OPINION: Organized chaos
Unstoppable force meets immovable object as ideologies collide
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 00:09
The simple archetype of chaos versus order has dominated storytelling for centuries, serving as the foundation for narratives that have captured the imaginations of millions.
Without it, there would be no Vader to Skywalker, Voldemort’s elite against Potter’s troupe or Batman’s principles contrasting the Joker’s mayhem.
And no Johnny Manziel to Nick
Saturday afternoon, Kyle Field will play host to more than just a gridiron battle between top-ranked Alabama and No. 6 Texas A&M. “The Rematch” stands as more than just a Southeastern Conference game — as important as those may be — or a petty revenge scheme for a program sporting crystal from three of the past four seasons.
The game marks a clash of college football’s opposing cultural ideologies, as Manziel’s chaotic unpredictability will face off against Saban’s ordered discipline in round two of what may be the best under-the-radar rivalry this sport has ever seen.
There is a reason the nation has descended upon College Station for Saturday’s matchup. If this were past seasons, experts and broadcast executives might have looked upon Monday’s rankings, seen No. 1 playing No. 6 and said, “There’s our GameDay location.”
But this time around, Sept. 14 has been the matchup circled on everyone’s calendar since last November.
Why? Because this game holds more meaning than rankings, crystal footballs or bragging rights. Rather, it’s a symbolic brawl between two ideologies vying for control of the sport’s future direction.
It’s a duel between two great extremes — conventional versus modern — and whichever is left standing when the final bell rings has the potential to either quell the uprising or initiate a revolution within college football itself.
It’s a lot of pressure, especially considering it’s only week three of the season.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban — The man has already chiseled out a position among the gods of college football as Zeus himself. Atop Mount Tuscaloosa, Saban has controlled the sport like a game of chess, encouraging discipline, order and structure within his subjects while smiting any who oppose his will.
Speaking of smiting, Saban has a reputation for taking revenge much like Darth Vader and the Empire, showing no mercy with his ground-and-pound offense while the “Imperial March” plays sinisterly in the background.
The last two challengers? Fellow SEC West opponents LSU and Auburn, who knocked off the Crimson Tide once before sustaining embarrassing defeats the following season (in LSU’s case, it was actually the same season).
Will the fate be the same for Texas A&M this Saturday? Maybe, but Saban may not be as focused on revenge this time around. In the previous two examples, Alabama maintained control throughout the game, yet had defeat snatched from the jaws of victory due to late heroics or inadvertent mistakes.
Saban repaid his opponents ten-fold during their next meeting. However, with Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M’s 29-24 upset over the Crimson Tide last season, it was A&M, rather than Alabama, who controlled the game. Saban had finally met his match, and he paid with a loss for underestimating Johnny Football and the Aggies.
The same won’t be true on Saturday, as Saban will certainly be over-prepared for Manziel and A&M’s air-raid offense, but vengeance should not be his motivation. Rather, the veteran head coach will seek to prove that his process — bound by order and discipline — works even against the best of opponents.
Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel — The sophomore, dual-threat quarterback stands a titan among men, and he has a bronze statue to prove it.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner garnered serious criticism during his rugged offseason, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s most magnetic, yet still lovable, rouges (think Han Solo, since I’ve already dug my Star Wars references).
Let’s put it this way: when some poor camera man has the job to literally train his feed on only Manziel throughout the entirety of Saturday’s game, the 20-year-old has some significant weight in terms of national influence.
When it comes down to brass tacks, though, Manziel’s personality should stand as no surprise. The quarterback’s style of play is unpredictable, versatile and adaptive with a touch of emotion when required. Sound like anyone you saw on E! News recently?
So what’s he fighting for against Alabama? Simply put, legitimacy. Many consider last season’s victory a fluke and Manziel a fake in “real” games, therefore a win Saturday would not only seal Johnny Football’s place in history, but also critics’ mouths around the country.
Ultimately, “The Rematch” marks the clash between college football’s modern face and its traditional persona, each with something to gain and a lot to lose.
My suggestion: enjoy it, because it’s going to be a classic.