- Ordered mustard, pickle, and onion on her hamburger without exception. (So she loved Krystals.)
- Was a stewardess for Northwest Airlines and living in Minnesota when she and Dad married.
- Liked and introduced me to peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.
- Was addicted to, at one time or another, NyQuil and Neo-Synephrine.
- Loved the ritual of an Episcopalian service. Grace in Anniston was my first church, and I vividly remember kneeling, standing, and sitting with her.
- Strongly preferred white lights to colored lights at Christmastime.
- Always had the iconic 6 1/2 oz. Coca-Cola bottle when we would eat at the Golden Rule BBQ.
- Owned a 1969 Chevrolet Brookwood named Herkimer, a 1977 Buick Estate Wagon named Osnoggle, a 1978 Chevrolet Caprice Classic named Rosemary, and a 1992 Honda Accord named Camellia.
- Never saw a Star Wars movie.
- Hated for anyone to touch her head.
- Howled to near-breathlessness at that stupid singing mounted fish.
- Didn’t trust people with what she judged to be thin lips.
- Stole from doctor’s examination rooms regularly and shamelessly. I see I told that one already some time ago.
- Once played ZAFTIG to crush my last hopes in a Scrabble game.
- Worried about my spiritual health when I came for a few days at Christmas and she saw The Fountainhead on my nightstand.
- Batted .200 on husbands.
- Remained the greeting voice on her widower’s answering machine a full seven years after she died.
- Finally figured out that she could keep her furniture store salesperson peers from stealing her lighter if it was a pink Bic jr.
- Thought that calling soft drinks “bellywashes” would temper my consumption of them.
- Once knocked over a traffic pylon with Osnoggle solely for the amusement of her children.
- Pretended to like my first fiancée.
- Pretended to dislike my second fiancée (and wife).
- Had ridiculously skinny legs. She used to tell of a high school classmate who would tease “don’t step in any Coke bottles, Russell.”
- Went through a brief but intense CB radio period. Her handle was Sugar.
- Adored the little colored plastic animals Sonic used to put on top of their milkshakes.
- Would exclaim “well, fuck me runnin’!” when others might have said “well, I’ll be!” or “how about that!”
- Missed meeting two grandsons who would have given her tremendous pleasure, and vice versa.
- Has my love now and forever. I miss you, Mom.
But with Alabama coalescing, we’re starting to hear whispers that a second Ole Miss loss may not be necessary; that even if Alabama doesn’t win the West, but wins out, it’ll get in the bracket on the strength of having closed with wins over LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn.
I don’t believe that, and you shouldn’t either.
There are just too many one-loss Power 5 teams right now, and too few remaining opportunities for enough of them to lose again. The current non-SEC, non-FSU one-loss teams that could plausibly win out: Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan State, TCU, Kansas State, Baylor, Ohio State, Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, and Utah.
(East Carolina has one loss and may win out, but their one current loss is likely fatal, as it would be for most non-Power-5 teams. Marshall hasn’t lost, but won’t get in. And I’m assuming Duke will perish in the ACC championship game, if not before.)
Now there’s still some carnage to come. The current gaggle of one-loss teams will shrink considerably, because a lot of them still have to play each other. All of the following games are on deck:
- Oregon vs. Utah
- Michigan State vs. Ohio State
- Notre Dame vs. Arizona State
- TCU vs. Kansas State
- Baylor vs. Kansas State
Then, championship games will prune the list further. Nebraska could win out its regular schedule and have only 1 loss, but then it must play the Michigan State/Ohio State winner. So another 2-loss team is guaranteed from that group. Same story with Oregon—win out, but then it must play (probably) Arizona or Arizona State. So the Pac-12 championship will probably produce another 2-loss team.
Fast-forward to the actual brink. It’s the morning of December 7, and Ole Miss didn’t lose again in the regular season. Florida State will get a slot. The SEC champion (which cannot be Alabama without that second Ole Miss loss) will get a slot. There are two more, and the following hopefuls:
- Alabama (11-1)
- Michigan State (12-1)
- Notre Dame (11-1)
- Oregon (12-1)
- TCU (11-1)
There are three conference champions in the list. Two of them won a conference championship game. Are you seriously telling me Alabama gets the nod over three of these teams?
Folks, absolutely no one outside the South thought the Alabama-LSU national title game was a good thing. I’m delighted Alabama got in, and I’m delighted they won. But do you remember all of the furious anti-SEC politicking ahead of the final polls? Do you remember that Oklahoma State was a hair’s width from jumping Alabama and getting in, despite a ridiculous loss to hapless Iowa State?
The committee—the grand, new way, not the bad old BCS—is simply not going to run a philosophical repeat of 2011 in its first outing. Alabama must have that second Ole Miss loss. The first of two realistic chances for it is this weekend.
Crimson Nation, it’s time to gird up and be Auburn fans.
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