By Jim Butler
The game on Monday night should have removed any doubt about the difference of the status of football in South Bend, IN and Tuscaloosa, AL. As my wife likes to say, "They thumped them." I guess that's a northern thing. It did fit for this game.
When the opposing coach indicates at halftime that his only chance is for the Tide not to come out for the second half, that just about says it all.
That score and the final football polls show just how much difference there is in the SEC and the rest of the football world. The conference was strengthened mightily by the addition of Texas A&M.
Finally, after a nine-win season, the Commodores made it into the top 25, ranking ahead of the Michigan Wolverines. Surely even Frank Gale can concur that Vanderbilt deserves such a ranking. Then if he doesn't, so what?
I know that my good friends Bob Wilson and Ronnie Pugh must be flying high and well they should be. Even when their team was down and being beaten regularly by the likes of Tennessee, they never lost heart. They tend to take ribbing better than most UT fans, also. It's a game of give and take, but I fear that those opposing the Tide will be on the taking end for some time. I guess you get what you pay for with a football coach. Saban is definitely top of the line.
Will Butch Jones have the same kind of effect in Knoxville? It's doubtful, but time will tell.
I do wish that the announcers picked for such a big game would be totally unbiased in their presentation. Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit continued to embrace the fact that they felt Alabama benefitted from an official's call, even after their expert agreed the call was correct. Then they quickly forgot that the first Irish touchdown was due to a missed call on a completion given to Notre Dame. I wish I could have listened to Eli Gold call the action. That would have been something.
As usual, I hate to see the football season come to a close and especially after this one that the throngs of Vandy fans have been able to enjoy so much. We'll all have a happy grin until fall rolls around again. We've had a good recruiting season and the future looks bright. I'm going to have to buy me some shades.
Keep a warm smile and let's help on these cold winter nights get out of here.
Go Jets! Go Panthers! Go USA!
(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)