Wednesday, September 30, 2009
As many expected, ‘Bama inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower is out for the remainder of the season. Hightower suffered ligament damage to his left knee in the first quarter of the Arkansas game. The 'Bama linebacker had surgery on Tuesday, and the operation was deemed "successful" by all accounts. Coach Nick Saban expects Hightower to make a full recovery.
This week in practice Cory Reamer has moved from outside to inside linebacker in an effort to fill the gap left by the unfortunate departure of Hightower. Cory Reamer, Rolando McClain, Courtney Upshaw, and Eryk Anders will most likely characterize the “new look” Crimson Tide unit at the linebacker position.
Speaking of the linebacker arrangement, Jerrell Harris will officially be eligible to play for the Crimson Tide on Oct. 17 when Alabama takes on the South Carolina Gamecocks. Harris has been ineligible due to an investigation to determine whether he acquired illegitimate benefits. Such “rewards” would be in violation with NCAA compliance regulations. Since Harris has not played a single game this season and his announced return will be against South Carolina, this implies his suspension will cover the first six games of the 2009 season. When Harris does return to the field, he will most certainly have a shot to compete for the linebacker position vacated by the injured Dont’a Hightower. Harris will provide additional depth at the position, if nothing else.
For the second time this season (Florida International), Alabama running back Trent Richardson has been named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance in the Alabama rout of Arkansas. Richardson, who is quickly making a name for himself this season, has been a valuable asset to the Crimson Tide ground attack in 2009.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Kentucky head football coach Rich Brooks used the word “scary” when describing how to prepare for the No. 3 ranked University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Coach Brooks has been around the “football block” a few times, and he knows “scary” when it becomes visible.
After an easy win against Miami (Ohio) the Wildcats won a nail-biter against Louisville. However, the 2-0 start soon came crashing down at the hands of the top ranked Florida Gators. The ‘Cats enter the contest with Alabama with a record of
2-1, but Kentucky will face yet another “Goliath” on Saturday.
Kentucky is led by quarterback Mike Hartline and receiver Randall Cobb. The Wildcats have a decent ground game, but Kentucky will need an “air attack” in order to be successful against Alabama. Hartline and the Kentucky offense are not as productive and dangerous as the Arkansas offense led by Ryan Mallett, but the Wildcats do have talent.
On the other side of the ball the Alabama defense will be without linebacker Dont’a Hightower for this game, and most likely for the remainder of the season. Hightower, who was injured against Arkansas, will have surgery on his left knee to repair ligament damage. However, even without the services of Hightower, Alabama is fairly deep at the linebacker spot and I expect the absence of Hightower to have no obvious effect on the Tide defense.
The key to the Alabama offense is to maintain the status quo. If it ain’t broke…well, you know the rest. The Crimson Tide offense is very potent thanks to a solid air and ground game. The same offensive notion that proved fruitful against Arkansas will be the same concept that will derail Kentucky.
The contest in Lexington will be the first “true” road game for the Crimson Tide in 2009. Regardless of the venue, Alabama is clearly the superior team and should have no problem with the Wildcats.
Prediction: Alabama 49 Kentucky 16
Kickoff for the ‘Bama/Kentucky game is set for 11:21 a.m. central time on the SEC Network. Be sure to check your local affiliate for the station in your area.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thanks to a solid performance from the Alabama defense and a nice mix of run, pass, and a little offensive trickery…the Alabama Crimson Tide destroyed the Arkansas Razorbacks in front of a wet and soggy crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
In the early portion of the game it was obvious that Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was in for a rough outing. Mallett was constantly harassed and forced to make quick throws or just heave the ball out of bounds due to the Alabama pressure.
However, while the ‘Bama defense was a brick wall, the ‘Bama offense was stale. Thanks to the lack of production from both teams, the first quarter ended how the game began…with zeros on the board.
The Crimson Tide offense would get on track in the second quarter, and in retrospect, essentially put the game away. Freshman running back Trent Richardson played a game of “body bowling” with the Arkansas defense as he broke several tackles before getting to the sidelines and racing 52 yards for a Crimson Tide touchdown.
As the half continued, the ‘Bama defense remained solid while the Alabama offense began to exploit the Arkansas pass defense. In the second period Alabama showcased the “wildcat” formation for the first time since the season opener. However, this “wildcat” came with a wrinkle. With Mark Ingram taking the snap, the Tide running back handed the ball to a crossing Terry Grant, who then flipped the pigskin to quarterback Greg McElroy, who found an uncovered Julio Jones for a
50-yard touchdown. Alabama would take a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
The second half saw Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett display his talents when he found receiver Greg Childs on an 18-yard fade pass for a touchdown. The Arkansas touchdown cut the lead to 14-7, but this game was all Alabama…and the rout soon commenced.
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy hit Marquis Maze for an 80-yard touchdown, and the ‘Bama offense would later march 99 yards which culminated in a Mark Ingram touchdown. Ingram would later add another score to seal the Crimson Tide victory.
On the day, quarterback Greg McElroy was 17-24 for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. Highly touted Arkansas signal caller Ryan Mallett was dreadful thanks to the stingy ‘Bama defense. Mallett was only 12-35 for 161 yards and threw an interception to Justin Woodall late in the contest.
Alabama racked up 425 yards of total offense compared to only 254 yards by the Razorbacks. Arkansas was a dismal 2-14 in third down conversions and only managed 63 yards rushing. The Crimson Tide garnered 134 yards on the ground and were led by Trent Richardson who had 9 carries for 65 yards, and Mark Ingram who carried the ball 17 times for 50 yards.
Unfortunately for ‘Bama fans the rout of Arkansas came with a price. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower injured his left knee in the first quarter and by all accounts, the prognosis is not good. I will have more on the injury to Hightower in the coming days.
Alabama now stands 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the SEC. The Tide holds steady at No. 3 in the AP and USA Today polls.
NOTE: Coming soon...Alabama/Kentucky preview.
Friday, September 25, 2009
For those of you who follow my blog, and are active readers, you know that my personal opinion is not very prominent in my work. I will express a few opinions during a random ‘Bama preview blog, but the only other time I compose an opinion filled blog is when I compile my “SEC Picks” for each game weekend. I mostly fill my blog with honest facts, stats…etc. However, this blog will be very different…thanks to the Ole Miss Rebels.
Like many, I didn’t think Ole Miss was a great team and I knew the environment (crowd, ESPN, primetime) at South Carolina would be a daunting challenge for the Rebels, but I also thought Ole Miss would find a way to win.
After the first quarter it was very obvious to even the most passive observer…Ole Miss was in trouble. As the game progressed Ole Miss began to fall in the polls before my eyes. Credit must be given to South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia for being a “mental quarterback” and making all the right decisions with the football. Respect should also be given to the South Carolina defense who seemed to pressure Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead most of the game.
Carolina deserves credit and respect, but on the other hand…Carolina is probably an average team at best. The Gamecocks are likely a 6-7 win team this season, and certainly a team Ole Miss should have beaten, if the Rebels were legit national contenders.
The “experts” projected Ole Miss to be a top 5 team in the national ranks and the Rebels were supposed to have “clear sailing” until the showdown with Alabama. However, in the contest with South Carolina, the Rebels looked very average and Jevan Snead looked to be the most overrated joke of a quarterback I’ve seen in years. I can only speak for the game in question, but when the pressure was on and the lights got brighter…he folded like a cheap suit.
Will Ole Miss recover and have a solid season? The chances of the Rebels having a strong campaign are very promising. However, the team is simply a whole bunch of “average,” and “average” won’t get you anywhere in the SEC or in the national picture. I still look for the ‘Bama/Ole Miss contest to be a “can’t miss” game, but after beating Memphis and Southeastern Louisiana, Ole Miss finally had to play a “real team”…and they failed.
In the weeks to come we may all look back on the South Carolina game and view the contest as a minor "bump" on the road to a great Ole Miss season. However, we may also look at the South Carolina game as the night the "dream season" turned into a nightmare.
I picked the Rebels to win and I was wrong. Sometimes being wrong is pretty cool. The "ole ball coach"...beat Ole Miss.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Last Week: 6-3
As I make this prediction…I consider the weather. In my game preview on Monday I provided everyone with numerous statistics in respect to the Arkansas offense and defense. If you examine the game preview blog, you know my thoughts on this contest. However, rain could change many things. The Alabama ground attack is solid, while the Arkansas ground attack is less than average. Based on what I know about both teams a wet field, or a driving rain storm, would certainly favor Alabama. The “bread and butter” of the Arkansas attack is through the air. A wet field is bad enough, but falling rain will totally disrupt the Arkansas offense. If the Hogs are forced to rely on the run, and bank on stopping the Alabama ground game, Arkansas will be in deep trouble. ‘Bama should win the game rain or shine, but inclement weather will certainly favor the Tide. However, being a diehard college football fan, I would love nothing more than to see dry conditions. I’ve had about enough of this rain.
OLE MISS/SOUTH CAROLINA
In this ESPN Thursday night special the country finally gets to see what the Ole Miss Rebels have under the hood. If nothing else, the atmosphere in this game should be electric. On the surface this appears to be a “can’t miss” viewing opportunity for the hardcore college football fan. Do I think Ole Miss is overrated in respect to being a top 5 team? Yes. Will the Rebels beat South Carolina? Yes.
WINNER: OLE MISS
Congrats to the Bulldogs for not being the worst team in the SEC. Hold you head high State fans…that honor now goes to Vandy. However, don’t let this new found excitement get the best of you…LSU should have no problem in this one.
Are the Gators really the best team in the country? Are the Gators even the best team in the SEC? Judging by the first few games, it appears that Tim Tebow will have to carry the entire team on his back. One could say he’s done it before…but he also had some help. Florida lacks explosive offensive playmakers outside of Tebow himself. That fact alone will prove problematic for the Gators as the season moves along. In this contest, Kentucky will make some plays…but Florida will make more.
Georgia quarterback Joe Cox looked very impressive in the shootout win against Arkansas. I look for Georgia to handle the Sun Devils at home.
Lane Kiffin closes his mouth for a few minutes so his team can play a football game.
The Tigers will improve to 4-0 before beginning a tough stretch in the SEC.
Vandy is bad…but Rice is horrible. Does "bad" beat "horrible" on most days? I don't care and many people in the SEC...well...they don't either.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch are back at full speed and ready to go against Arkansas. Jones and Upchurch missed the contest against North Texas due to knee and ankle injuries suffered against Florida International. Both players have been in full contact drills this week, and will certainly be in action when the Razorbacks come to town.
Alabama punter P.J. Fitzgerald has a good problem. Thanks to his performance, (or lack thereof) against North Texas, Fitzgerald is no longer listed as one of the nation’s top 20 punters.
P.J. is currently averaging 44.7 yards per punt and booted a 49 yard effort against North Texas. If Fitzgerald were eligible for a ranking, he would currently be 12th in the nation.
So, why isn't he eligible? Fitzgerald has only punted nine times this season and averages three punts per game, the minimum number of punts per game required by the NCAA to be nationally ranked is 3.6 per contest. Why is this problem excellent for Fitzgerald, the team, and ‘Bama fans? Lack of punting…equals offensive success. The Crimson Tide is currently averaging 43 points per game in 2009.
Let's hope P.J. will spend Saturday (and the rest of the season) punting into the "catch net"...rather than punting to the opposition.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The Alabama Crimson Tide will begin SEC play this weekend when the Arkansas Razorbacks, led by quarterback Ryan Mallett, come to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Razorbacks currently stand 1-1 on the young season following a tough 52-41 loss at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Alabama looks to improve to 4-0 on the season, but containing the high octane passing attack of Arkansas should be a daunting challenge. The Hogs are led by Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett who is currently the national leader in passing efficiency. Against Georgia, Mallett went 21-39 for 408 yards and 5 touchdowns. Thanks to Mallett, Arkansas currently ranks first in total offense in the SEC. The Alabama secondary will certainly have to step up in order to contain receivers Greg Childs and Jarius Wright who are the favorite targets of the Arkansas quarterback.
On the Alabama side of the ball, the Crimson Tide defense ranks first in total defense and first in rushing defense in the SEC. Offensively, quarterback Greg McElroy is 16th in the nation in total passing efficiency, and Alabama ranks fourth in total offense and second in total rushing offense, in the conference.
The Crimson Tide offense can take comfort in knowing the Arkansas pass defense is utterly dreadful. In the conference statistical categories of pass defense and pass defense efficiency, the Hogs are ranked 11th and 12th in the SEC. If ‘Bama quarterback Greg McElroy can receive time in the pocket to throw, the Crimson Tide offense will most likely shred the Razorback secondary.
In the Arkansas loss to Georgia, the Razorback secondary gave up 3 completions over 40 yards, and 6 completions over 25 yards. The Alabama ground game coupled with a very solid Crimson Tide receiving core, should spell doom for the Arkansas defense.
If the Tide defense can contain Ryan Mallett more times than not, the Alabama offense should provide the rest. Unless the contest comes down to an “aerial assault”…’Bama should take care of business. The Alabama secondary has been exposed a few times this year due to blown coverage, but the Arkansas defense has no coverage. Thus…the possible difference in the game.
Arkansas will score…but Alabama will simply score more. Talent usually wins in the end, and this game will be no exception. 'Bama is strong on both sides of the ball and by the second half Arkansas will begin to crumble.
Prediction: Alabama 38 Arkansas 21
Arkansas/Alabama will be televised nationally on CBS with kickoff expected around 2:35 p.m. central time.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The Alabama Crimson Tide treated North Texas like a glorified scrimmage and dominated in true fashion. Led by a host of offensive explosions Alabama hammered the Mean Green, 53-7.
Greg McElroy, in limited action, went 13-15 for 176 yards including a 29 yard touchdown pass to Mark Ingram, and a 34 yard touchdown pass to Marquis Maze. McElroy also had a 2-yard touchdown run to put ‘Bama on top 7-0 in the first quarter.
On the ground, Alabama was led by Mark Ingram who rushed 8 times for 81 yards including a 29 yard touchdown reception and a 5 yard touchdown run. Freshman Trent Richardson had another solid game for the Tide as he carried the ball 11 times for 87 yards including a 1 yard touchdown plunge. However, the man who carried most of the load in the rushing department was the 2007 leading rusher…Terry Grant. Grant had a great outing against North Texas as he carried the ball 19 times for 79 yards including touchdowns runs of 1 and 9 yards respectively.
Late in the second quarter, back-up quarterback Star Jackson orchestrated a late first half drive which culminated in a Leigh Tiffin field goal. Jackson would play the majority of the second half and would finish 9-13 for 87 yards.
Crimson Tide return man Javier Arenas had a huge second half for Alabama with punt returns of 36 and 33 yards. Arenas also returned a kickoff 61 yards against the Mean Green in the second stanza. All returns would result in three Crimson Tide scores.
As many expected, Alabama played without the services of Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch. Once the first quarter was in the books it was very apparent the decision to sit Jones and Upchurch was more than correct. Fans can now expect Jones and Upchurch to be back in action this week when the Tide takes on Arkansas at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
In respect to team statistics, Alabama racked up 523 yards of total offense compared to only 187 by North Texas. The Crimson Tide rushed for 260 yards while holding North Texas to only 61. The 53-7 final was the highest-scoring game since a 56-3 thumping of Louisiana Tech in 1993, during the Gene Stallings era.
Thanks to the Washington upset of USC, Alabama has moved up a single spot in the current polls to No. 3 in both the AP and USA Today standings.
NOTE: Coming soon…Arkansas/Alabama preview.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Last Week: 5-1
Auburn has an OFFENSE this season! Well, at least according to the statistics. All joking aside, Auburn has improved. The Tigers have been fun to watch (in the second half) and are certainly more efficient than the 2008 team. However, in both games this season the Tigers have “fallen flat” during late portions of the first half. Not many people are addressing the Auburn first half collapse that has occurred in both games this season. If the Tigers have another first half “nap” against a quality opponent they may not be able to wake up in time to save the game. West Virginia without quarterback Pat White is certainly a different West Virginia team. However, the Mountaineers are certainly a quality opponent. From a personal standpoint this is unquestionably an “are you for real” contest. Auburn is certainly better but let’s not forget, the Tigers began last season 3-0 and even 4-1 before the hay wagon tipped over. In a close one…
WINNER: WEST VIRGINIA
The Big East meets the SEC in this classic in-state rivalry. Both teams are 1-0 on the season and by many common observations, Louisville is certainly not the “power team” they were a few years ago. I’ll go with the SEC in this one.
Alabama has some injuries, but it won’t make any difference against the Mean Green. Julio Jones “could” play and Roy Upchurch is “questionable,” but at the end of this game the only “question” will be the margin of victory. Alabama improves to 3-0 as SEC play is just around the corner.
Unless the entire world knows something about this game I don’t…this will not even be considered a game. Lane Kiffin is in for a rude awakening and he’ll be praying for Sunday if this contest goes as many expect. Look for Urban Meyer and the Gators to send “Rocky Top”...to a “Rocky Bottom”…
What more can anyone say about this game? In a word…nothing!
FLORIDA ATLANTIC/SOUTH CAROLINA
I wouldn’t be shocked if this game is close for longer than expected. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Gamecocks put up 50. It will all depend on which South Carolina team shows up to play. Story of Spurrier’s Carolina career, eh?
WINNER: SOUTH CAROLINA
Is this a clash of the titans, or what? Probably “or what” if you want the opinion held by many. I’ll take Vandy in a slugfest that not many will pay to watch.
SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA/OLE MISS
The only thing that can stop Ole Miss in this contest is the flu! Almost 20 percent of the Rebels contracted the flu before or after the Memphis game on Labor Day weekend. By all reports most (if not all) the players have recovered and this will certainly spell doom for the opposition. This game will be whatever Ole Miss wants it to be…
WINNER: OLE MISS
Georgia looks like a pig in slop! Oh wait…isn’t that Arkansas? Georgia has shown me very little this season and could easily have been 0-2 entering this contest with the Razorbacks. It may be an upset to some…but I’ll take the Hogs on Saturday.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
As I follow the daily updates concerning the health and playing status of Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch, I can’t help but feel like Geraldo Rivera during his live broadcast of The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault, in 1986. Will I uncover a more serious situation…or find nothing but dust?
Daily media reports imply both have made great strides this week, however, both have also been in black “no contact” jerseys as recently as Wednesday. If memory serves I’ve never seen a player(s) in a black jersey on Wednesday…play on Saturday.
Another item to consider is the next game…Arkansas. Is it worth risking additional injury to Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch against North Texas? On the surface the answer would be “no” without blinking an eye. Mike McCoy is a solid replacement for Julio, and Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson were fantastic against Florida International.
At the moment it appears the “Bama Nation” will have to wait until kickoff to know the final status of Jones and Upchurch. However, being kept out of action is one thing…being honestly unable to play due to injury…is quite another.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy will be facing his former high school coach this weekend when the Crimson Tide tangle with the Mean Green of North Texas. Coach Todd Dodge is the former head coach at Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. Dodge won four state titles during his seven year coaching career at Southlake. While coaching Greg McElroy the team compiled a record of 79-1. In 2005, Southlake completed a perfect 16-0 season by winning the 5A state championship.
‘Bama fans can look for SEC Freshman of the Week Trent Richardson to see plenty of action against North Texas. Roy Upchurch is still dealing with an ankle injury which he suffered in the win over Florida International. With the playing status of Upchurch still in question, look for Mark Ingram and Richardson to lead the rushing attack against the Mean Green. Trent rushed for 118 yards against FIU and could very well top that number on Saturday.
Kick me over! The University of Alabama is currently ranked 113 out of 120 in respect to kickoff coverage. ‘Bama is also the only team in the NCAA’s elite division to have given up two kickoff returns for touchdown this season. In an interesting statistic, Alabama never once yielded a kickoff return for touchdown from 1973 through 1997. Crimson Tide coaches and fans alike will be keeping a close eye on every kickoff against North Texas. Breath holding could also be in order as well.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The North Texas Mean Green will invade Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday to face the #4 Alabama Crimson Tide. North Texas comes into the contest with a record of 1-1 after defeating Ball State and dropping an overtime affair to the University of Ohio.
The Mean Green will be without the services of quarterback Riley Dodge who suffered a separated shoulder in the loss to Ohio. His father, Mean Green coach Todd Dodge, says back-up quarterback Nathan Tune will make the start against the Crimson Tide.
The meeting with North Texas will mark the second consecutive week Alabama will face an opponent from the Sun Belt Conference. In 2008 North Texas had a brutal season to say the least. The Mean Green finished the year with a record of 1-11 and 0-7 in the Sun Belt.
Kickoff for ‘Bama/North Texas is set for 11:21 a.m. central time on the SEC Network, be sure to check your local affiliate for the station in your area.
Prediction: Alabama 45 North Texas 7
‘Bama Injury Update:
-Julio Jones should return to action later in the week after suffering a bruised knee against Florida International. Thankfully, no additional damage was found to his injured knee and he should be ready for action against North Texas.
-Roy Upchurch has a high ankle sprain and is listed as day-to-day. He is currently listed as “questionable” for North Texas.
-As many expected, defense end Damion Square has a torn ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Alabama Crimson Tide managed over 500 yards of total offense in route to a 40-14 win over Florida International at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.
Even though Tide fans were flustered and confused by a first half performance which saw FIU take a 14-13 lead, ‘Bama retained the advantage before the half (20-14) and dominated the remainder of the contest.
Offensively, quarterback Greg McElroy has been outstanding. McElroy completed 14 consecutive passes against FIU which set a new Crimson Tide record for most consecutive completions in ‘Bama history. The new mark broke the old record of 12 held by former Tide quarterbacks Andrew Zow and John Parker Wilson. In front of the home crowd McElroy finished the night 18-for-24 with 241 yards and 1 touchdown pass to receiver Mike McCoy.
In the special teams department Alabama once again had a rough night defending the return. For the second consecutive game the Tide allowed a kickoff to be “taken to the house” for a touchdown. One can only assume that kick coverage will be a special point of emphasis this week in practice. On the positive side, placekicker Leigh Tiffin tied his father (Van Tiffin) for the third most field goals converted in school history. Tiffin now sits at 59 career field goals which places behind Philip Doyle (78) and Michael Proctor (65) respectively.
Senior receiver Mike McCoy and freshman running back Trent Richardson were very impressive against the Golden Panthers. McCoy, who became a favorite target of Greg McElroy due to a knee injury suffered by Julio Jones, had a career night. Mike caught 5 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Running back Trent Richardson led ‘Bama in rushing and put on a showcase for the fans at Bryant-Denny. Considered by many to be the most sought after high school recruit in the nation, Richardson proved his “paper clippings” were legit. Trent rushed for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries against FIU.
The ‘Bama defense was once again a “brick house” against the run. FIU could only muster a single yard on the ground. Alabama was also officially credited with 5 sacks for a loss of 38 yards.
On the injury front, Julio Jones left the game very early in the contest with what appears to be a bruised knee. Jones is scheduled for re-evaluation and I will provide updates as more information becomes available.
Roy Upchurch is reported to have a sprained ankle, however, initial diagnosis imply the injury is not serious enough to keep him out of action this weekend against North Texas.
Finally, the worst injury appears to be that of defensive end Damion Square. Initial reports suggest Square has a major knee injury which will require surgery.
NOTE: In the coming days I will post a ‘Bama/North Texas preview as well as an injury report.
Friday, September 11, 2009
In the new copy of "College Football 101" this game is considered a cupcake with all the fat anyone could ever want. Look for this game to be over as soon as the gates open.
UT could very well take this game going away, however, until Lane Kiffin can prove he can coach instead of run his mouth...he will get no love from me.
Even though LSU looked horrible at times against Washington, I'll take the Tigers against the 'Dores in Baton Rouge.
'Bama gets an easy win...and FIU gets a check. Thanks for playing!
Will the flu and the sting of losing to Oklahoma State be in Athens on Saturday? I expect a close game...but I also expect UGA to get the last BITE!
3-2? How about 6-3 this year? For those still laughing at the Miss. State/Auburn game from 2008...you're in good company. The 2009 contest should provide the "Auburn Nation" with an idea of how far the Tigers have come in one season. The Bulldogs are better than Louisiana Tech, but I also think they're better than Auburn. I look for State to seal the game in the final minutes as Auburn fans prepare for another toxic season on the plains. Just because you're "better" doesn't mean you're "good"...
WINNER: MISS. STATE
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Running back Terry Grant has been working with the receiving core during preparation for Florida International. Grant, who has been less than productive since 2007 due to lack of playing time, may find the move to his advantage. Only time will tell if the move to receiver is permanent.
Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick continues to recover after being shot in an attempted robbery. Deaderick is on the verge of being 100 percent following an incident that could have very well cost him his life. Look for Deaderick to be in action against FIU Saturday night. Brandon has been a wonderful inspiration to Crimson Tide players and fans alike. Quarterback Greg McElroy credits Deaderick for the much needed motivation and inspiration which allowed 'Bama to seal the game against a tough Virginia Tech defense.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Although 'Bama should dominate both sides of the ball, FIU returns quarterback Paul McCall who threw for over 2,300 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008. Following dreadful seasons in 2006 (0-12) and 2007 (1-11), the Golden Panthers have their sites set on becoming bowl eligible for the first time in school history. FIU did not play in the "traditional" opening weekend, so the contest with Alabama will be the first time the Golden Panthers have taken the field in 2009.
On the Alabama side of the ball, the "flu bug" has hit Tuscaloosa. Starting running back Mark Ingram and back-up quarterback Star Jackson have been kept out of practice during the early portion of the week due to the flu. However, for 'Bama fans, Ingram is expected to be in action Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
For the second week in a row 'Bama fans can expect to see the newly added "wildcat" and "pistol" formations against Florida International. These new offensive "wrinkles" have been quite the topic of conversation amongst fans this week. Look for Mark Ingram, Roy Upchurch, and possibly highy touted freshman Trent Richardson to be the centerpiece of the "wildcat" formation Saturday night against FIU. Also, expect the Crimson Tide to dig through the depth chart against the Golden Panthers in order to get much needed playing time for back-ups and newcomers.
FIU head coach and former Miami Hurricane offensive tackle Mario Cristobal should have his hands full against the Crimson Tide. Will this game remind him of the 1993 Sugar Bowl? Unless pigs fly...this game will be ugly and the 'Bama defense will remind him of a sad and miserable night in the Superdome. Cristobal won't see "Curry and Copeland" but look for the FIU offensive line to wish for "sun and sand" come Saturday night at Bryant-Denny.
Kickoff for 'Bama/FIU is set for 6 p.m. central time. The game is available on pay-per-view and ESPN360.com for those outside Alabama. For 'Bama fans unable to attend or watch the game, you can always listen to the Crimson Tide Sports Network and hear Eli Gold, Phil Savage, and Barry Krauss call all the action. Be sure to check the local radio affiliate in your area for live coverage of University of Alabama football.
Prediction: Alabama 49 Florida International 10