Why the name "The Dangling Ear?"

From The Tuscaloosa News........

"Tuscaloosa’s Hargrove Van de Graaff was one tough hombre on the football field.

In a 1913 game against Tennessee, he nearly lost an ear.

It “had a real nasty cut and was dangling from his head, bleeding badly,” Tennessee tackle Bull Bayer recalls in Winston Groom’s book, “The Crimson Tide.” “He grabbed his ear and tried to yank it from his head. His teammates stopped him and his managers bandaged him … He wanted to tear off his own ear so he could keep playing.”

Van de Graaff hung on to his ear and Alabama hung on to a
6-0 lead to beat the Vols.

Hargrove’s brother W.T. “Bully” Van de Graaff was an even bigger star for the Tide. A fabulously gifted athlete, he became Alabama’s first All-American."

Learn more about the great University of Alabama family, the Van De Graafs, @ http://www.jemisonmansion.com/

Passion, Committment to Excellence, and a Visceral Hatred of Tennessee - all missions of this blog!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bama vs Detroit Preview

After a tough loss to Georgetown at the buzzer, and one of the most disappointing and poor efforts from Bama since early last year against Dayton, the Tide hosts the Detroit Titans Sunday afternoon. With games against Oklahoma State and K-State looming, the Tide need to get back on track by playing well and beating Detroit.

Detroit competes in the Horizon League, which also features the Butler Bulldogs. Detroit finished 17-16 last year, and sit at 5-6 right now, but are still expected to be a serious contender for the Horizon League title, especially with Butler in a bit of a rebuilding mode. The Titans have lost by 6 at Notre Dame early in the year, and are 2-2 in their last 4 games. They lost a pair of close games to Youngstown and Cleveland State, but have won their last two, a 69-63 win over Saint Johns and most recently 92-81 over Western Michigan. Detroit will be arriving in Tuscaloosa with confidence, especially after seeing the way Georgetown and Dayton were able to get good looks against Bama, and also defend rather well against the Bama offense.

Afte struggling against solid guard play, spacing, and perimeter shooting in the last two losses, Bama better get ready for another dose. Detroit is led by solid guard play, and 6'6 Senior Chase Simon leads the Horizon League with almost 17 ppg. His sophmore backcourt mate, 6'0 Ray McCallum (the son of the Head Coach) adds 14.7 points per contest. McCallum was the first freshman from Detroit to make the All-Horizon League team last season.

Detroit has 3 other guys averaging right at or over double figures -
Nick Minnerath, SR, 6'8, 230 F with 12 points a game
Doug Anderson, JR, 6'5, 220 F with 9.6 a game
Jason Calliste, JR, 6'2, 165 G with 10 points per game.

Detroit will play 9 guys, and also contributing will be
Lamarcus Lowe, SR, 6'11, 200 C, with 7.3 ppg
Evan Bruinesma, SO, 6'7, 190 F with 6 ppg
Donovan Foster, SR, 5'10, 160 G with 3.4 ppg

A big plus with Detroit is the return last game of Senior Eli Holman, who missed the first ten gamed due to a personal leave of absence. Holman just jumped in with 21 points against Western Michigan, and in only 19 minutes. At 6'10 and 255, the SR and 4 year letterman will present major problems for Alabama inside.

Detroit rebounds by committee, as 8 of their 9 man rotation collects 3 or more rebounds per game. However, Holman inside will be their leading rebounder over the course of the year, and he had 9 boards in the WMU game - I will be surprised if Holman does not average right at a double-double in Horizon play.

Detroit stats......................

PPG - 75.9
FG% - 46.7
3 PT FG% - 35.3
FT% - 69.7
Rebounds per game - 36.5
Steals - 5.3 pg
Assists - 13.6 g
Blocks - 3.7 pg

Detroit will be a challenge, especially for a team whose confidence must be reeling a bit right now. The Titans bring a pair of talented and experienced guards, and a SR big man who will be problems for Bama inside.

The Tide must do a better job of defending the ball and stopping dribble breakdown of our defense. Green and Mitchell must also start showing the poise and leadership needed from our most veteran guys, and avoid displays of temper and also avoid foul trouble. To have success this year, not just this game, Alabama must start again to defend with passion, aggression, and intensity.

Offensively, we need to get better spacing in the half court. Green needs to get back inside, Releford needs to start attacking the lane again, and a Tony Mitchell with an improved 3 point shot must start playing like the talent he is. Tony can be a nightmare matchup with his skill set, but Coach Grant must get him the ball where he can do damage, and then Tony has to want it as well.

The freshman need to defend their fannies off, and make plays offensively when they have the opportunity. Bama also needs to get back to creating turnovers, offense off them, and attacking both boards.

Should be a good test, and Bama needs to get back on track before playing the tougher games just down the road.

As a personal aside, I hope one of our staff takes Mitchell and Green aside and goes off on how they need to stop going for the ESPN Tip-Slam and make the easier play of tipping the ball in with control or just securing the offensive rebound. I wish I had a count on how many crowd "OOOOH-ing" tip-slams we have bounced off the rim.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coach Saban's Ballot

and the predictable media backlash..... and I mean sad, but also sadly predictable, media backlash.

The Tim Brando's (who has become biased and agenda-driven to the point of absurdity) of the world act like the Coaches owed it to Oklahoma State to vote them at least #3 in the final ballot.If you did not, Brando is painting you as unethical, as he is intimating that Coach Saban cast his ballot for the purpose of helping Alabama and harming Oklahoma State.

Of course Gary Danielson joins Tim and sings with the choir, even stating that "Someone, the SID or someone, should have pulled Nick aside and said "Do you really want to do this?"" Tim, if that was really his purpose, would he not have placed them at #5, or even #6, as some other voters without gloves in the fight did?

You say Nick Saban is a smart guy - do you really think Coach Saban would face this ridiculous media frenzy for the sake of one spot on his ballot, unless it was how he really felt?That's right Tim, and Gary - maybe Coach Saban had Stanford at #3, and saw no reason to move them down in the final ballot.And could it be that Coach Saban voted his conscious, honestly and ethically - and that it is the Brando's and Boilermaker Gary's of the world who are advocating breaching ethics based on personal bias?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The AP Should Party like its 1964

So much ridiculous talk about giving the AP title to LSU if they get beat by Bama........................

First, you cannot turn the Bama-LSU game of Nov. 5th into the National Championship game, as many media members and Bama haters are attempting to do. That game was, pardon the term, but part of the process in determining the participants for the BCS Championship Game. LSU won the game, and pretty much locked down a spot in the Title game. They also became the SEC West representative for the SECCG, and thus earned the right to become an SEC Champion. Winning that game was very benficial to LSU.

Conversely, losing was costly for Alabama. Outside of losing the goal of winning the SEC, The Tide dropped well down the ladder of BCSCG hopefuls. Alabama was forced to win out and look good doing it, and then to hope for help around the country.

Oregon, Stanford, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State all had a better opportunity on Nov. 6th to meet LSU than Bama did - and all failed to get it done.

Despite losing to LSU, Alabama, whom anyone with honesty and football savvy will admit is one of the two best teams in the nation, did what was needed to make the BCSCG. The BCS worked by sifting through the season to provide the best two teams to play for the Championship.

The winner is the National Champion. The BCS is designed to pair the top two teams and have them play a game at a neutral site for the National Championship. The winner of that game is the BCS National Champion.

Now, the AP does not like the BCS and in fact chose to break away from the BCS process. So, if the AP does not want to consider the bowl process in determining their National Champion, as they would not be if they award the title to LSU if Bama wins - then I have a suggestion.

Go back to the way you did it in the mid 1960s, and really start sticking it to the BCS process. Just award your title after the regular season.

In your system, make the BCS bowl system totally inconsequential.

Because that is essentially what you will be doing if you vote LSU as your National Champion even after a loss on January 9th.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Expansionistas, Slivers, Missouri Compromisers

Lend me your Beers!

I come to bury SLIVE, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with SLIVE ...
The noble Bogie Hath told you SLIVE was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath SLIVE answered it ...

Here, under leave of Bogie and the rest,
(For Bogie is an honourable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Slive's tenure's funeral ...

He was my commissioner,
but unfaithful and unjust to me:
But Bogie says he was ambitious;
And Bogie is an honourable man….

Slive hath brought many captives home to Birmingham,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Slive seem ambitious?
When that the poor fans have cried, Slive hath ignored:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Bogie says he was ambitious;
And Chief is an honourable man.

O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason….
Bear with me; My SEC is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Missouri is engaged in a civil war. There is a powerful segment in Columbia that likes to fancy themselves as a Big ten program, and would do anything for a Big Ten Invite.Then there are others and a lot of the general fanbase who want the SEC. They are in turmoil, as evidenced by the waffling and listening to all offers.

They do not have a clear plan of action drawn out, and they are going to end up where the wind blows them.Wanted the Big Ten, now reconsidering the Big 12 - we do not need Missouri then, now, or ever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cajun-Italian Burger

OK - Due to the retsraints and challenges of tailgating in Tuscaloosa, I now do much more of it a home. However, some friends have a tailgate challenge going with a LSU Krewe, and I have been solicited to assist.I have been working on some new things the last couple of weeks, and last night did some Cajun-Italian burgers at a friends apartment, as a trial run of sorts.Thought they turned out well- and pretty easy to boot.


  1. 2 Pounds Ground Chuck - I like the 80-20 meat to fat version for a more juicy version, but have sometimes found nothing but the 85-15 mixture. You need at least 15% fat content.

  2. 2 large Sweet Onions - one chopped, one sliced into strips

  3. 1 Green Pepper - cut as above

  4. Beefsteak Tomato - 4 hearty slices

  5. Romaine Lettuce - 4 burger sized leaves

  6. Ketchup - One Cup

  7. Balsamic Vinegar - 1/2 cup

  8. Yellow Mustard

  9. Tabasco or favorite hot sauce

  10. Garlic Powder

  11. Italian Seasoning - 1TBS

  12. Kosher Salt

  13. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

  14. Fresh Oregano

  15. Fresh Basil

  16. Cajun Seasoning

  17. Gunpowder Style Steak Seasoning

  18. Crustini Rolls (I used Arnolds last night and they were great)

  19. Worstershire Sauce

  20. Sliced Gouda Cheese

I do not measure a lot of stuff, so I will estimate on quantities. I used the above to make 4 1/2 pound burgers.

Prepare your grill - I use lump charcoal and will add some dry pecan, cherry, hickory, or apple wood when I start to grill.

Place ketchup, vinegar, a handful of onions, 2 TBS Cajun Seasoning, 2dashes of Tabasco, dash of salt and grind or two of black pepper in a small pan, heat on low till warm, whisking every so often to combine.

In a microwave ramekin, melt some butter mixed with garlic powder.

Chop fresh oregano and basil roughly, enough so both combined make a 14 to a 1/3 of a cup, place with meat and Italian Seasoning in mixing bowl. Shape intop 4 1/2 pound patties, press top of burger to make a quarter sized indention. Sprinkle with Garlic Powder, Salt, Cracked Pepper and Gunpowder seasoning, then drizzle top with worstershire.

Place peppers and onions on a greased sheet of aluminum foil, sprinle with pepper, salt and gunpowder seasoning. Wrap into a square, place on heated grill on top rack. I let these go about 30 minutes, or till they soften and start to char a bit on the edges.

Let meat come to room temperature, when ready spray grill with cooking spray and place burgers on grates. Cook for 4-5 minutes a side, then flip. To create a crust at the end you can pour a little melted butter on patties to create flame for some extra char - just a few seconds and a quick flip.

Spoon pepper and onion mixture on top of herb custed side of patty, then top with a slice (or two) of cheese, and move meat to edges of grill so cheese will melt, as in an oven.

At the same time, brush the buns with the garlic butter, then brush the top bun with the balsamic ketchup to coat entirely. Grill buns just a few minutes, till they get a bit toasty and grill marked.

To serve - coat bottom bun with yellow mustard, top with chopped onion, tomato, lettuce and the burger, cheese side up, Brush the top bun with some more balsamic ketchup, then enjoy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

NCAA Ruling on Auburn Defies Belief

There is a fresh wind blowing through Collegiate Football right now, a wind that appears to be ushering in an era of expansion and Super Conferences.

Concurrently, there seems to be a new attitude sweeping through NCAA offices where investigation and enforcement is concerned - an attitude extolling the virtues of blissful ignorance.

Three recent examples of the new look NCAA spring to mind, the recent rulings on Tennessee and Ohio State, and the decision handed down yesterday on Auburn University.

The New NCAA rewards lying. Both Tennessee and Ohio State had Head Coaches lying to NCAA investigators, yet Tennessee got an NCAA slap on the wrist for violations in Football and Basketball. Ohio State has not been tagged with the "Failure to Monitor" and "Lack of Institutional Control" charges, despite Head Coach Tressel knowingly playing ineligible players, and then lying to NCAA investigators about it.

Ohio State and Tennessee both came clean only because they were caught.

But the Auburn ruling is the most curious, and sets a potentially crippling precedent for future cases where compliance is concerned.

Auburn has a long history of cheating at the highest levels. They are not a Penn State or Northwestern - no, Auburn has been sanctioned multiple times for providing extra benefits to student-athletes. Yet the NCAA says despite a lengthy investigation utilizing many resources, they found nothing - not even any secondary violations??

Look at the letter AU received from the NCAA.......................

In the second paragraph of this letter, the NCAA states....................

As reflected in the university's November 30th, 2010 self-report, it was determined that a violation of amateurism legislation occurred when Mr. Newton's Father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market Mr. Newton for compensation. NCAA Bylaw 12.3.3 prohibits individuals or entities from representing a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletics scholarship.It was also determined that Mr. Newton and university representatives were not aware of that activity.

In other words, according to both SEC and NCAA bylaws, Cam Newton was ineligible from the moment he was marketed by Dad and agent. They also ruled that Cam was not aware either from the recruiting process or family structure that he was being shopped around.

Most astounding, the NCAA decided the violation of amatuerism was not worthy of any sanction, outside the two hour dog and pony show suspension and subsequent re-instatement dating from last November.

Later in the same letter linked above, the NCAA clears Auburn in the HBO matter, where four former players admitted being paid at Auburn. Amazingly, though the four were happy to throw their former program and employer Auburn to the wolves on HBO, none of the four would allegedly speak to NCAA investigators.

I wonder why those four guys would suddenly hush?????

Now lets look at the NCAA statement to the world at large...................

"After Conducting more than eighty interviews, the NCAA has concluded its investigation into Auburn University. The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding. As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of additional credible information, it will review the information to determine whether further investigation is warranted."

I am sure University of Alabama officials, and those of many other programs who have fallen under the NCAA hammer in the last 20 years, are just giddy that the New NCAA is committed to fairness, and now must meet, in leagalese, a "burden of proof."

I guess admissions by family members and former players are not considered as valuable as the private and secret testimony of a biased snake like Tom Culpepper.The old NCAA would look at the Auburn history, the admissions on HBO, and act on what they believed, not what they could prove.

The New NCAA will use the inability to secure their own personal confession as a reason not to act.

Much of what the NCAA and Auburn would have the world believe about the Newton case is illogical - and some is downright unbelievable.

Welcome to the New NCAA - where Image is more important than Integrity, and where Compliance is no longer as important as Cover-Up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NCAA - All About Image, Not Integrity

It has been coming for a while, but the NCAA put a stamp of finality on the investigations into Auburn with an "All Clear".

There will be outrage and disbelief around the nation, and aubs everywhere will act like they do not understand. Despite Cecil Newton clearly violating SEC bylaws by shopping Cam, and rendering Cam ineligible in the process, despite the stripper parties, shady recruiting and blackmail tactics, despite players openly flaunting photos of themselves with wads of cash and new cars..............

Auburn has been given the all clear.

In retrospect, in reality, this was destined to play out this way dating back to last November. When Cam was allegedly placed on a double secret ineligibilty, petitioned to be re-instated, and the NCAA ruled in favor in an unprecedented two hours, the final findings were all but assured.

In a rather unprecedented statement today, the NCAA not only cleared Auburn, but alluded to not being able to meet a "Burden of Proof". Funny - Alabama fans and fans of other programs will not remember meeting a "Burden of Proof" being a NCAA priority in many other cases.

In many other cases that did not have former players going on a national TV network and admitting Auburn provided them extra benefits.

It almost makes you wonder if the Gene Chizik outburst at SEC media days, and tete a tete with Julie Marie Roche was nought but staged grandstanding. Or maybe that Chizik was expecting a statement, and Roche did not appreciate the questions because she feels Auburn is dirty.

The NCAA is not concerned now with Member Institutions, and creating a level playing field for them.

The NCAA is concerned now with Image, not integrity - and while Auburn may have been given an "All Clear", that is a far cry from an "All Clean".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bama Primed For Season's Second Half

Alabama has put together an amazing first half season run, but what does that get you??

It just puts you in position to accomplish your long term goals.

Still, one half of the season in, you can start to draw some firm conclusion abouts a team - and for Alabama, those conclusions end in a BCS Bowl, quite possibly THE BCS Bowl playing for it all.

The defensive numbers are bordering on incredulous. Six games in, Bama is giving up 239 yards rushing..... FOR THE SEASON. A few defensive stats and how Bama ranks in the SEC...................................

Scoring Defense - 1st
Total Defense - 1st
Rushing Defense - 1st
Pass Defense - 2nd
Pass Efficience Defense - 1st
Third Down Efficiency - 2nd

These numbers would be outstanding in almost in scenario, but when you factor in ganmes at undefeated and healthy Penn State and Florida, and home games against Arkansas and an improving Vanderbilt team.

But what really surprised me were some of the offensive numbers, listed below with SEC ranks......................

Scoring Offense - 3rd
Total Offense - 2nd
Rushing Offense - 1st
Passing Offense - 4th
Pass Efficiency - 5th
Third Down Conversions - 2nd

If Alabama goes to Ole Miss on a business trip this weekend, there is little in the Rebels body of work to make you think the Rebels will make a big dent in any of these numbers.

Still, as always, there needs to be improvement weekly, and some real improvement in a few areas. Bama is just 4th in red zone defense, and 6th in red zone offense. The Tide is only 9th in sacks, and 4th in sacks allowed. Special teams wise, Alabama is 9th in kickoff coverage and a dismal 11th in net punting.

Alabama is set up well schedule wise - facing mid-pack SEC competition in the next two weeks, away and then at home with Ole Miss and staggering Tenensee. A week off, and then LSU looms large.

But perhaps as much or more than what happens on NOV 5th, the progression of this team in the next three weeks may be the real key to achieving all the long term goals.