesting side note…..if you buy more than 30 cases of beer at a Costco in Georgia, you have to sign a legal document stating that you do not intend to resell the beer……somewhere in the state government archives….there is a document with my name and signature on it)…………….we had been camping on the infield of Talladega Motor Speedway the night before the game………..needless to say………we were out pretty late the night before………the Talladega infield looked like the Isle of Doctor Moreau………..compared to the folks at Talladega, those 80 -85 IQ guys at the Bama game were like Stephen Hawking. A couple of our guys made it back to the RV right around sunrise……they were able to catch about 30 minutes of sleep before they were awakened by the psssst sound of the morning beers being cracked…….we watched some qualifying laps and then took our rented SUV (we didn’t want the hassle of driving the RV…………..boy was that a mistake)…….I volunteered to be the designated driver on this excursion……my liver was needing the rest……upon arrival at the Houndstooth, an Alabama Slamma drinking contest broke out among several in the group….as stated above, they make a very potent AS at the Houndstooth. 30 minutes prior to kickoff, we headed to the stadium to procure our tickets and watch some SEC football. Six of us were able to get tickets at a very reasonable price………two members of the group decided that $30 for a college football game was way too much…….(note….these two were also the winners of the AS drinking contest). Our super geniuses hatched what they thought was a fool proof plan for sneaking into the game…………..turns out it was not so fool proof…….as they rushed past the ticket takers, one of the geniuses was nabbed by campus police………thankfully, he was able to distract them long enough for the other genius to make it to the men’s room where he stood on top of a toilet in a closed stall for the entire first half of the game (so as to avoid capture)…….our hero really dove on a grenade for his buddy…..but instead of earning a Medal of Honor for his valor……….he earned a trip to the Tuscaloosa county jail…….like I said before……those campus police take their jobs very seriously.
Skip to halftime……..sensing something was not right, one of the members of our group called the police to see if they knew the whereabouts of our hero (talk about Bat Sense)……it turns out that they did in fact know exactly where he was…….Being the only clear thinking person (and sober driver), I was called upon to begin the rescue and recovery operation to bail our hero out. Upon arrival to the jail, we learned a few interesting things about public intoxication charges on the campus of the University of Alabama; 1) there is a minimum 6 hour holding time for this offense 2) all bail must be posted in cash 3) after the mandatory six hours in the clink, the suspect must pass another field sobriety test in order to be released. Given the six hour minimum, we were stuck in Tuscaloosa until midnight. We killed time by heading to the Houndstooth and watching the second half of the game……….several folks in the group thought that additional Alabama Slammas were a good idea……unfortunately I had to drive. With cash in hand, we saddled up the SUV at 1130PM so as not to be late for the midnight release time……much to our chagrin……we found out that our hero just narrowly failed the field sobriety test given to him at midnight (yes midnight…..almost seven hours since his last drink)……….this bought him another six hours in the clink…by our hero’s account….the holding cell at the Tuscaloosa County Jail consists of a large room painted pink with one stainless steel toilet in the middle of the room for all to share. Evidently there was a large Hispanic man that had gotten ahold of some bad queso…….it was not pleasant watching him work that through his digestive system……there was good entertainment though…….two rival gangs engaged in a “rap battle”……something I am sure all of you hip hop fans really hate to have missed.
The rest of the group had a real problem………….you see, there is not a real surplus of hotel rooms on game weekend in Tuscaloosa……our new estimated time of departure was sometime after 6AM on Sunday and we were all a bit tired……….we ended up at the only place that was still open at 2AM…………..Walmart……….I hatched a quick plan……given that our crossover SUV was a bit tight on space…..I purchased 7 sleeping bags (at $8.50 each), two blue plastic tarps and a 30 pack of Miller Light. We headed to Lake Luleen State Park for a little impromptu camping trip……..the Alabama sky was beautiful that night……….a full moon so bright we could read by it……..temperatures dipping into the low 30s made it a bit brisk……when you buy a sleeping bag rated for 40 degrees, you somehow think it would be overdesigned to keep you comfortable in 30 degree weather………not the case………maybe we should have known by the price tag on the bags……but these things were rated to keep a person alive at 40 degrees…………..not comfortable…….we spent a night in near hypothermia………clutching our cold Miller Lights in an effort to stay warm…….yes….the beer (straight from the cool at Walmart) was warmer than the insides of our sleeping bags.
After several hours of waiting at the jail, our hero was finally “processed” around 9AM…….we immediately got some McDonalds food in him and a couple of beers to ease the PTSD that he was working through……….some other interesting note on public intoxication charges…….in order to be released from jail, you are forced to sign an agreement that you will not step foot on the Alabama campus for 5 years……………another tip………if you want to beat the rap…………….hire a lawyer from Auburn………….turns out they are highly motivated when working on cases related to Bama………….our hero got a slap on the wrist………but he is still banned from campus until October 2016…………..we are planning a reunion for that time……………….anyone want to join us????????