| FTBL The Most Delusional Fan Base Part II



So here we are, eight games into the 2008 season, and both Auburn and Tennessee have boosters and alumni ready to pull the proverbial trigger. Both teams' seasons stand on the brink, and possibly have the careers of their respective head coaches in tow.

On the flipped side, Alabama stands 8-0, ranked number 2 in the land, and is playing at a high level. Based on the best performances thus far, Alabama is arguably the most complete team in the conference - if not the nation.


In the previous article, we looked at the different coaches who have been at Alabama since Bryant retired. Perkins, Stallings, Dubose, and Shula, had previous ties to the University. Curry, Franchione, Price, and Saban, had no prior connections to Alabama. While the tenures varied - from no games coached by Price, to 7 years with Stallings, a single thread unifies all these coaches' tenures. Every coach who actually coached a season after Bryant's retirement has led the team to at least one 10 win season. Under Stallings, Alabama had four seasons with 10 or more wins. Since Bryant retired in 1982, Alabama has posted 9 seasons of 10 or more wins, and appears to be on the way to a 10th season in 2008. Comparatively, Auburn has posted 8, and Tennessee has posted 11. This is important to note, because the most delusional fan base forgets these numbers quite often. In the post Bryant era, instability has been Alabama's greatest Achilles. When Alabama has stability and good coaching, Alabama wins.

Even Mike Dubose, hampered by lingering effects of sanctions, inexperience, and poor game management skills, Franchione during rebuilding from the DuBose mess, and inexperienced Mike Shula, hampered by severe sanctions and the Franchione - Price fiasco, managed ten wins at Alabama. The tradition and history of Alabama attracts quality athletes, and brings out a passion and will to win from players who may not have the physical ability. Former Alabama coach Bill Curry has often commented about the way that players wearing the Alabama Crimson play harder.

When Alabama coach Gene Stallings retired following the 1996 football season, Tennessee was emerging as a conference power. The success of Peyton Manning had a positive affect on the team as a whole. Tennessee's recruiting was on an upswing, and the change in coaching staff at Alabama did not hurt their cause. Tennessee was able to recruit a number of key prospects out of the state during this time frame - notably, Tee Martin. When Alabama went into football purgatory following the 1999 season, Auburn emerged as a divisional power. With Alabama going through coaching turmoil and NCAA probation, Auburn went from having back to back losing seasons in 1998 and 1999, to 9 wins in 2000. Over the next seven seasons, Auburn posted the most wins the program had ever posted during a seven year period - averaging over 9 wins per season. Tennessee coach Philip Fulmer appeared to become more occupied with extemporaneous issues, and from 1999 on, Tennessee has been inconsistent.

Auburn's most successful periods have been while Alabama was undergoing change or turmoil. When Bryant retired, Dye took advantage and Auburn gained the upper hand. Perkins' brief tenure did little to disrupt Auburn's success, and Perkins posted a 2-2 record against the Tigers. Another coaching change allowed Auburn to maintain the upper hand, and Curry was never able to out-coach Dye, but when Alabama brought in Stallings, Auburn no longer had the upper hand in coaching. With a stable Alabama, Auburn began to slide, going from 8-3-1 in Stallings first season at Alabama, to 5-6 and 5-5 in the following seasons. The similarity to what is happening right now is almost erie. From 1990 to 1996, Alabama held a 5-2 advantage against the Plainsmen, and even with the DuBose era, Alabama finished the decade holding a 7-3 advantage over Auburn.

Following the National Championship game at the start of 2003, an Alabama player signed with an agent (reportedly on a napkin) and accepted $100. When coaches asked him about it, he lied. Because that player played during the 1993 season, Alabama was forced to forfeit all wins on the season. Prior to 1994, Alabama had never had a run-in with the NCAA, and that inexperience showed in the way Alabama dealt with the NCAA, and perceived arrogance resulted in the NCAA leveling Alabama with penalties much worse than fit the crime. None of Alabama's violations were recruiting related.

In the NCAA infractions case under Mike DuBose watch, Alabama was as cooperative as possible. Even so, the scope of issues that occurred over the three year period resulted in Alabama being hammered. The scholarship reductions and attrition resulted in Alabama playing the 2003 season with less than 60 players on Scholarship.


When the NCAA was investigating Alabama in 2001, Tennessee and Auburn fans openly proclaimed their desire for Alabama to receive the death penalty - a penalty that Alabama was only eligible to receive, due to the diligence of boosters working with the compliance department in the issue of a first year basketball assistant soliciting funds for illegal recruiting. The university fired the coach and reported the incident. So deep is the hate for Alabama, that rivals actually wanted the NCAA to kill the program - that had never before been even been accused of recruiting improprieties.

Nick Saban has a history of being one of - if not THE best recruiter in the nation. Everywhere Saban has been, he has signed top classes - and he has never been accused of wrongdoing, yet if you listen to rivals from Tennessee and Auburn, they insist that Alabama's 8-0 start is fueled by Saban and Alabama's illegal recruiting, in spite of the fact that Saban has had just one complete recruiting class since his arrival at Alabama.


According to rivals, Alabama - a tradition rich program with 12 National Championships and 21 SEC championships (or even if you are a rival who hates Bama and refuses to recognize 12, Bama has at least 6 more national titles than you have) has to cheat in order to recruit well. Alabama has the best facilities in the SEC, and one of the nicest stadiums in the nation. The University of Alabama has a beautiful campus, and the city of Tuscaloosa is a really nice college town with a lot of charm. It is big enough to have stuff to do, and small enough to be bearable.

The question for rivals is this...if Alabama has to cheat to win, in spite of having a national championship caliber coach, great tradition, facilities, location, national presence, and reputation as the flagship institution in the state, how does Auburn ever win? How does Tennessee ever win? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Tennessee has the same number of major infractions cases as Alabama and the same number of probations. Auburn has a reputation as one of the worst repeat violators in the nation, with an SEC leading 7 major infractions cases - 6 of which were recruiting related...yet when they won 13 games in 2004 - the most wins EVER in a season by Auburn, it was legit. Auburn is a rural campus with a history of racial problems (in the modern era). The town is small and not overly charming. The facilities, while better than some - are nowhere near the level of Alabama. When Alabama out recruits Auburn, it should be expected...the real question is, how can Auburn EVER out recruit Alabama?

As for Tennessee, it is a state that produces HALF the NFL caliber talent that Alabama does. Where Alabama shares a large border with Mississippi (also a top level talent producer), Georgia, and Florida, Tennessee has to travel a lot further. The campus lacks the appeal of Alabama's, and the facilities, while good, are not the level of Alabama's. Again, how does Tennessee ever recruit better than Alabama? With Tennessee's history of player arrests and widespread drug use, it cannot be attributed to reputation. The "Fulmer Cup" is called that for a reason.

Auburn and Tennessee have had their best runs against Alabama, following NCAA sanctions against the Tide. When Alabama has stability and coaching, they dominate. What is happening now is not the result of Alabama skirting NCAA rules, it is the result of normalcy returning to the Capstone. Delusion is thinking that the ten years from 1997 to 2007 would become the norm.

Alabama may never again dominate the landscape of college football the way they did in the 1970's, but as Oklahoma, USC, and Ohio State have shown - it is possible to return to a high level of play and sustain it. In the SEC, Florida, Georgia, and LSU have been at a high level for some time now. Alabama fans are not delusional to think that is possible at the Capstone.

Auburn and Tennessee fans are delusional for thinking it impossible...improbable...or even unlikely.
im sorry but you cant beat Neyland stadium....92000 cant stand next to 106 000.....have you been there?Its a beautiful campus. gotta disagree about this one.

A Vol fan on crack. I was just in Neyland one glorious week ago. The place is an absolute dump. Firs of all, the reason there are 106,000 seats is because the aisles are way too narrow and there is absolutely no leg room. It is almost impossible to get out if you are sitting in the middle of a row. Two people can't pass each other going up and down an aisle. Compare to BDS which actually has handrails in aisles and easily can accomodate two way traffic.

They don't even have urinals in the bathrooms at Neyland. I don't thing I had peed in a trough since Legion Field about 40 years ago. The concourses are way too narrow.

You only have one jumbotron. If you are sitting under the south upper deck, you can't see it.

Neyland looks like it was built in 1960 and hasn't been renovated since. Sure, they have put in sky boxes for the fat cats, but for the masses, the place is a dump.

Only delusional Vol fans look at 106,000 in that sardine can of a stadium as a good thing. What they need to do is rip out one seat from each end of each row.
im sorry but you cant beat Neyland stadium....92000 cant stand next to 106 000.....have you been there?Its a beautiful campus. gotta disagree about this one.

Neyland is ugly. It is does not compare well to Bryant-Denney...but it is big if you have a 12" posterior. Bryant-Denney will be larger in a couple of years. It is already larger, but the seats are roomier. B-D is already nicer.

The point remains, the UT campus has nothing on the UA campus to justify higher recruiting rankings. UT campus is ok...but Knoxville is a very cold town. It feels almost industrial in the Detroit sense.

Its not like UT has Stanford's campus or Nebraska's weight room. UT has no built in advantage.

You must cheat to recruit well.
"You must cheat to recruit well." your saying this to me??? Really, I am not gonna touch that one. I will say that Kville is cold and has an industrial area,but to compare it to detroit is like me comparing tuscaloosa to Iraq....It doesn't make sense...

I usually enjoy and agree with your writings but this one I cant understand. I just dont believe we should be compared to Auburn ever......who besides ALABAMA has the most wins in the SEC ???? It aint Auburn.

AUBURN is the Most delusional team.....Not TN
maybe i am just upset in general....i just disagree with some of your stuff.its usually great.

You are missing the point.

"You must cheat in order to be successful" is the sentiment expressed by the Vol nation regarding Alabama. Any time Alabama has success, Auburn fans spew the same venom.

My point is, it is a two edged sword.

UT has no built in advantage that Alabama lacks...just the opposite. There are fewer top level recruits in Tennessee than Alabama. Alabama has better facilities and a better recruiting base.

If Alabama - the flagship institution in a talent rich state has to cheat - even with stability and great coaching...how do Auburn and UT do it?

When Auburn and UT fans scream "cheaters!" they should be looking in the mirror...it is just as valid.
Thanks chuck e.....While it is not the nicest place,it is a football mecca. The location and atmosphere make it very appealing,cold winters , yes, but theres more to a place than the weather. I agree with the Auburn things you said.....they are truly dilusional and the only reason they talk is the last 6 years..........go texas tech!!
im sorry but you cant beat Neyland stadium....92000 cant stand next to 106 000.....have you been there?Its a beautiful campus. gotta disagree about this one.
I cannot believe you had the plums to bring this up in light of this year's Bama-UT game!!!! We had 40,000 fans there MINIMUM!!!!! Please cut a brutha some slack!!!! And your campus is nothing to hoot and holler about. No better than Memphis.
Chuck-E-Cheeze said:
I agree with everything the Big Fan has said except the Knoxville stuff. Way off on that one. Very neat city with wonderful food. Neyland is getting a little outdated, but still an impressive place!

It hasn't been long since Knoxville was named one of the worst cities in America to drive in. The city has outgrown its infrastructure over the past 30 years and it feels congested and industrial.

There are a lot of good eats, but that is the case in a lot of cities that size.

Lexington and Knoxville are similar in size...I will take Lexington. It is much more comfortable. I guess it is preference. I like Sal's and the Chophouse. Ariyang Garden is nice...Istanbul Palace has great Turkish food. You can name great restaurants all day for both cities.

As I said, I don't see Knoxville as a recruiting advantage when you are going up against Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, etc. Then Tennessee recruits nationally, pulling recruits out of California. I don't see an advantage against Stanford and Cal, USC or UCLA.

There is not an advantage. Tennessee's facilities are dated. If there was an advantage, it would belong to Stanford or Georgia or any number of other teams...not UT.

Again, I think y'all are missing the point. What is the explanation for UT recruiting well? You cannot claim that they have the best facilities because they don't. The town is ok, but not great. The stadium is ugly...yes, ugly. Either the coaches are working their tails off and doing a good job, or they are cheating.

When Alabama's coaches work their tails off and recruit well, it does not matter. The Vols scream CHEATERS. It is a two edged sword. They have no built in recruiting advantage, and their talent in-state is below ours. We have better facilities and better in-state talent. With a coaching staff that works hard, we will recruit as well or better than UT...yet when we do, they scream that we are cheaters.

We have the advantages in recruiting...if they out recruit us, why? How?

I am not saying that they are cheating, I am saying that we are not...and we have more reason to claim that they are - than vice-versa.
We ( bama fans) are called delusional because we expect to win championships. We see bama's hands tied behind their backs since 99. Them hands ain't tied no more fellas .... Enjoy!!!!!
you may hate phil.....I most certainly do, but he is a good recruiter,or was for a long time. There will always be people from all teams that say you are cheaters after the scandal that alabama was affiliated with.....Was the NCAA wrong with how they dealt with things...Absolutely...Did Bama cheat back then???Who really knows, we sure dont. All I am saying is that you now have one of the top 5 recruiting coaches in all of Football and thats why things have turned around so fast. So why is it so hard to let the past be the past and move forward? I experience the same things, last year when we went to the SEC chapmionship all you heard all season was how they were a bunch of drug attics because of demarcus cocker. My point is that while Kville is not appealing to some,it is appealing to alot of people. It is just as rich in history and tradition as your school.
Big_Fan said:
UT has no built in advantage that Alabama lacks...just the opposite. There are fewer top level recruits in Tennessee than Alabama. Alabama has better facilities and a better recruiting base.

Geography also hurts UT. Sure, it may be the flagship university, but it is way over on in the eastern tip of the state. Washington, DC is almost as close to Knoxville as Memphis is. I think that some Vol fans in the eastern half of the state believe in some mythological allegiance to UT that exists state wide. The reality is that every SEC West team is closer to Memphis than UT is, as well as two SEC East teams. True, there isn't as much talent in the state of Tennessee as there is in Alabama to start with, but UT is in a very disadvantaged position to dominate state recruiting.
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