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Little Donkey at AvondaleBricksGallery
Enjoy tapas from Little Donkey, Wine Tasting by Athens Imports, Art Exhibition Opening. $15. Friday, November 30, 5-9 p.m.
Visit us during the Avondale/Forest Park Holiday Crafts Bazaar at Avondale Bricks Gallery, 130 41st Street South in Avondale. Must be 21 for wine tasting.
Write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or questions. Thank you for joining the Revolution in Avondale.
The Futurebirds and Lee Bains and the Glory Fires played Bottletree, Tuesday. The headliner, Dead Confederate, recently received some press regarding their new album, Sugar. After doing a leg of a tour with Dinosaur Jr., Dead Confederate teamed up with Dinosaur producer, John Angelo, for the new album. But I didn’t go to the Bottletree to see Dead Confederate. I went because of a buzz surrounding this band with a cool name—Futurebirds. Of course, it’s always great to see Lee Bains do his thing. In fact, Tuesday was the first time I’ve seen his new group, Lee Bains and the Glory Fires, and I was impressed.
Anyone who goes to see local, original bands has most likely seen Bains with his former project, Arkadelphia, or as one of the many guitarists the Dexateens have featured over the years. Bains is one the most exciting performers to see in Birmingham. He can rip the guitar, he sweats, he moves and he sings his ass off. In a way, he’s sort of like Rudy, except with a heap of talent. You know, he’s the guy giving it the most energy out there, but there’s no question of whether or not he makes the team. Tuesday night, he killed it. His new outfit, the Glory Fires, are overstaffed but competent.
Bains’ new tunes retain the southern qualities of his Arkadelphia days, but he seems to be leaning towards some soul influence. It sounds like he’s been listening to plenty of Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul recordings from the 60’s and 70’s. I told him his singing channeled Eddie Hinton, which is an incredible compliment as far as I’m concerned. His new songs have a groove absent in his previous output, and, personally, I think he should dive into this mode head first.
His rhythm section, Blake Williamson and Justin Colburn, possesses the ability to achieve vintage soul grooves, which is rare. They should, however, refuse to be called the Glory Fires. This paints a lewd picture in my head of a bathroom stall with a circular cut-out. The Glory Fires also have two sharp guitarists other than Bains, and, as good as they are, they are not needed. As I mentioned, Bains can sing and play guitar—I mean he can do it. Having three guitarists likens them to the Dexateens and other southern rock bands unnecessarily. It also makes them louder and less focused than they could be. I’m not saying cast away their southern roots, I’m just saying two guitarists with their kind of ability is plenty. Although, I would love to see them add someone on organ and keys sounds. Overall, they were great, and, as new as they are, they could become a local force.
All that being said, the highlight of the night was Futurebirds, another band from Athens, Ga. They were lighthearted and seemed to be having a great time. The entire set they were jumping around, enjoying themselves. They have six members, four of which are singers in the band. These four members also switched instruments, some or all of them playing electric and acoustic guitar, banjo and drums. The bassist and pedal-steel player stayed put. The band successfully played songs written by four different members and still retained a focused, defined sound. This is a unique achievement. Their genre on myspace is listed as, “bro-fi,”—fabulous.
Their reverberating sound was reminiscent of other indie bands heavily influenced by Americana and other roots music. Their harmonies weren’t as tight as the Fleet Foxes, and there guitar work was not as intricate as My Morning Jacket, but they have the enthusiasm and style to more than make up for there lack of technical ability. I like a loose band anyway. It shows that they’re living rather than rehearsing, which is so much better. Their quartet of singing was fantastic, creating huge refrains over a sea of pedal-steel and guitar saturated with reverb. The band is distinctly southern without being hokey and viable on the indie music scene without being pretentious.
I regret having missed Dead Confederate. They played after Futurebirds, and it was past my bedtime. I haven’t heard it yet, but check out their new release called, Sugar. Also, Futurebirds have an album out named, Hampton’s Lullaby. Lastly, I hear there will be a release, recorded by Tim Kerr, from Bains and them. When? I don’t know.
[Editor's note: Grey may have missed Dead Confederate, but for more info on them, see Birmingham Weekly music writer Brent Thompson's feature about them.]
Saturday saw the return of a behemoth of the Birmingham sports world – Charity Mudbowl. Okay, so it’s the younger sister tournament of the biggest Ultimate (Frisbee) tournament in Alabama, Mudbowl. And you probably haven’t heard of Mudbowl either. In fact, there’s a good chance you don’t even know what Ultimate is. So you might be surprised to find that there is a substantial subculture that has a foothold in our city.
Ultimate – a sport played with a disc (a Frisbee to the layperson… isn’t being pretentious fun?) – combines elements of football, basketball, and soccer into a distinct and fun game of fast breaks and huge throws, called hucks. Zone defense, layouts, sky-high catches, and Callahans (kind of like a safety, it’s when a defender intercepts a pass in the opponents endzone for a score) are some highlights of an exciting, fast-paced game that athletes and fans from all walks of life can appreciate. Precision passing and methodical movement are essential for more competitive levels, levels of skill that all sports enthusiasts can a enjoy and respect.
Ultimate is played on a field laid out much like a football field, 70 yards long with two endzones 25 yards deep with a width of 40 yards. Each team puts seven “on the line” (you start at your endzone before the pull, which is like a kickoff). The disc is moved by throwing it from person to person, with the holder of the disc unable to move. You score by throwing it to a person into the endzone – kind of like football with no running game.
BUDA (Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association) is the governing body for Ultimate in Birmingham. BUDA sponsors annual summer and winter leagues as well as men’s and women’s traveling teams. Summer League 2010 is comprised of 16 teams with rosters of 20 players. Lawyers and writers, doctors and teachers, businesspersons, the unemployed, writers, bankers, pastors, and more. People with football backgrounds, basketball, baseball, soccer, and no athletic background at all.
Charity Mudbowl is indicative of this diverse population of Ultimate in Birmingham. 8 teams participated: BE & K, Jim ‘N’ Nicks, Alabama Power, Regions, Merrill Lynch/BBVA Compass, Redeemer/Mountain Brook Community Churches, UAB, and Southern Progress.
Held at George Ward Park, games were fun and competitive. Each team played 3 pool games with the top 2 from each advancing to the semifinals. BE&K played UAB while RCC/MBCC matched up against Merrill Lynch/BBVA Compass with BE&K and RCC/MBCC advancing to the finals.
RCC/MBCC emerged as the victors defeating defending-champion BE&K 13-11 in an exciting and competitive game throughout. RCC/MBCC led at the half 7-6. BE&K came roaring out of the gates, taking the first 3 points following halftime. RCC/MBCC tied the game at 10, then again at 11. Intense defense dominated the last two points, but it was the church-folk who came out on top.
All-in-all the day was great. Good spirit (that’s what we hippies like to call attitude and sportsmanship), good play, and good fun was displayed by most of the participants. But more important than the “Mudbowl” part of the tournament was the charity. All the money raised went to support Pathways.
2010 Pathways Mud Bowl Sponsors
Title Sponsor: Regions Bank
Platinum Sponsor: Southern Progress Corporation
BE&K / KBR
Mountain Brook Community Church and Redeemer Community Church
Robinson Fast Tax Service
Lunch Sponsor: Jim ‘N Nick’s
Total raised: $8,500
According to an employee, "Pathways will be able to provide 586 days of shelter and meals for the homeless women and children of Birmingham. That means 20 women and children in need will get the basics they need for a month, thanks to your support for Pathways. Our mission is to end homelessness for women and children through hospitality, housing, and hope. With your support, which represents the communities we live and work in, Pathways will continue to grow and serve those in need.”
Cheers to a great day full of sports, fun, and lending a hand! Thanks to all who participated and donated.
Oh, and come play Ultimate. It’s super fun.
The Grenadines of Birmingham performed their haze of modern psychedelic-pop, Saturday night. Their tunes shift, touching on varying genres effortlessly, but their identity is defined by the dynamic of spouses, Michael and Lauren Shackleford. She seductively sings in almost whispering tones, swings her hair wildly during instrumental breaks and shakes that tambourine. He sometimes sings along with a smooth edge, often in a lower octave, takes the lead vocal on certain numbers and hangs lead guitar tones in the air with delay and reverb.
The Grenadines have been playing around in Birmingham for at least 3-4 years, and I haven’t always been a fan, but they haven’t always been that good. They were never bad, but now they’re among the best groups in town. They figured out how to grab an audience at a rock venue/bar—by playing rock. This may sound crazy, but it’s true. I seem to remember them as a sleepy band. Now, I was younger, and maybe part of what’s changed is my taste. But, they have energized their sound, allowing it to rise above the chatter of the hip places in town to hear live music. Saturday, they opened for the almost commercially successful mid-80’s group Carnival Season, at Bottletree. This group brought an older audience whom, at least some of which, were still entranced by the Grenadines’ sedated rock.
The stage lights shone red light on the band for much of the show and it would have been contenting for it to have stayed that way. The color suits them. They looked like a band that might have played at a dive during the filming of Easy Rider.They are not trying, however, to recreate the mid-late-sixties. There is a darkness about them that sets them apart. They employ sounds and write songs that don’t pigeon-hole them in such a way. Primarily, the use of feedback and guitar effects, especially delays, enables them to transcend this pitfall. Unfortunately, Saturday, they relied too heavily on using a wash of delayed guitars and knob twisting. On multiple songs, they used this method as a sort of outro. It certainly isn’t terrible, I like that they are making some noise, but on their demo the sounds are more textured and the ideas are executed more precisely.
The Grenadines demo, which they were selling at the show for five bucks, is pretty impressive. It’s seven tracks recorded at the Shacklefords’ home studio. Hearing the demo resulted in excitement for their upcoming releases. According to Michael, they will be releasing two EP’s simultaneously. One was recorded with Lynn Bridges and the other recorded separately. He continued in saying that, initially, they planned to release all of the tunes as a full length LP, but the two separate recording atmospheres yielded two different results. He did not reveal the release dates. Maybe he wasn’t entirely sure yet, but I’m anxious for it. A quality official release from these guys is past due. They have been perfecting their sound far too long, and at some point, you just have to let it go. The Grenadines have the ability to make great records and play more shows. I expect that they will. If you’re in Auburn Thursday, September 2, you can check out their next show at the Independent.
[Editor's Note: Birmingham Weekly would like to welcome Grey Watson to it's ranks. Grey will be writing about local music and other topics under the banner of this new blog, Kinetoscope. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that Grey plays with the band Through the Sparks, who he discusses below.]
BAAM!, Birmingham’s new-born festival, exceeded expectations last weekend. The weekend-long festival brought adequate crowds at many venues, but in some cases, eager listeners came out in droves. Of course, there were some shows with very little turnout, but this is to be expected for a freshman attempt at a festival with mostly local acts. The most exciting event of the weekend turned out to be the Skybucket Records Showcase at Rogue tavern, on Saturday evening.Four bands represented the Skybucket roster including: Vulture Whale, Through the Sparks, 13 Ghosts and, the most recent addition to the label, the Delicate Cutters. Each of the bands proved themselves capable of capturing the attention of the sizeable crowd that attended the showcase. Vulture Whale, especially, excited an audience ready for their rowdy, hilariously sardonic rock-n-roll. They combated independent music clichés with straight-rock riffs, riveting solos, a rock-solid rhythm section and songs that compelled singer/songwriter/guitar player, Wes McDonald, to sarcastically announce, “this is a song for all the cool people.”
There are many variables that make Vulture Whale so good. Perhaps the greatest is that they don’t take themselves too seriously, and they manage to sound as tight as any rock band around. They’re also down-to-earth, avoiding gimmicks or fleeting fads. They stick to kicking you in the eardrum with quality tunes. After their set, manager of Renaissance Records of Southside, Ramy Noureddini, said, “Lester Nuby (VW’s lead guitarist) almost made me pass out.”
Nuby’s guitar work was ambitious and nearly flawless. Bassist, Keelan Parrish, played aggressively without error. Jake Waitzman, the drummer, demonstrated technical ability without sacrificing character. Front man, Wes McDonald, excited the audience with his unique showmanship: throwing his hands up in the air, pointing to the audience, kicking the air, and even foregoing his guitar on a couple of tunes to further mobilize himself. Skybucket couldn’t ask for a better closer for their already distinguished group of acts.
Through the Sparks, the third band scheduled for the showcase, impressed the audience with their versatile, yet focused sound. The five-piece group had a well-developed show with an intrigued audience. The band has continuously made great recordings, recently putting out a single for free download, monthly. Their second full-length album arrives in November. Singer/guitarist, Jody Nelson, is a songwriter of rare ability. In the song, “Squares,” he sings, “I held her as close as the low-flying planes,” and later continues with, “you know love ain’t for the sane.”
The band pays more attention to arrangement than their label mates, which is important for a band with more instrumentation. James Brangle comfortably switches from organs, to electric pianos and guitars, offering a variety of melodies, embellishments and motive development. Greg Slamen and Shawn Avery, bassist and drummer, lock in tightly and fill space creatively. TTS provided a nice transition, playing betwixt the rock of 13Ghosts and Vulture Whale.
Skybucket veterans, 13Ghosts, came to play a rock show Saturday night, and they did not disappoint. According to their leader, Brad Armstrong, this was their first show in about a year. It’s possibly the best they’ve ever been. It was loose and raw with Armstrong as the sole guitarist, and Jason Lucia drumming in the pocket. Along with bassist, Sammy Boggan, and A. Vernon on auxiliary sounds and loops, 13Ghosts create modern indie rock sounds, grounded in folk and blues roots. The band exudes a blue-collar vibe without sacrificing a shred of artistry. They set the tone for the rest of the evening.
The newest addition to the Skybucket roster, Delicate Cutters, made their debut performance as Skybucket artists. Janet Simpson, a captivating singer and songwriter, switched between guitar and piano. Their violinist, Kevin Nicholson, offered a refined touch to simple arrangements. Their sound can reach out to a more mature audience, and they are a nice addition to Skybucket Records already stellar cast.
Overall, I count BAAM as a success with plenty of room to grow. It should serve as a learning experience and confidence booster for those who coordinated it. It needs more exposure, further in advance. The flow of the Skybucket Showcase at Rogue Tavern was fabulously executed, and the success was well-deserved. The bands fit well together, perhaps because they are on the same label, but the same cannot be said for all BAAM festival shows. Musicians should be placed with other acts more carefully so audiences can see shows that compliment each other. Also, it would be advantageous to bring in some slightly larger touring acts to draw bigger crowds. Regardless, Birmingham needed something new to happen for its local music scene, and it’s good someone has stepped up.
Cliff Lee spurned the aggressive advances of the Yankees and the sweet seduction of the Rangers for a little brotherly love. While the Rangers and the Yankees appeared to be the top 2, in fact the only 2, contenders to land Lees services for the 2011 season and beyond. According to many sources, whoever sweetened the deal with a 7th year would have the inside track to land Lee.
Then, out of nowhere, at the proverbial eleventh hour, the Phillies swooped in and sunk their battleships. The Phillies offered Lee a 5 year/$120 million contract with an option of a 6th year. A sizeable sum, in fact it would be the 5th highest contract for a free agent pitcher ever, but smaller than the Rangers 6 year/$138 million with a vesting option for a 7th year at $23 million, and much smaller than the Yankees 7 year/$154 million offer.
According to ESPN.coms Jerry Crasnick, Lee's deal includes $107.5 million in salary, a $12.5 million buyout and a $27.5 million vesting option that kicks in if he pitches 200 innings in 2015 or a combined 400 innings during the 2014-2015 seasons.
That means Lee is leaving about $30 million on the table. That's incredible at all, much less considering the pay-for-play (to borrow the term) culture of professional sports today. The past few years its been all about the individual and the money the individual can make. This is clearly about more than money. This is about winning. This is about going back to a place where both he and his family felt comfortable.
Lee said that he never truly wanted to leave in the first place. The Phillies traded Lee in the offseason for fear that they couldn't resign him. Instead, they waited and pulled off an enormous coup in landing Lee a second time.
Lee joins a Phillies staff with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels that has collected Cy Youngs and World Series MVPs like they are baseball cards, giving the Phillies rotation a chance to be one of the greatest of all time, challenging to join the ranks of the great Braves rotation of the 90s, the Orioles of the early 70s, and the Tigers of the 40s.
Will they do it? We'll soon find out. But that much firepower on offense and depth in the rotation, plus National League competition, seems to put the odds in the Phillies favor. Bad news for the Braves and the rest of the league.
The first BCS rankings of the year were released yesterday. And to no one’s surprise the No. 1 team was … Oklahoma? You mean the team that barely beat Utah State? The same team that barely beat Air Force – who, coincidentally, lost to the mighty Aztecs of San Diego State on Saturday? Yep, that team. I get that they beat the crap out of Florida State. And they beat Texas; well, so did a questionable UCLA team. I just don’t understand the logic. The BCS continually defies my, albeit limited, comprehension.
Here we have Oregon, the unanimous No. 1 in both polls (which comprise two-thirds of this mad scientist’s experiment) coming in at No. 2 in the BCS because some computers decided they were only the 7th best team in the country. I don’t get it. It seems like the Ducks should be statistical crack to the computers. Oregon is 1st in Scoring (points scored) and 16th and scoring defense (points allowed). That’s pretty nice. The Oregon offense has amassed 326 points on the season, never scoring less than 42 in any single game. The defense has only allowed 98 points. That’s an average margin of victory of 38 points per game. The closest game they have played all season was a 42-31 affair at Arizona State.
Now Oklahoma. They are 17th in scoring and 28th in scoring defense. They beat the aforementioned Utah State, Air Force, plus the Cincinnati Bearcats by a combined 12 points. I don’t get it. I understand that beating the crap out of Florida State who is ranked 17th in the BCS and a very, very shaky Texas team who sits at 19th in the BCS, helps the Sooners strength of schedule and eye test and whatever else you want to throw at me. But shouldn’t the sloppy, less impressive wins hurt you comparatively? I guess the computers have a Big Name recognition program. (They’ll probably just lose in a BCS game anyway).
I just can’t fathom how the computers can be so down on Oregon and so high on an Oklahoma team. Or how they can even put the Sooners ahead of high-flying Boise State Broncos. Now, no one is harder on said Broncos than me, but raw statistical has to be highly in favor of the boys from Boise. That “strength of schedule” algorithm or equation, or whatever they use, must be highly weighted in the computer rankings, and highly weighted towards Oklahoma.
Ah well, call me old fashioned, but I think the BCS should be scrapped. Give me the bowls any day over this half-guessing, half-scientific and completely ludicrous method. At least I know the bowls are built upon tradition. They’re fun. The pageantry is second to none. They’re college football. And they’re honest about the ambiguity. They don’t try to announce to the world that they have definitively given me a national champion.
The BCS only “works” when things completely outside of the BCS’ power falls into place (i.e. only 2 undefeated teams). Basically, it’s luck. It’s the worst of the bowls with none of the equality of a playoff.
Or…here’s a crazy idea. Let’s add a plus-1 or an 8-team playoff. At least give us a Final Four. Don’t get rid of the bowls. Use the BCS bowls. That’s a great set-up. Use the championship game as the plus-1. You still have the Rose, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar Bowls in tact. Plus the myriad of other bowls. It’s great. I can’t understand the logic against it. But again, my comprehension skills are rather limited.
Well, that’s enough time spent on my soapbox. Besides, this is a mess that doesn’t look like it will be cleaned up any time soon. Thanks TV contracts.
It was a big week for the Auburn Tigers. Last Saturday, the No. 1 ranked Tigers handled the No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, held annually at the Georgia Dome. Auburn won the game decisively, 56-17.
Cameron Newton and Nick Fairley grabbed some hardware for the trophy case. Fairley won the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top lineman. Fairley was able to join his line coach Tracy Rocker, who took home the award in 1988, as the only Tigers to win. The Associated Press named Fairley as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Fairley was also a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player.
Nick Fairley and teammate Lee Ziemba were named to the Football Writers Association of America’s All-American team. Notoriously absent from the FWAA’s list was Cam Newton. I think he’ll manage.
Newton has had a clean sweep during the award season taking home the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top QB and the Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards for the nation’s most outstanding player.
But the crown jewel of all is the Heisman Trophy. Newton received this most coveted hardware on Saturday in New York. Cam joined Pat Sullivan (1971) and Bo Jackson (1985) in the school’s Heisman club. Newton won the award in a landslide. He received the 6th most first place votes and the 3rd highest percentage in the history of the award, despite being completely left off of 105 ballots.
All was not perfect in New York, however. Newton’s father, Cecil, did not make the journey to the award ceremony amidst the cloud of scrutiny swirling around him after the NCAA’s ruling that he was involved in shopping around his son’s services. This did not prevent Cam from standing up and speaking firmly about his father. In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Fowler Newton expressed adamant pride and love for his father, stating that at the end of the day, he knows his father has his best interest at heart.
Now Newton and the Tigers prepare for their greatest challenge, the Oregon Ducks and the national championship game.
Auburn got some good news heading towards the game, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn turned down an opportunity to become the head coach of Vanderbilt. Malzahn also added to the Tigers’ trophy case, winning the Browles award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
The Tigers look to finish off their dream season with a win in the National Championship game, January 10th against the Oregon Ducks.
Cam Newton is cleared to play. The NCAA ruled Wednesday that his eligibility is no longer in question. Auburn is in no danger of forfeiting wins. And both are cleared to proceed without impunity or condition for the rest of the season.
From NCAA V.P. for Academic and Membership Affairs Kevin Lennon: "Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement. From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation . . . Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible."
Auburn AD Jay Jacobs released a statement Wednesday acknowledging the NCAA for its thoroughness and fairness, and of course ruling in their favor. “We are pleased that the NCAA has agreed with our position that Cam Newton has been and continues to be eligible to play football at Auburn University. We appreciate the diligence and professionalism of the NCAA and its handling of this matter," said Jacobs.
While Cam is cleared, Cecil maybe not so much. It was decided that Cecil did act improperly but did so without Cam’s or Auburn’s knowledge.
Cam and the Tigers prepare to face the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. The title game is a rematch of September 25th meeting in which Auburn won 35-27. But Auburn was playing at home, and South Carolna did have the Tigers down 20-7. So the rematch should be interesting. It’s never easy to beat a team twice in one season.
Well, it seems to fit the Jeopardy! m.o—an answer in the form of a question. Many questions, actually. How do T.O. and Ochocinco co-exist? Where does the renewed Cedric Benson fit in (if he isnt suspended)? What about Antonio Bryant? Is T.O. actually good anymore? Can Carson Palmer cope with all the attitude and attention?
Only time will tell. If nothing else, there will certainly be a lot to tell. Shenanigans and hoop-la will be in high gear, of that I'm certain. The T.O. Ochocinco tandem will be exciting to watch, on and off the field.
The Bengals won the AFC North last year. Thats right sports fans, those Bengals. They beat out the defending-champion Steelers (who didnt even make the playoffs) and perennial division powerhouse Ravens to swipe one of the most hotly contested and competitive divisions in football. Its just not normally them competing. And not only did they compete they dominated, sweeping the division (6-0).
In a division always ruled by defense, the Bengals fit right in last season. They were ranked in the top ten against both the pass and the run 6th and 7th, respectively. And all of that was without some key players for most of the season. DE Antwan Odom (you might remember him from his days at Alabama) and LB Keith Rivers missed the majority of the season. DT Tank Williams was hampered by a foot injury all season. Safety Roy Williams was in and out of the lineup more times than he had tackles it seems. Nonetheless, they are a strong unit led by LB Dhani Jones in the middle. The 2010 version should be even better if it can stay healthy.
With a defense that kept the team in most ball games last year, consistently forcing turnovers in key situations, the Bengals showed a new side to the NFL and everyone else watching. They ran the ball and did it well. The hitherto underachieving Cedric Benson exploded for 1,251 yards, scoring 6 times. And he did it all in 13 games. Add in backup Benard Scott who is a speedy, explosive back that offers an excellent change-of-pace option, plus that solid defense, and you have a recipe for success.
The question was the passing attack. What had been the Bengals strong suit in the past, behind the arm of Carson Palmer and a flashy core of receivers, the Bengals ranked a kitten-like 26th in the NFL last season. Enter Terrell Owens.
He used to be a physically dominating presence on the field, a great deep threat that was strong enough to cross the middle of the field as well. While he is still physically impressive on the sidelines and in front of the camera, his numbers on the field are not. Catching only 55 passes for 829 yards last season, T.O. had the worst season of his NFL career since he was a rookie way back in 1996 (barring the injury shortened season of 2005 when he only played 7 games). But hey, perhaps that is due to the horrid QB situation in Buffalo. But T.O. seems to create terrible QB situations.
So why add a guy like that to the Bengals who are finally on the upswing? Well, they have almost no depth and experience at wide receiver for starters. Chad Eight-five is pretty much the only established receiver besides new signee Antonio Bryant, who didn't exactly light it up down in Tampa. Carsons got to have someone to throw the damn ball to, right?
And for some reason, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals are very adept at handling some of those over-the-top diva personalities (e.g. Cedric Benson, Chris Henry, and Ochocinco).
Maybe T.O. can be Batman to Ochocincos Robin (Chads choice). It should be exciting to watch anyway. Youre fall reality show is set.
Current Alabama and Auburn players on the Bengals roster include DT Pat Sims (Auburn), OL Andre Smith (Alabama), DE Antwan Odom (Alabama), and OL Evan Mathis (Alabama).
But this week, Ingram was back and healthy and ready to go. After being cleared to play, Coach Nick Saban placed Ingram back in his familiar spot as the starter. It didn’t take Ingram long to remind people why he is the starter and the defending Heisman winner. On his first carry, Ingram broke loose for a 48-yard run down the sideline. Granted he was running against Duke’s porous defense, but Ingram came out on fire. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark on his first three carries, busting a 50-yard run after his 48-yard first touch (there was a short run in between, but not nearly as fun).
On the day Ingram carried the ball 9 times for 151 yards, reaching the endzone twice. It looked like he was playing against high schoolers. He was simply too strong, too quick, and too fast for Duke’s defenders. The only one capable of stopping him on Saturday was Saban, who limited him to only 9 carries.
The final score was 62-13, Alabama winning in a landslide. This was the most points Alabama has scored in a single game since Zach Morris was ordering pizza during school with his backpack-sized cell phone (just shy of two decades). The champs and Ingram look impressive in the early going as they look to repeat.