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(Ed. Note: the following is what I wrote for our tailgate blog. It has been modified slightly to remove names and content specific to that blog)
On April 4, 1865, Gen. John T. Croxton and his cavalry brigade of the Union’s Army of the Cumberland, raided, seized, and burned Tuscaloosa and the campus of the University of Alabama. There are only a few buildings, including the President’s Mansion, that still stand from this horrific event. Just five days before Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House and within the last months of active fighting in the War Between the States, the full effect of the horrors of that war were felt in Tuscaloosa.
What, you ask, does this have to do with a football game? Two things, if you want to know the truth: First, there has not been an event in Tuscaloosa in the span of 144 years since that tragic affair bigger than what will happen this weekend and second, we will have more than old men and boys to defend against the invaders this time.
The game this weekend is the culmination of thirteen years of misery and the slow return to glory. This is the type of game that everyone dreams of.
So here we are, our team has sat atop the polls all season, the respect that has been denied for so long has finally returned, and we have returned to our rightful place among the nation’s elite. The talk of conference and national championships is now more than just talk. It is all right here in front of us, ripe for the picking. But at least for now, all that lies in front of us is LSU.
The glorious warrior-poets of the Crimson Tide will battle the fighting Tigahs of LSU this weekend in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 2:30 in a game broadcast nationally by CBS. On the line is not only our pride, the pride of our coach, and our #3 national ranking, but a guaranteed birth in the SEC Championship game, a chance to take our unblemished record into the final three weeks of the season, and a continued march toward a 13th national championship.
I’m certain there are other games on television but honestly, I just don’t care. There is only one game this weekend.
Alright folks, you know what you have to do. This is the perfect storm of football and tailgating. Great weather (clear with highs in the low 70’s), lots of great food and fun, and the biggest football game in the country between two great teams. This, my friends, is what it’s all about. By the time this game ends under the lights of Bryant-Denny, the emphatic statement that we are back will have been made.
I’ll see you on the Quad! Roll Tide Roll!
I’ll close with this (just in case you weren’t fired up already)
They say this is the loudest Bryant-Denny has ever been. Let’s prove them wrong.
When it comes to Alabama, I’m an unabashed glass-half-full guy. So, with all the hand wringing about the passing game, which in reality saw McElroy improve in the contest against the Vols in completion percentage (62% vs. 50%), interceptions (0 vs. 2), and passes to Julio (7 vs. 0) , from his previous performance against the Cocks, I thought I’d take a look at how the oft lamented kickoff coverage unit did.
I’m not exactly sure of the metric you use to guage such things but from my observation there has been improvement in this area. Tennessee did not appear to make any “big” returns (nor have they really all year), but a look at the stats shows that they averaged 28.4 yards on 5 returns with a long return of 33 yards. More importantly their best starting field position after a kickoff return was on their own 37 yard line (in the 3rd quarter) which ironically came on their shortest return (24 yards).
The only time Tennessee began a drive in Alabama territory was on the fumble recovery in the 4th quarter.
Dare I suggest that this is an area that has seen improvement over the course of the season?
This past weekend was what college football is all about to me. I was thinking going in that Alabama was a much better tean than Tennessee and that I would be dissapointed with anything less than humiliation of the hated Vawls from them. I was wrong.
The elation I experienced in the moments following the blocked kick as time expired was as euphoric as every win I’ve ever experienced as a fan in this storied series. It’s games like this that make the rivalry so great.
Now that I am somewhat rested the focus of my brain (and liver) has shifted to something other than clearing alcohol from my system. Some thoughts:
- This was the first game all year that left me feeling there were things to worry about. After watching the replay yesterday I feel better about that. Granted, the offense has to improve, but despite the fact that this one came down to the wire, Alabama did the things it needed to do to win. They aren’t perfect but they are a complete team.
- They win. That’s the major difference in Alabama and Tennessee right now. It wasn’t to long ago that Alabama did not know how to win.
- I was convinced that McElroy stunk it up Saturday after the game. Part of that was carryover from the South Carolina game and part of that was the idiot behind me in the stands screaming about open receivers. After the replay I feel better about him. He didn’t do things to help us lose the game, which is an improvement. Obviously he needs to improve but I’m confident that he can. The thing that crossed my mind was maybe the speed of SEC defenses have sped the game up for him and he’s rushing his decision making and therefore his execution. Hopefully, the game will slow down for him and he’ll be fine. I’m confident that he can lead this team but we need to see improvement every week.
- This has been stated ad naseum in the last thirty-six hours but the bye week comes at a great time. Rest and focus should do this team wonders.
- The series of events that had to take place for Tennessee to have a chance to win this game was just amazing:
- The most sure handed rusher in the conference fumbles a ball.
- Overcomes a sack for a big loss of yardage to keep a drive alive.
- Score a touchdown against a team that hadn’t given up one in almost twelve quarters.
- Recover an onside kick.
- Move the ball enough to set up a field goal to win the game without a time out.
- You could argue that UT did enough the rest of the game to be in position to win and I don’t know that I’d disagree. Still, in the stadium until around the two minute mark, I never felt like UT had a chance to win. As successful as the Vol offense had been and as good as Crompton was, there was a point on every promising drive that the worn out Alabama defense emphatically shut the door. The final three minutes contained all the drama.
- Deserve has nothing to do with this game. This UT team still has a ways to go to be competitive every week. Sometime mediocre teams play great games against better competition but I’ve never felt this was a true indicator of a team’s progress (as Lane would have you believe). The measure in this sport is not total yards, first downs, or time of possession. It’s wins. This UT team is 3-4. That’s not very good.
- Keeping on the same theme, this situation reminds me of Alabama and LSU in ’07. The Tide took LSU to the wire and lost after leading most of the game. They felt good about themselves and then threw all that promise away in consecutive weeks (against Mississippi State, La-Monroe, and Auburn no less). This is not a prediction, but the Vols need to focus on South Carolina this week, and not what they did or almost did against Alabama. Another Vol loss this week (and more the rest of the way) will not surprise me at all.
- Lane Kiffin needs to shut the hell up. Obviously, I’m not a fan, but this is ridiculous. He’s already calling for the victory next year and and whining about headsets and penalties like it was a conspiracy that kept his team from winning. I loathe people that place blame on anyone but themselves for thier situation. Lane seem like the poster boy for that. Your team did a lot and I mean a lot to gain respect from at least this Alabama fan this week. Kiffin stuck a pin in that balloon real quickly with his big mouth. Just be quiet and let the team make the statement for what you’re doing.
- When is someone going to start the Kiffin promise board. He’s making promises more quickly than a politician – which he reminds me of. He’s saying all theses things that his fans want to hear but he isn’t really following up on them. I’ll start the check list: “… not getting recruits from Memphis (OK, that was Thompson, but he’s writing checks on Kiffin’s account) -not happening. “Sing Rocky Top all night after beating the Gators” – didn’t happen. After he’s finished promising all the losses from this season that are supposed to be wins next year UT should run the table by his estimation.
- Tennessee played a great game. They were well prepared and played very physical football for sixty minutes. Unlike the last two years, they never gave up in this one. My credit is worthless, but they were a more impressive product than I have seen in a while from the boys in orange. The single biggest superlative for this team is its tenacity.
- I always look forward to and enjoy this game every year. There was. however, a perfect storm of events that made this one extra special:
- Weather that proves God loves college football
- My friends Chris and Steve flying in from Albuquerque and Denver respectively keeping a string of twelve consecutive years where we all attend a game together going.
- Chris and Steve bringing their fraternity brothers Justin and Seth with them for the second time. These guys are southwest guys with no ties to Alabama other than friendship and have become big fans – they love the experience of southern football.
- Getting to meet and hang out with three folks I like and respect from the internet all in the same day: Holly, Doug, and later Clay Travis. Good folks all.
- The game itself. Obviously.
- Finishing the night doing shots with a former professional baseball player who was in town for the game. (and who was an all-around good guy).
Like the team, I need a bye week. I’m going to focus on work, flag football, and hopefully a little rock climbing before the team hits the field again for a huge matchup with the Tigahs.
Nine months after my last post, almost exactly two years after my first post, and the week of one of the absolute best things about college and Alabama football seems like a pretty good time to try out the internets again. So here I am.
In way of a brief explanation, as I shared with you about this time last year, my last official gig ended and I went out on my own. Things are going relatively well on that front but running a business is incredibly time consuming. Also, last winter I became a dad again (for the third time) and lack of sleep coupled with increased duties with the other two take up a lot more time. Finally, Alabama had a pretty good year last year and my level of contentment with “the process” allowed me to focus on other outlets. I do this because I enjoy it and it fills a creative need but lately when the desire to write struck there seemed to be something else that “needed” to be done. I realize my tiny voice is one that is easily lost in the din but I do appreciate all the inquiries into my whereabouts. Thanks to you all.
So, I understand there is a game this weekend. What’s going on with that?
- Tennessee wants to wear orange. While Saban tends to say things like jersey color don’t matter – and they don’t – I’m not at all surprised that the request was denied. Of course the Vols are going to say we’re doing the fans a disservice, but the fact remains that a.) Kiffin raided the coaching staff, b.) said coach has been lying to recruits, and c.) this is still Tennessee. So screw UT. Why extend to them any courtesy at all other than letting them have a locker room? They wouldn’t, and haven’t done the same for Alabama. I understand from off-the-record comments that Saban is not a fan of the Volunteers and I believe that the way Alabama has been prepared to play, and has executed against UT in his tenure lends that some credence so it makes sense that UT was not granted the concession. I say no quarter asked or given in this rivalry. They’ll probably end up in those gaudy orange pants anyway. Orange sucks, people! (Update: As usual, the guys at Bama Sports Report put it into perspective)
- McElroy Struggling. G-Mac has, without a doubt, had two bad outings (against competent defenses) after some pretty good outings (against less than stellar defenses). I’m not ready to bench him though. I’m not even ready to verbally abuse him by comparing him to other, less-than-good quarterbacks, like another Alabama blog writer who tends to overuse the word “nevertheless” and speaks of the team in the first-person. I don’t think McElroy was quite as good as the early season success showed, nor do I think he is as bad as his last outings would indicate. Despite Monty Kiffiin’s (bow in awe, people) vaunted defense I think we’ll see a little more regression to the mean this week. Meaning we won’t see as much forcing to Julio, a little more Colin Peek and Marquis Maze, and a steadier reliance on play-action. McElroy will be alright. Aight!
- Tennessee Overall. I’ll preafce by saying this: anything can happen. Anything. UT could come in here and play the game of the decade and beat Alabama. But it isn’t very likely. This is not a good football team and there is no way around that. Tony Barnhart called this out as a trap game in the summer. But part of his premise was that UT would be winless in the conference. As you all know they aren’t. Beating a dreadful Georgia team hurt them more, in the context of this weekend’s contest, than anything. There wasn’t much chance that Alabama would overlook this UT team anyway but the big win in Knoxville ten days ago only served to make sure everyone was paying attention. As Mike Strange points out, UT’s first half body of work doesn’t look near as good as it did. SEC Offenive Player of the Week aside, Crompton is not a good QB and the Alabama defense should make that very evident. Hardersty is a great back, but Alabama’s run defense is no slouch either. The defense’s ability to nuetralize Crompton and make the game one-dimensional should effectively negate Hardesty (and super-frosh Bryce Brown as well). Things get a little more dicey with Alabama’s offense versus Tennessee’s defense. While statistically, they are a good defense, Auburn – yes the same Auburn that was just run over roughshod by Arkansas and Kentucky – lit them up like a Christmas tree. As I said, anything can happen, but if Alabama holds onto the ball and McElroy takes just one step back towards averages, we should be singing “Rammer Jammer” by mid fourth quarter.
The good folks over at 3rd Saturday in Blogtober are taking another crack at generating and moderating questions for the original roundtable. Leave it to the Vawl bloggers to start copying what we are doing.
Speaking of Tennessee, did you know that in the last six seasons (’02-’07) – the same stretch that Alabama has gone 1-5 with LSU, 0-6 with Auburn, and gone 43-33 with only three winning seasons overall – Alabama has gone 3-3 with Tennessee? I say all that, to say that even in the midst of one of the worst stretches in the history of the University of Alabama’s football program, they have manged to hold their own against one of their biggest rivals. I believe that there has been no discernible change in direction of the UT program and their fans can speak of the high expectations for the upcoming season but, as much as you can point to indicators of future success you can point to indicators of impending doom. The era of Phillip Fulmer will end in one of two ways; a massive blow-up, as I’ve been predicting for a while – Tennessee will be no better than 4-3 and out of the Eastern Division race coming into the Alabama game – or a continuation of the slow steady march into mediocrity that they are on now. I beleive that Dave Clawson will help the situation, if Fulmer lets him, but I don’t think he’ll have enough time to get it done before the Jabba the Fat is run out of Knoxville. The game has passed Fulmer by.
Also, their loss last season to Tennessee leads me to believe that Georgia isn’t as solid as they appear. Tennessee was a mediocre team, at best, last year – a very mediocre Alabama team handed their ass to them in a paper sack with cute little ribbons on it – and they caught UGA completely off guard. Maybe Richt will use that loss as a reminder, but truly elite teams don’t get surprised like that – I’m not saying they don’t get surprised, but that Georgia was done well before 60 minutes into that one. That wasn’t Stanford surprising USC or even La-Monroe surprising Alabama, that was a major rival shoving it down their throat. Really good teams are up for their rivalries. When you look at Georgia on paper this year they are downright scary but in the age of parity there is not a team out there that can take a week off. Georgia took at least one and probably two weeks off last season, and that’s not counting the other close games – Alabama and Vandy.
I would say that the Auburn game followed closely by the Florida game were the high-water-marks for Georgia last year. The Hawaii game, while impressive in many, many ways, shouldn’t give a true picture of Georgia coming into this season for two reasons. First, Hawaii had no business in that game. If that was played during the regular season it would have shocked no one. Second, I don’t believe that much, if any, momentum is carried from season to season. The Georgia team that takes the field in September will have to find their own identity and set the tone for the coming year. Richt may break through this year, but until he does the thing that will be in the back of my mind is that Georgia had a good team that was coming together and got blown away by a mediocre, at best, Tennessee team last year and that was not unprecedented for a Richt coached team. And it usually happens at home. His road record still amazes me. There is no doubt he can coach and is arguably one of the top two or three in the conference. Now he has to prove he can manage expectations and push through for the big one. If he runs the gauntlet this season he has my non-existent vote for Coach of the Decade.
On to the questions.
What record would you consider “sufficient progress” in the coming season?
The legendary golf coach Harvey Penick said, in one of his great books, that improvement usually comes in bunches. He observed that golfers scores don’t decrease point by point but rather they are lowered in bunches when the golfer improved one of his critical skills. I believe that it is the same in football. A team doesn’t improve by one win a year, at least not real improvement, because that can be as much a function of schedule than anything. Alabama needs to improve in two main areas in a general sense; it needs to beat the teams it is supposed to beat and it needs to beat its rivals that are supposed to be superior to be considered as a better than average team. Alabama will be the pre-season underdog against Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee (maybe), LSU, and Auburn. That means that seven wins would be over teams it was supposed to beat unless something changes to those five listed, and it will to at least one of them. If you do what you are supposed to do then that really can’t be considered improvement although in light of the past two seasons it would be considered so. If Alabama wants to contend or position itself to contend in the future it has to beat some of the teams it isn’t supposed to.
My answer is that for significant improvement, Alabama needs to beat two out of the last three games listed above (UT, LSU, & AU) that it plays this year. I don’t believe they will be improved enough to win the first two but they should be coming together by late October. I would be content with a 7-5 record. I believe that is where we should be statistically. But I will not be happy with another loss to Auburn (I have never been nor will I ever be). If you want it in numbers then I say 8-4 or 9-3 with a win over Auburn and I am more than pleased. Does that expect too much? Maybe, but then again I’m an Alabama fan – I’m not supposed to be content with mediocrity. I also will not call for Saban’s firing or Ross’ Brother to be carted from the field if that doesn’t happen.
Does college football need a playoff? Why?
No. I know who the national champion was last year. How could a playoff improve that? Georgia or USC might not like it but then again they shouldn’t have lost to Tennessee or Stanford. Ohio State would have still been in a playoff, as would Oklahoma, LSU, and then the fight starts all over again for the next spot. Maybe in the future but not now. I think every year but ’04 the BCS has worked, maybe not as well as it could have but certainly no worse than the old system. Call me old-fashioned but just because you’re playing your best ball at the end of the season doesn’t mean you get a shot at the title – this isn’t basketball. The best body of work will still get you there (with Auburn in ’04 being the lone exception). And it isn’t like we’re not tuning in because there isn’t a playoff.
If you’re an Alabama fan and a native Alabamian, then more than likely you became a fan sometime between conception and the cutting of the cord, but what moment do you remember best as being “the moment” that you became an active participant in your fandom?
When my dad parked in front of a house on 13th Street, walked me up 10th Avenue by the old man selling fresh roasted peanuts, into Bryant-Denny Stadium and the crowd rose and cheered in unison. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and still does to this day as I recall the moment. I don’t know how old I was (Dad says four) and I don’t know who Alabama was playing, but I have loved it every moment since.
What rule change would you most like see implemented?
I would like to see them tighten up the rules for roughing the passer – it is clear when the qb has passed the ball and there is a lot of extra activity after that point. The qb should be punished for holding to ball too long or having a lineman miss a block, but once he delivers a pass he shouldn’t be slammed to the ground as a reward.
I’d like to begin by thanking those of you who made positive comments on the “Stuff Crimson and White People Like” post at Every Day Should Be Saturday that Gerry Dorsey and I worked on. I have always liked that site a lot and got a big kick out of seeing something I had been a part of writing on there. Don’t be too hard on Holly about the pictures. I gave her the option of doing what she wanted; we wrote the post a month or so ago and didn’t know they were going to publish it until Wednesday night. It was a hectic week and there was no way I could have come up with pictures that quick, plus despite her Orange loving ways, she is pretty talented and has a great sense of humor and I felt confident that she would do an admirable job and was actually glad to have her do it with the time constraints. I might have picked a different Bryant pictures (OK, I certainly would have) but I loved the Auburn “championship ring”. She has always been gracious in helping me and regardless of her allegiance I consider her a friend and a good (no great) sport. She’s welcome at my tailgate any time.
I also got confirmation, via the comments, that Houndstooth bras and thongs exist. Now we just need some verifiable proof in the form of pictures, preferably modeled on a lovely young female.
Now, on to the round table; I’d like to thank all of this week’s participants, in no particular order:
DBH Dance Party (Who for the record is not a Bama Blogger – btw I loved the Kenny
Fisher youtube. Part of the derivation for my blog comes from his quote)
3rd Saturday in Blogtober (Crimson King)
You’ve already seen my answers as I gave them with the questions on Monday. So we’ll just dive in to some of the responses.
1. Other than the contest against Little Brother, what do you think is a “must-win” for Alabama this season?
As much as I hate to say this, but how about Arkansas State? Seriously people, the embarrassing November collapses to State, LSU, and Auburn are bad enough, but did we really need the added humiliation of a home loss to one of the worst teams in the worst conference in the country? No, we didn’t. And we’re right back in the same situation with a trap game against an “inferior” opponent late in the season that should be an easy breather. The Indians Red Wolves have a back to back 1000 yard season rusher in Reggie Arnold and a mobile quarterback in Corey Leonard, the kind of combo that got the Warhawks an upset win last season. Just ask Texas, who escaped with a 21-13 win after allowing 397 yards (57 more than the Longhorns could gain) and ten points in the fourth while being shutout in the final quarter, and Tennessee, who gave up 178 yards rushing (130 of them to Arnold) in their 48-27 win, how seriously we should be taking them. And honestly, we need to be taking everyone on the slate seriously, since finally actually beating all the teams we are SUPPOSED to beat in a season is the first step we need to take in order to get back to contending for the SEC. Todd – Roll Bama Roll
Here’s what makes that question so hard to answer: at Alabama, every game is a must-win. At this time last year, we were all sitting around wondering if Week 2 at Vandy was a must-win. Of COURSE it is! There’s a story one of the bloggers — and I can’t remember which one — told about going to a random Kentucky basketball game like last year, and wearing an Alabama hat (without really thinking about the implications). And what happened to him? More than one UK fan took the opportunity to heckle him … about Kentucky’s overtime win over ‘Bama in 1997. The point, simply, is that every game is must-win in Tuscaloosa. It’s the best and worst part about the job. Will Heath – DBH Dance Party
Like me, several of the contributors think that Mississippi State is a game Alabama must win, especially this season. LSU was a close second.
2. Every year there seems to be a player that no one is really talking about pre-season that garners accolades by the end of the year. Who will that be for Alabama this year?
Mike Johnson. He struggled at RT (why must we keep saying that year after year?!?! WHY?!?!!!11), but he’s a mean run blocker and the move to LG should really make him an asset on the offensive line, and hopefully he can garner some hype for himself. Todd – Roll Bama Roll
Earl Alexander at WR. He had himself a very good A-Day performance, and we desperately need a few Receivers to step up and fill the shoes of Hall, Brown, and Caddell. He is tall, quick, and fairly strong, and doesn’t seem to be garnering much attention with the likes of Burton Scott and Julio Jones getting all of the media coverage. The Tide Durid
i’m going to go way out on a limb and say lb eryk anders. i’ve already mentioned this guy once over on pmr, so i’ll stick with him. he’s not all that big (6’2″ 225lbs), but has pretty good speed, and is obviously at a position in need of someone to step up. he also looked pretty solid getting 2 sacks in the a-day game…whatever that’s worth. you heard it here first. Gerry Dorsey – Uncle Rico’s Time Machine
John Parker Wilson, or as I refer to him, Ross’ brother was also a popular choice for this, but I’m going to have to be technical here and say that if you are on pre-season all-conference teams (hey, third team counts) then you aren’t an unknown. I will give this: if he flourishes there will be an element, especially in our fan base that is shocked by that.
3. In your opinion, how many true freshmen will start against Clemson? How many will start against Little Brother?
We may actually see more against Clemson since it will probably be a testing out period for a portion of the game. Sure, we do want to win, but it is only one game and we need to figure out who can step up during a pressured situation.As for the Iron Bowl, I really hope that we see the exact number needed for a victory, whatever it may be. The Tide Druid
We believe Julio Jones is ready to play now, and will against Clemson. For the sake of argument, we’ll add 2 more freshmen to the mix for the Iron Bowl, assuming they get playing time earlier in the year. Tony Orlando – Alabama Gameday
For the opener against Clemson I could see as many as seven and as few as three true freshmen starting. Julio Jones and Jerrell Harris are obvious picks and will be starters as long as they stay healthy through the summer and fall practice. I would also basically pencil in Mark Barron at safety as well. As for the others, I could actually see Don’ta Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Alonzo Lawrence, and Marcel Dareus getting the stating nod because of the need for their positions. While Coach Saban and Staff were a huge, and I mean HUGE factor in bringing the number one class for 2008 in, the pitch of potential early playing time was actually truthful, reasonable, and probable.
As far as the starters for the game against Little Brother, several true freshmen could be starting by then. It’s tough to predict at this point because of injuries or suspensions (hopefully neither), but playing the hypothetical game I will say there could be nine to ten possible true freshmen starters. Obviously this number is going to seem high, but it’s June and what difference does it make right now??? It’s all fun and games, but I’ll be right. Or way off. Anyway, the seven already mentioned and then possibly Corey Smith, or myself if we don’t find a punter, and maybe Tyler Love at one of the guard or tackle spots. I also do believe that Burton (BJ) Scott will be a starter in the slot as well, sharing reps with Marquis Maze and putting a lot of pressure on LB’s and zone defenses. Capstone King – 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
4. Pick one player on offense and one on defense and give a match up with an opponent that you are really looking forward to watching this season.
Ah, so many to choose from. I’ll keep it Alabama related for now and then I’ll venture out. I really, really want to see Eric Berry match up with Burton Scott. Talk about the talent clash on that play. Any and every true football fan who know who these guys are regardless of team affiliation should get at least a little excited about the idea of this match up. Berry is quite possibly the best defensive back in the league along with a couple others in the elite group going against a for sure future All-SEC player. Seriously though, need I say more about it? As far as defense goes for Alabama, I just want to see Terrence Cody go one-on-one with any offensive lineman. I don’t really care who it is as long as it is one-on-one.
As far as seeing a player from a different school besides Alabama, I would have to go with Greg Hardy from Ole Miss. This guy had a great season last year and it all got started in the game against Alabama where he had to of had 15 tackles for loss. I know some of you might be thinking there are better match ups, but I just have to see if Hardy is the real deal or if it was just momentum he carried after going unblocked for four quarters against Alabama. Line him up against some of the SEC’s best offensive lineman like Andre Smith and I want to see if he’s got the moves then.
*Note, Hardy abused Mike Johnson until he was benched for Chris Capps and he was abused as well (go figure). Hardy rarely faced Big Dre in last season’s game. Capstone King – 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
Kareem Jackson vs Mohamed Massaquoi. Jackson’s efforts against the Vols last season was one of the highlights of the year, and the Dawgs have a solid receiving corps this year. Let’s see if he can have another game where his defensive efforts help snatches victory from what looks like certain defeat before the game even starts. Todd – Roll Bama Roll
It’s difficult to say you’re looking forward to a match up between linemen because it’s so hard to focus on linemen and still watch the rest of the action. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing how Alabama’s front matches up against opposing offensive lines. As Joe Kines proved in 2004 and 2005, a solid front can make up for a number of glaring deficiencies elsewhere.
Offensively, weirdly, I’m looking forward to the coaching chess match as much as anything else — I’m interested to see what manner of personnel groups McElwain and company put on the field, and how they come up with ways to get them the ball with a chance to create something. Yes, I’m a geek. But you knew that already. Will Heath – DBH Dance Party
i enjoy watching physical specimen go up against each other. therefore, these match ups are based less on the likelihood that they will actually see a lot of each other on the field, and more on my level of interest.
rolando mcclain vs. knowshon moreno
julio jones vs. eric berry
Gerry Dorsey – Uncle Rico’s Time Machine
5. What, if any, SEC school’s head coach will be out after this season?
Steve Spurrier. Having been to Columbia, South Carolina numerous times, I can tell you that it is a nice place to visit and possibly live (I never got to see the suburban areas, so I can’t speak for them. And yes, I know the Danny Ford boys might be disappointed in me for saying such a thing). But, it is not a football hot bed, nor will it ever be a football hot bed. He’s over the age of 65 and has really looked worn down and tired of being at a program that isn’t moving up as quickly as he had hoped. Adding all of that together, it just seems that he may step down in the next year or two. The Tide Druid
The seat is getting warm for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, but he will be given time to either win, or quit. Tennessee is the obvious choice; Phil Fulmer got to Atlanta last season, but the days of winning the SEC in the courtroom or the league offices – instead of on the field – are over.
However, don’t be surprised to see Tommy Tuberville leaving town at the end of the year. He wants out; they want him out. Only his buyout stands in the way. If that issue gets resolved, he’ll be out quicker than you can blow a duck call. Tony Orlando – Alabama Gameday
Fulmer was the really popular choice
Well, that wraps up week three. Thanks again for the great responses. Have a great weekend.
When asked by several friends about the upcoming season’s schedule and Alabama’s prospects following spring practices, I had basically the following predictions to make:
Clemson (at the Georgia Dome): I just don’t see Alabama winning this game. The Clemson offense will be stellar and I don’t think that Alabama’s defense will be in sync yet because there will be a few starters for this game that won’t be starters later in the year. The Tiger’s (first of the three Alabama plays) defense will be just good enough to keep Alabama from getting going in the early season test. I believe Alabama makes it close in the end but Clemson prevails by maintaining their early lead. (Alabama’s Record: 0-1)
Tulane: Alabama comes in hungry and motivated after the opening loss. This one may be close early but Tulane can’t hang, even with the less than stellar Alabama talent; The young guys get to see the field a lot in the second half in this Alabama victory. (Alabama’s Record: 1-1)
Western Kentucky: The youth movement continues as the freshman, red-shirt freshman, and sophmores play a lot in this blow-out Alabama victory. (Alabama’s Record: 2-1)
at Arkansas: While Bobby Petrino will build a good program at Arkansas – if he stays long enough to do that – this will be a rebuilding, or should I say building year, and the talent just isn’t there yet. This is a game Alabama’s young-but-improving defense will need. Alabama covers the spread. (Alabama’s Record: 3-1)
at Georgia: My gut tells me that this could be one of those magical, season defining games, for Alabama, but my brain tells me otherwise. The only reason Alabama took this game to overtime last year was mistakes by Georgia – mainly the tight ends inability to catch passes. I think Alabama keeps this game close, because they will certainly be prepared for it but Georgia is just too talented on both sides of the ball. This could be a magical year in Athens and Alabama can take pride, for now, in the fact that they will play a national championship contender close – I just can’t see them winning it. (Alabama’s Record: 3-2)
Kentucky: Alabama takes out their frustrations over the Georgia loss by taking a depleted Wildcat squad behind the woodshed. This is the game where after the road experiences and adversity of losing, you start to see the defense gain an identity and confidence. The offense may be a little slower to bounce back on this one. (Alabama’s Record: 4-2)
Ole Miss: After Alabama gets the off-weak to heal and rest Ole Miss comes in and shakes them back to reality. Houston Nutt has never been scared of Alabama and he will easily motivate a squad full of kids who have gone through great adveristy – not to mentioned lived with constant fear of having their limbs ripped from their bodies at any moment by The Orgeron – and played Alabama close enough to win every year. I see them jumping out to an early lead with outstanding defense and opportunistic offense (this is nothing new for Alabama vs. Ole Miss). How Alabama chooses to respond will define the rest of the season. Since I’m an unabashed Alabama homer, I believe that the whole team responds and the second half is all Alabama. The Tide wins a game that should be even closer than the last few contests between these schools but won’t be. And if they don’t, pack your bags for Shreveport and dig in for the “I told you so’s”from every corner of the football world. (Alabama’s Record: 5-2)
at Tennessee: In this installment of the greatest contest in College Footballdom, the Volunteers will welcome the Crimson Tide into Knoxville with revenge on their minds and malice in their hearts. It won’t matter; the tide has turned (no pun intended) on this rivalry, and for all the talk about renewed offense and improvement, this is Phillip Fulmer’s last season as the head coach. I don’t know why I believe this – it could very well be my utter loathing of the University of Tennessee – but I think they are in for a tumultuos season. After losses to Florida, Georgia, and UCLA (yes- I said that) the Alabama loss will be the hammer blow to the wooden stake placed in the fat one’s doughnut glazed filled heart. Then again I could be blinded by hatred and have never picked UT (and never will). (Alabama’s Record: 6-2)
Arkansas State: Alabama guarantees at least a trip to Memphis and not a return to Shreveport in the lopsided win that sees the young guys -who will be noticeably improved by this point – play a lot and the streak of November defeats broken. (Alabama’s Record:7-2)
at LSU: I got an email from a friend last week in the minutes after Perrilloux’s dismissal was announced saying that Alabama might now have a chance to beat LSU this season. Saban’s return to Death Valley will be epic and so will the contest as these games always seem to be here lately. Like Georgia and Clemson though, this team is just too talented. Ross’ brother has been mauled in this game the last two seasons and this year will be no different. It will be close, as it usually is, but the LSU defense will again prove to be too much late in the game. (Alabama’s Record: 7-3)
Mississippi State: There will be more pressure on this game than necessary but by this point in the season, Alabama should be a vastly improved team. State, as usual, will not challenge offensively, especially to a defense that is starting to get a good feel of itself (don’t laugh). If the offense can manage not to shoot itself in the foot (and it should by this point) Alabama wins a game that it will be favored in only slightly because of recent past performance (in the series). (Alabama’s Record: 8-3)
Auburn: This game certainly is worthy of its own post but for now I’ll keep it simple. “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last”. Alabama ends six years of frustration and wins this game coming into it as the favorite for the first time in six years. Alabama wins. Alabama wins. Alabama wins. There will be dancing in the streets and celebrating on the Quad until the wee hours. [editor’s note: the day I predict an Auburn victory is the day I burn everything I own related to Alabama football (which would be a considerable inferno) and quit following football. Call we what you want; irrational, delusional, whatever. I will never, ever, under any circumstances, pick Auburn.] (Alabama’s Record: 9-3)
I intended to go into more detail on this and I probably will closer to the season, but prior to kickoff, because I want to use this as a reference to look at each week as the season progress. So there it is, a little bit of rational thought and a little bit of standard home-cooking. It’s simply my opinion and though Buzz Bissinger may not care what it is, maybe you do. Please feel free to give me your forecasts in the comments.
Also if your interested, Will Heath has taken a look at the SEC West, sans Perrilloux and I think he has some good points.
This was emailed to me and I have no idea who authored it so I can’t take credit or give it. Enjoy
SEC/Middle east comparison
ALABAMA : Saudi Arabia . Once a proud kingdom, torn up by fighting and successions in leaders. Surrounded by Iran and Iraq (see below), with a prick in Al-Qaeda hell bent on bringing them down.
LSU: Iran . Current superpower in the region but it will all come crashing down because they have a highly functioning retard as a leader.
TENNESSEE : Iraq . Got a bunch of history but the country as a whole is going in the tank and they will kill themselves off before it’s allover.
FLORIDA : Syria . Evil douche bags who will stoop to whatever level they need to win. No real history to speak of but thinks they are the cradle of civilization.
GEORGIA : Kuwait . Tons of riches and unrealized potential, but still vulnerable to Iraq .
AUBURN : Al Qaeda. No country just a movement of disgruntled fanatics who live to blow up those who are more fortunate. No other goal in life than to bring down the House of Saudi Arabia. Terrorizing the Arabians for 6 years is the crowning achievement in their history. Signing day was a major setback to the movement. They’ll be looking for a new leader soon.
ARKANSAS : Palestinian territories. No one really cares or worries about them unless they can be of some use (i.e. winning a battle once in a while against Iran that causes a bit of shake up in rankings)
MISSISSIPPI STATE : Qatar . Where the hell is Qatar ?
OLE MISS: Afghanistan . Not much going for it, but hot women.
VANDERBILT: Israel . Just leave them alone for God’s sake. What did they ever do to you?
:KENTUCKY : Morocco . Not really part of the Middle East . Has other things to do than fight (or play football)
SOUTH CAROLINA : Libya . Had a charismatic leader in a land of nothingness. Will rattle his sword but knows he doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot to back it up with.