Many thanks to New York Times columnist, author of the best-selling sports fan book Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer (which you really need to read, even if you're a Vol fan), and Alabama blogger Warren St. John, who was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions regarding this week's Tennessee-Alabama game.
Alabama has taken the concept of Schadenfreude and set it to music with the post-victory singing of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. What are your two or three best memories of singing Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer after a big win?
Last year after the Tennessee game was a particularly heartfelt version as I recall.
[Here's the video to get your blood boiling. Warning: It's very loud.]
Alabama has lost only two games, to No. 6 Florida and to No. 13 Arkansas (a game it should have won), yet is unranked. Should the Tide be ranked, and if so, where?
Nope. Alabama simply isn't that good this year.
Is the near-deification of Bear Bryant by Tide fans mostly good or mostly bad for the Alabama football program?
That's a really good question. I'm not a high school football recruit, so I'm probably not the best qualified to answer. But it's interesting to consider that no current Alabama players were alive when Bear Bryant still walked the earth. On the other hand, the principles of "Bear-ness" -- being tough, working hard, playing with a sense of sportsmanship -- are probably good ideals to have infused in your team. It's hard to imagine an Alabama team, for example, ever engaging in the type of mayhem we saw duing the Miami-FIU game, and that may be a legacy of Bryant's.
How are you treated when visiting Knoxville in your school colors for football games?
I'm sad to say I've never seen a game in Knoxville. But it's bad luck for me to wear red, so when I do make a game there, I don't think I'll be bothered.
What are the three things you hate most about Tennessee and why?
I don't hate anything about Tennessee. I think Phil Fulmer is kind of scary and that Lisa Bensel Meyers got a raw deal. But nothing rises to the level of hatred. I'm a bluegrass fan so I actually like "Rocky Top."
What is your prediction for the game? Scenario and score.
Alabama will play Tennessee tight, but the Vols win handily. Alabama's defense is weak and the red-zone issues persist for the Bama offense. Cutcliffe has the Vols O working and the Vols certainly have the talent. Bama's only hope I'm afraid is for Ainge to get wiggy. Could happen, but if not, Tennessee 27-17.
Warren, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Vol fans, go buy Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. It may be from a Tide perspective, but it's a fantastic book that's really applicable to all college football fans.