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Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. (Associated Press)

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. (Associated Press)

Hobbs: Sometimes company loves the misery

Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 10:15 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

LSU will have a new offensive coordinator for its football program today, a promising baseball season starts tonight and even the basketball program is showing some noticeable and encouraging progress.

But that doesn’t seem to be why LSU fans are smiling so much these days. Or why they have so much company around the Southeastern Conference.

For all the solidarity and regional pride the SEC can throw in your face — SEC! SEC! SEC! — nothing quite warms the average fan’s cockles like some true pain, some real suffering, some — best of all — inexcusable embarrassment visited upon a blood rival.

So Alabama stepped up to the plate big time this week.

The Tide won’t have to give back the BCS championship crystal.

Bama still piled on, ran up the score so to speak, by following it up with the nation’s best recruiting class.

Nick Saban is still worshipped as the best coach on this or any other planet.

But the never-ending victory lap the Tide was seemingly enjoying took brief pause early this week when four of Bama’s bulkier behemoths were arrested, three on second-degree robbery charges, another for fraudulent use of a credit card taken in a pair of separate attacks on unsuspecting Alabama students.

This should be sad news for anybody who cares about college football, for anybody who frets over the future of the country, the next generation on the way up.

Who knows? Maybe it’s even one of those classic sad commentaries on society as a whole we hear so much about.

But you really get the feeling that the rest of the SEC isn’t so much feeling the Tide’s pain as they are having trouble holding back a habitual case of the blind giggles.

That’s just life in the SEC’s fast lane, where no opportunity to taunt or light up message boards over another’s misery goes wasted.

Maybe the Big Ten or Pac-12 would lend a sympathetic ear to a foe under similar circumstances, but the stakes are much higher in the SEC.

Fans’ lives and self-esteem depend on it.

This is not right, of course, wrong on so many levels, and it can also be dangerous for the self-righteous.

For if the experience of college athletics teaches us any of life’s valuable lessons these days, it is to tread lightly because the very next barroom brawl or varsity crime wave could just as easily land on your own campus.

But this was Alabama, so it was far better for the rest of the SEC fan bases and they’re going to enjoy it while they can.

So far it doesn’t appear anybody has had the guts to suggest Nick Saban has lost control of the program.

I’m sure it’s coming now that Eddie Williams, Tyler Hayes and D.J. Pettway have confessed to their crimes, two separate incidents in which students walking across campus were allegedly beaten and robbed, one of them pummeled unconscious.

The fourth, Brent Calloway, was charged with using one of the stolen credit cards and, in a sign of the times, has taken to Twitter to point out “I wasn’t even awake during the robbery you don’t no (sic) what happened so don’t try me.”

It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to solve the case.

The use of the pilfered credit cards was traced to snack machines in Bryant Hall, which houses football players. Maybe it wasn’t the most well-planned crime of the century.

So this wasn’t boys being boys, according to the police reports, this was full-grown former four- and five-star recruits being thugs.

By comparison, LSU’s famous Honey Badger saga with Tyrann Mathieu was just a big misunderstanding. Even the regrettable Shady’s Bar incident of 2011 comes off looking like little more than a fraternity prank gone awry.

Even Alabama fans have been forced to take preemptive measures in the fan wars, expressing dismay that anybody would soil the Bama reputation, even question why Saban didn’t do more than merely suspend them all from the team indefinitely and good riddance.

I suspect Saban will get around to a more permanent justice on this one.

For now, though, the uplifting bright side for Alabama was that Samuel Jurgens, the young student who was rendered unconscious by his close encounter with the Tide, came through the ordeal with his loyalties intact.

He still loves him some Alabama football.

He got rolled by the Tide, but he was still Roll-Tiding.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

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