Once, a random visit by UAB could spark the best home crowd of which SMQ was ever a part at Southern Miss. These days, the exuberance for the 3-8 Blazers is more likely to match that of the USM students who rushed the court after a last second shot beat visiting Birmingham in basketball a few years ago, inciting SportsCenter to quip on the highlight, "And later they're all riding home together!"
Whatever his company, fanaticism this week leads SMQ on campus for his regular chat with a blogger, reporter or other insider of the Eagles' upcoming opponent to visit with Dale Addison, sports writer for UAB's weekly student newspaper, Kaleidoscope. Dale and SMQ sat down over martini blends of olive juice, vermouth and gin with xanthan gum and calcium chloride dropped into a sodium alginate and mojito solution to form stable olive-shaped blobs to discuss problematized national imaginaries, false group identities ascribed to popular mystifications and the routine philosophical equation of the a priori and the synthetic with the a posteriori.
SMQ: The nation's gearing up, the hype is percolating for the Game of the Century: UAB at Southern Miss. At last! How is the campus holding up in Birmingham? Is there, like, any work getting done?
DA: All three of UAB's fans are hysterical right now about the game. Who would have ever thought the game of the century would feature two C-USA schools? Is Larry Eustachy throwing the after party? Of course, Playboy is running their issue featuring the girls of the C-USA at the beginning of next month. No wonder there is so much hype about this game. If Eustachy is throwing a party where Playboy and its beauties are the guest of honor, everything makes perfect sense. A note to all the readers : do not forget your camera. I repeat, DO NOT FORGET YOUR CAMERA! The words photograph, blackmail and Eustachy all seem to go together.
Larry has no idea what you're talking about.
SMQ: Mack Brown's brother: on the hot seat? Was his success so Darrell Hackney-derived?
DA: His seat is so hot that we have had to call in the fire department to put out the flame. Then again, no one at UAB cares about football. After all, UAB is not Alabama or Auburn. The Blazer fans really only care about basketball season.
SMQ: Corey White has been impossible to tackle on the EA Sports video games for four straight years. His ratings aren't that great, but he bounces off everything like he's Video Ironhead Heyward (please don't be too young to know Ironhead). Your other running back is white. What is up with that?
DA: I am not too young to remember Ironhead. He always reminded of Ram-Man off the He-Man cartoons. He was a human battering ram. As a matter of fact, Ram-Man just had his coming out party on Oprah. He confessed to being in a long, passionate relationship with Skeletor.
I had no idea Dan Burks was a white running back. Are you sure about that? Seriously, are you kidding? White boys can not run that fast. I swore that dude was afflicted with the disease that Michael Jackson has. Everyone on campus just calls him Thriller. Wow, that has pretty much left me speechless to know that he is white. UNREAL!
The day the kids don't recognize Ironhead is a day to be rued.
SMQ: Since it joined Conference USA, UAB hasn't beaten Southern Miss in six tries. How does that streak end Saturday?
DA: What does running around butt-naked have to do with football? Now that you mention it, nudity and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly.
SMQ: How has the university and Birmingham community reacted to the NCAA's efforts to remove the 'Blazer' logo as insensitive to burn victims, and the dragon for representing an affront to people who believe in fantastic animals (among other masculine and not-at-all nerdy acitivites)?
DA: Who would have thought that the burn victims of this world would have such a problem with a mascot that breathes fire? I just do not understand the problem. The community stands behind the program, logo and mascot. As for those role playing, action figure collecting, Star Trek dialogue speaking, glorified Napoleon Dynamites who still in their parent's basement at age 35, no one takes their threat seriously. The community nor the school care that they are offended by the use of a fantastic animal being a mascot. Everyone knows that they do not watch, understand, or compete in any sports, especially football. However, the school has set up a dungeons and dragons night on campus that is funded by UAB student fees in order to shut up their whining. You know how it is living in such a PC world.
A proposed non-fire-breathing compromise everyone can love.
SMQ: UAB: good medical school, right? What else?
DA: UAB has a great communications department, education department and engineering department. The school is more renowned for being one of the top research universities in the country.
In the scheme of things, what does education really have to do with anything? I was certain that colleges were only established to provide the community with sporting events. Are you trying to tell me that education is more important than entertainment? You speak blasphemy if you concede. Life should be SPORTS 24/7.
Sentiments with which only the NCAA could disagree. UAB and Southern Miss kickoff at 7 p.m. in Hattiesburg on something called CSTV.