So here I was, all prepared to draw insightful parallels about how our games against UAB have represented the peaks and valleys of our program in the last 10+ years. But then the local sportswriters beat me to that punch. It's like they get paid to think up things like that...who knew.
Unfortunately, I can't even provide meaningful, in-depth comments based on a first-hand experience with UAB. I wasn't at any of the 3 games! And I didn't even get to watch 2 of those 3...so I guess I'm kind of depending on you guys to help me out here.
What do you all remember about UAB?
I've got nothing for the 2008 game. I was probably still upset about the UCLA game (revisit my Pac-10 retrospective for what a wonderful day that was), plus I was having a family reunion of sorts in DC. I didn't watch the game...though I guess it was deceptively positive. And probably hot.
I probably should have known the 2005 game wasn't going to go well. I had, for lack of a better phrase, "thoroughly enjoyed" one of the first Friday nights of sophomore year and was feeling the effects while watching the game on TV. There we were, coming off a solid 2004, ranked in the top 2 or 3 and ready for a big year. Gerald Riggs at RB. Erik Ainge at QB. Jason Allen, Kevin Simon, and Parys Haralson anchoring the defense. It was going to be epic! And yet, from the very beginning...it just wasn't quite right. We struggled immensely against a supposedly inferior team (that ended up having the same record as the Vols) but managed to squeak by. Despite this bad beginning, I fooled myself for the rest of September that this was going to be a good team. It obviously wasn't, and we should've known after the opener against UAB.
The 1998 team...now there was a good team. I'm not sure I fully appreciated what we had a chance to accomplish when we played UAB that November day. I was at a Bearden High School band concert when a murmur started to go through the crowd. Ohio State had lost! We were going to be #1! I'm sure the excitement was even more palpable at the stadium as we went on to beat the Blazers. Though the path was fraught with peril, we had navigated it successfully and reached the top of the heap. We'd have more nervous moments in our quest to stay there through early January, but the UAB win gave us the chance. Those were the days...
Anybody have any vivid memories from attending the games. Feel free to share them below. Let's recapture those positive memories on our way to bludgeoning the Blazers on Saturday!