Quick, what was the score in Saturday's Alabama-Auburn football game?
OK, good job.
Now, who is the secretary of state in Alabama?
Congrats to those three or four people who knew. For the others, let me give you another softball to hit.
Which of the two head coaches will likely lose his job within the next few hours despite winning a national championship two years ago? You must know that coach's name to be correct.
If you said Gene Chizik, congratulations again. His job is toast unless Auburn's administration decides a $7 million-plus contract buyout is too much to pay. I'd be shocked if he survives, especially now that the NCAA is snooping around again.
Now, who is the state's lieutenant governor? OK, OK, that is a tough one.
Answer this one. How do the governor and state Legislature propose fixing the Medicare system, lack of revenue to fund state services, the need to eliminate more teachers and overcrowding in prisons?
If you answered, "I don't know," congrats again because state leaders don't seem to have any idea, either.
For generations, the approach has been ignore it and maybe it will go away, so don't expect a big change.
Granted Saturday's Auburn-Alabama football game did not carry as much passion as normal. Obviously, that's because of the dreadful season Auburn had this year. It mercifully ended Saturday afternoon.
But Alabama and Auburn football continues to be more important in the eyes of at least 80 percent of Alabamians than how we function as a state during the other 364 days of the year. As long as we have football to fall back on, we don't seem to worry much about having to stand in line longer to get a car tag renewed. We don't worry about state prisoners being released early, nor do we worry about state highways that ride rough and force premature death to tire tread. At least it doesn't bother us until we're the ones standing in that line or forking out the money for new tires.
I've been a football fan all my life and previously made a living covering Auburn and Alabama games. So, don't label me as one "oh, one of those who thinks athletics is a waste of time." I happen to believe the state can embrace college football success.
There are serious problems facing our state, though. If we were all as passionate about solving those problems as we are about which team wins the annual Alabama-Auburn game, we would demand solutions from our Legislature and governor. Our quality of life certainly would improve.
If they cannot deliver, maybe we should look into a few more coaching changes in two years.
Mike Goens can be reached at 256-740-5740 or mike.goens@TimesDaily.com.