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Yahoo! Sports declares Alabama ‘the center of the college football universe’

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Yahoo!’s Pat Forde recently made the trek down to Birmingham, Ala., the cradle of SEC Country, to find out for himself why Alabama and Auburn are so dang good at football.

His conclusion, which he comes to early on in his lengthy article declaring the state of Alabama “the center of the college football universe,” is that “it’s pretty simple – because they have to be. For a great many, quality of life depends on it.”

In the three days Forde spent traversing the state, he spoke to a wide variety of sports talk radio hosts, writers, historians and regular ol’ Alabama and Auburn fans.

Here are some of the best quotes Alabamians gave Forde for his article, which you can read in full here:

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and University of Alabama writing professor Rick Bragg:

I heard someone say, ‘College football is what we do instead of dueling,’ but I don’t think that’s right. It’s not that refined. I think it’s what we do instead of rioting. … The devotion and preoccupation has grown. It has not lessened. For good or bad, I think it’s grown. It’s swelling. … And over time comes the expectation. Anything less than being the best is insufferable.

Longtime coach Dale Pruitt, whose son Jeremy played at Alabama and is now defensive coordinator at Georgia:

It just means more. And that might be because we have less.

John, a caller to the Jox Roundtable, which Forde sat in on during his trip:

I think you’re chasing a unicorn – it’s hard to explain if you’re not from here. … My family’s schedule is dictated by football. That becomes the medium your passion goes through; Alabama and Auburn are the sides you’re given to choose from. … Wives are sometimes chosen by the quality of her tailgate. Not many things in life can bring a family together like football. You use what you’ve got, and here we’ve got football.

Richard, another Jox Roundtable caller:

I consider myself a stable person. I have a wife, four kids, I’m a lawyer. But nothing is more important in life than Alabama football. I’m not the best father, I’m not the best lawyer, but Alabama football is the best of the best. I would give my life to my country, but if Bryant-Denny [Stadium] were under attack, I would have no problem going down to defend it and giving my life to defend it.

Will, a third Jox Roundtable caller:

I think people have this backward – there’s nothing to do other than Auburn and Alabama football because who would want to compete with it? Who wants to put on a play of Shrek the musical on a Saturday night? … I’m engaged, and my fiancée wants to get married in October. My whole family vetoed that. We’d have 150 people RSVP and 25 people show up.

Former Auburn player Tom Banks:

I got asked to come to Tuscaloosa and meet Coach Bryant on more than one occasion. I didn’t want to. I wanted to go to Auburn and didn’t see the point of making a visit where I wasn’t interested in going. The people that go to Auburn love it so much, they have a connection and a heritage. Alabama has a lot of subway alumni – they may only set foot on campus on gameday.

Jox Roundtable co-host Lance Taylor:

I think the politically correct thing is to say, ‘I’m going to root for the state.’ But I wonder, at the end of the day, when Florida State was driving [against Auburn last year in the BCS championship game], how many Alabama fans were rooting for Auburn to hold? I’d say 80 percent of these fan bases hate the other team.

Jox Roundtable co-host Ryan Brown:

Hibbett Sports’ top two selling hats most weeks are Alabama, and whoever is playing Auburn.


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