TUSCALOOSA — Friendly advice for you, Mississippi State: Don’t try poking a bear with a sharp stick again.
Or Bear Bryant’s old team. Just don’t. Seriously.
Don’t trash-talk the No. 1 team in the nation again. Especially when you have to play at their place.
We’re not talking about the MSU players or the coaches. They seemed fine all week. Maybe a bit overexcited, but fine.
Besides, even if they had said something vaguely semi-uncomplimentary, Alabama’s players don’t really read any of the places it would’ve been printed — newspapers, news websites or Internet message boards.
They do look at Twitter, however. In fact, some of them seem glued to it when they’re not in class, practice or games. They noticed your little “We Believe” campaign on Twitter.
They saw the photos of the “Alabama State Championship,” bragging “This is our State as well … We Believe.”
They noticed those other pictures of the Bear Bryant statue at night with a white “8-0” T-shirt on it.
“Ha Ha, we went over to Alabama’s stadium at night and put a shirt on the Bear statue! We’re so wild and crazy!” Sorry, but Auburn already did that two years ago. Don’t play dress-up with the statues anymore.
And all you did was make at least one Tide player mad: Safety Nick Perry posted that photo with these words: “Total disrespect.. Show no mercy!!!”
They noticed the night-time photos of the Nick Saban statue with a sign that read, “From behind enemy lines, We believe, 8-0.” Some of the Tide players re-posted that one on their Twitter accounts, too.
Also, is that really smart to go near that statue at night? Have you seen its scary eyes and the huge hands and feet? We have a theory that it comes alive at midnight and terrorizes the countryside before returning to its perch to slumber during the day.
We understand you were excited. Mississippi State hasn’t had a lot of success in football against Alabama, and when you have, something odd always happened.
The only time you beat Bryant at Alabama, the Tide fumbled as it was about to go into the end zone for the winning touchdown in the final minute. And then you nearly lost a fumble into your own end zone in the closing seconds.
The only time you beat Gene Stallings, Alabama missed an extra point in a one-point loss. The only time you beat Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide threw an interception at the goal line that you ran back 100 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half. You won by five points.
Heck, Mike Shula was 3-1 against you guys.
But instead of the stars aligning in your favor again Saturday night, a national television audience watched your team get schooled.
It reminded me of a story a former junior college baseball player told me about attending Calhoun Community College in Decatur. He figured his time there would serve as a springboard into pro baseball.
He had a teammate, however, who had more talent than anybody else on the squad and also worked harder and with more focus. It turned out to be Jorge Posada, who later put together a long and rich career with the Yankees.
After spending one day working out with Posada, this guy called his dad and told him he would work harder on his academics as he had promised he would: “I have seen what a major league player looks like, and I’m not it.”
On Saturday, you saw what a player in the national championship picture looks like. And you’re not it.
Keep trash-talking Ole Miss instead about those super exciting Egg Bowl wins, and leave Alabama alone until the day comes when you’re ready.