Alabama Football: Drinking Our Way Through the 2012 Schedule


Crimson Tide spring practice is behind us, meaning we must only endure four more months of life without football. Since we have that time to kill, we should turn our attention to such happy activities as looking at the upcoming season’s schedule and planning our tailgating accordingly.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking the liberty of looking at the 2102 Alabama schedule, and pairing each game with the appropriate food and adult beverage. Of course, your suggestions are always welcome.

September 1 – Alabama vs. Michigan (Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX).  Most teams from power conferences schedule mid-major cream puffs for opening week, but in recent years Alabama has taken a different approach. In 2008 and 2009 the Tide opened the season in the Georgia Dome against nationally ranked opponents, Clemson and Virginia Tech, respectively. While these games do carry risks, the exposure and momentum that winning them provides has yielded positive results.

National TV prime time slots are never a bad thing, and beating a quality opponent in front of a large audience certainly helps in the polls. I’m not as worried about Michigan as I was in previous years about Clemson and Virginia Tech. Michigan plays in the B1G, the conference of slow players, absurd division names, and inflated senses of self importance. When its football teams aren’t embarrassing it on the field, the conference’s commissioner and school presidents are busy embarrassing it off the field. Commissioner Jim Delaney is all in favor of a playoff, provided the B1G receives special treatment and gets to keep the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State president Gordon Gee says something wildly stupid every time he opens his mouth.

I expect Alabama to give Michigan a sound beating, since the Wolverines feature a quarterback who likes to throw up wounded ducks that may or may not be in the vicinity of a receiver. For a young Alabama secondary, playing against Dennard Robinson should provide valuable interception practice.

Suggested food and cocktail: Beef Brisket and Shiner Bock beer; it is in Texas, after all.

September 8: Alabama vs. Western Kentucky.  A more traditional early season game features an overmatched opponent coming into Bryant-Denny to take a whipping and cash a check. I expect the Tide to throw often in the first half, allowing AJ McCarron to develop a game-speed rhythm with his new receiving corps. The second half should see lots of Eddie Lacy, Dee Hart, Jalston Fowler, Blake Sims and possibly TJ Yeldon steamrolling the Hilltoppers back to Bowling Green.

Suggested food and cocktail: Bourbon and fried chicken. While the state of Kentucky may not be proficient or even competent when it comes to football, it produces the world’s finest whiskies  and thoroughbred horses, so Kentucky, you have my respect. If you can’t find any of the Van Winkle bourbons for your tailgate I suggest W.L. Weller 7 year (about $15) or Eagle Rare 10 Year (about $20) for tasty and reasonably priced alternatives.

September 15: Alabama at Arkansas.  As they typically do, the Tide open SEC play against the Razorbacks of Arkansas.  This season Alabama travels to Fayetteville, and thanks to former coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle misadventures the road trip seem far less daunting. The Hawgs have Tyler Wilson at quarterback and that alone should keep the game competitive, since the 2012 Alabama secondary will be young and untested.  If the Tide can contain running back Knile Davis and run an efficient, ball control offense they have an excellent chance to leave Fayetteville with a victory.

Suggested food and cocktail: Pork BBQ ribs and John Dalys (Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade; think an alcoholic Arnold Palmer).  In the event of an early afternoon kickoff substitute pigs in a blanket and Bloody Marys.

September 22: Alabama vs. Florida Atlantic.  Hopefully for FAU fans this will be an early kickoff, so the citizens of Boca Raton can get to the Old Country Buffet by 4 pm and be in bed by 7.  Expect the Tide to win comfortably, but Alabama fans will still find something to complain and/or worry about. In order to make fun of others, we have to admit our own faults and insecurities. Admit it, many of you reading were less than thrilled with the effort against Kent State last season.

Suggested food and cocktail: Tapioca pudding and Old Fashioneds (one part bourbon, dash of Angostura bitters and a sugar cube muddled together).

In part two, we’ll look at our first matchup with new SEC East contender Missouri, as well as the Third Saturday in October.

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