Week Seven Review

A 5-0 week to run the overall record to 49-7…

Alabama 52, Ole Miss 7 [Prediction: Alabama 31, Ole Miss 10]

  • Pre-game: “The Rebel Black Bears had a week off to get ready for the Tide, so there’s no telling what Houston Nutt has cooked up.  He’ll have to have something really special to get past Bama.  If the Tide can avoid turnovers, this should be an easy one.”
  • Post-game: This game will forever be remembered for this:

Auburn 17, Florida 6 [Prediction: Auburn 24, Florida 23]

  • Pre-game: “A month ago, I would have predicted a Florida blowout in this one.  But now?  I have no idea.  Florida has looked so bad the last two weeks against really good teams that I can’t see them pulling off a win in Auburn.  Especially with their quarterbacking situation.  However, the Gator speed may meet a perfect running buddy in the Auburn defense.”
  • Post-game: Two thoughts – 1) Kudos to Auburn.  Some how, some way, they keep finding a way to win.  The competition hasn’t always played at the highest caliber, but a ‘W’ is a ‘W.’  2) Florida’s offensive effort was one of the worst I’ve ever seen.  It was embarrassing.  The only guaranteed ‘W’ left for the Gators is Furman, so this team has major work ahead to become bowl eligible.

LSU 38, Tennessee 7 [Prediction: LSU 38, Tennessee 10]

  • Pre-game: “In my pre-season predictions, I chalked this game up as a loss for the Tigers.  Before Tyler Bray broke his thumb last week, I was still predicting a Vols upset.  But even though Matt Simms quarterbacked the near-upset last year in Baton Rouge, I don’t him working the same magic this week.”
  • Post-game: The Vols kept it close for a half, but the final score was almost dead-on to my prediction.  Get this: Each team had three second half possessions.  LSU used touchdown drives of 12, 16 and 10 plays to finish off the Volunteers.  The Tigers finished with a time of possession advantage of almost 17 minutes.

South Carolina 14, Mississippi State 12 [Prediction: South Carolina 30, Mississippi State 21]

  • Pre-game: “This is another game I would have predicted differently just a few days ago.  But Stephen Garcia’ removal from the team changed my mind.  State hasn’t played well this year and they struggled last week against a miserable UAB team.  But playing at Starkville can be dangerous for some teams, especially teams that had been playing as suspect as the Gamecocks.  All that thinking changes now with Garcia gone.”
  • Post-game:  The Gamecocks won, but lost All-American Marcus Lattimore for the season.  Dang, I’m sorry to hear this.

Georgia 33, Vanderbilt 28 [Prediction: Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 10]

  • Pre-game: “Teams can struggle the week after playing a tough, physical Bama team.  I see that happening this week for the Dores.  Georgia is playing really well defensively and should have more than enough offense.”
  • Post-game: The Dawgs won, but nearly gave it away.  The story to come from this game?  Check this out…

Arkansas – The 5-1 Razorbacks get a much needed rest to get ready for the second half of the season.

Kentucky – The Wildcats get an open week to try to find some offense.

Alabama – Ole Miss 2011 Preview

Thank goodness for Mississippi.

In Alabama, we say that about a lot of things, but it is especially true for Alabama football.

Over the last 19 seasons of SEC play, since the divisional format was adopted in 1992, the Tide has gone 17-2 against the Rebels (not including the NCAA-imposed forfeit in 1993).  Those two losses, in 2001 and 2003, came during the three year period Eli Manning happened to start at quarterback for the Rebels.

In fact, the Tide has an all-time mark of 44-9-2 against the Rebel Black Bears and four of the nine all-time losses have come when a Manning quarterbacked for Ole Miss.  Eli’s dad, Archie, was the quarterback in Ole Miss wins in 1968 and 1970.

Throw in wins for Ole Miss in 1976, 1988, 1894 and 1910 and that’s it in a once sporadic series that dates back to 1894.

Fortunately for Bama, no Manning spawn will play for the RBBs this Saturday.

Because of the one-sided record in this series, there are very few memorable games.

Here are a few:

** The elder Manning and Bama’s Scott Hunter let ‘er rip in the 1968 classic, which also happened to be the first nationally televised night game.  This is also regarded as one of the best games in college football history as well.

** In 1989, the Tide spotted the RBBs 21 first quarter points before ripping the Rebs 62-27.

 

** A year earlier, in 1988, Bama laid an egg on homecoming losing 22-12.  Later that night, someone tossed a brick through coach Bill Curry’s window.  Bama scored on a kickoff return for a touchdown, field goal and safety and gave up 15 points in the final 46 seconds to lose.  This was the first win ever for Ole Miss over Alabama in Alabama.  Cotis Nunley also saw game action against the Rebs.  Hopefully all video of this game has been destroyed.

There have been a few other interesting games in the series, mostly mud holes stomped by Bama, but this is pretty much it.

This year, the Tide opened as 25-point favorites, even though the game’s in Mississippi.  The main concern for this game is Ole Miss’ open date last week.  There’s always the chance Houston Nutt installed the wishbone or something crazy such as that.  I expect the RBBs to be re-energized and emotional, but if the Tide offense doesn’t turn into a turnover machine, this won’t be a very close game.

Thank goodness for Mississippi.

Fly on the Wall

We all wondered what went on in the Alabama locker room last Saturday when the Tide only led Vandy 14-0 after a lackluster first half:

“I probably got after them about as good as I’ve done all season,” Saban acknowledged Monday. “And they responded.”

Alabama beat reporter Don Kausler, Jr. tries to take us into the inner sanctum, but primarily winds up with a bunch of quotes that talk about halftime, with no secrets revealed:

“Man,” he said, pausing to think. “Arkansas last year was pretty good. I dont know if they have that on YouTube or anything. … He had quite a sense of urgency about him. It was nice.”

“On Fridays, we get a little pregame speech before we go to our walk-through and start our meetings,” Vlachos said. “I would think he would run out of things to say, he’s been doing this so many years, or he would repeat a story or a point. He always has something different and good to say.”

 

Week Seven Picks

Alabama 31, Ole Miss 10 – The Rebel Black Bears had a week off to get ready for the Tide, so there’s no telling what Houston Nutt has cooked up.  He’ll have to have something really special to get past Bama.  If the Tide can avoid turnovers, this should be an easy one.

Auburn 24, Florida 23 – A month ago, I would have predicted a Florida blowout in this one.  But now?  I have no idea.  Florida has looked so bad the last two weeks against really good teams that I can’t see them pulling off a win in Auburn.  Especially with their quarterbacking situation.  However, the Gator speed may meet a perfect running buddy in the Auburn defense.

LSU 38, Tennessee 10 – In my pre-season predictions, I chalked this game up as a loss for the Tigers.  Before Tyler Bray broke his thumb last week, I was still predicting a Vols upset.  But even though Matt Simms quarterbacked the near-upset last year in Baton Rouge, I don’t him working the same magic this week.

South Carolina 30, Mississippi State 21 – This is another game I would have predicted differently just a few days ago.  But Stephen Garcia’ removal from the team changed my mind.  State hasn’t played well this year and they struggled last week against a miserable UAB team.  But playing at Starkville can be dangerous for some teams, especially teams that had been playing as suspect as the Gamecocks.  All that thinking changes now with Garcia gone.

Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 10 – Teams can struggle the week after playing a tough, physical Bama team.  I see that happening this week for the Dores.  Georgia is playing really well defensively and should have more than enough offense.

Arkansas – The 5-1 Razorbacks get a much needed rest to get ready for the second half of the season.

Kentucky – The Wildcats get an open week to try to find some offense.

 

Week Six Review

A perfect 6-0 in week six picks to run the overall record to 44-7.

Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 0 [Prediction: Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 7]

  • Pre-game: “The Commodores had a week off to prepare for the Tide, but it won’t help much.  If the Tide is emotionally ready after two big wins in the last two weeks, this one won’t be close.”
  • Post-game:  Despite a sluggish first half, the Tide cruises to a shutout win.

Arkansas 38, Auburn 14 [Prediction: Arkansas 41, Auburn 31]

  • Pre-game: “This is the exact same score I picked for the South Carolina – Auburn game last week.  Since I totally whiffed on that one, I thought I’d use it again.  The key to this game will actually be the Hog defense.  If the Hogs D can get Auburn’s offense off the field, Tyler Wilson and his receiving corps will be too much for the Tigers.”
  • Post-game: The Hog defense closed the door on the Auburn running game and the Tigers had no other weapons.

LSU 41, Florida 11 [Prediction: LSU 38, Florida 10]

  • Pre-game: “There’s absolutely no reason to believe the Gators can go into Baton Rouge and expect to win.  The Gators will still try to get the ball to Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey in space, but will have about as much success as they had last week against Bama.”
  • Post-game: Of course there was no reason to expect the Gators to win without John Brantley (or with John Brantley), but, quite frankly, Will Muschamp’s team looks pathetic.

Mississippi State 21, UAB 3 [Prediction: Mississippi State 24, UAB 6]

  • Pre-game: “Here’s the state of college football in Mississippi: last week the Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears traveled to Fresno for a game and this week the Bulldogs travel to UAB for a game.  Of course, the Bulldog fans living in the Birmingham metro area are happy, but still, this is embarrassing.  UAB stinks; the Dogs should have no trouble with the Blazers.”
  • Post-game: Perhaps the Dogs were caught looking ahead to South Carolina.  Or, maybe the Dogs just aren’t a very good football team right now.  They’ll have another test next week.

Georgia 20, Tennessee 12 [Prediction: Georgia 31, Tennessee 30]

  • Pre-game: “It’s fish-or-cut-bait time again for Mark Richt and his Bulldogs.  Although they still lose the SEC East tie-breaker with South Carolina, if they can win this game, it’s just a matter of time before they control their own destiny.  This will be Dawg defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s biggest test since the Carolina game.”
  • Post-game: The Dawg’s defense passed the test with flying colors, shutting down Tyler Bray and Co.

South Carolina 54, Kentucky 3 [Prediction: South Carolina 17, Kentucky 6]

  • Pre-game: “The big question is how many series will new quarterback Connor Shaw get before Steve Spurrier yanks him in favor of Stephen Garcia.  The Gamecocks have turned into an enigma and need a solid showing here from Shaw to begin rebuilding the offense’s confidence.”
  • Post-game: So is Steve Spurrier kicking himself for starting Connor Shaw one game too late or proclaiming himself a genius again for starting Shaw when he did?

Ole Miss – Just like Vandy, the RBBs get an off-week before taking on the Tide.

Alabama – Vandy Thoughts


When Vanderbilt rolls around on the schedule, fear is not the typical reaction and that’s the case this year.  Vandy comes to town with a decent record – 3-1, which includes a 30-7 drubbing of the Ole Miss RBBs, but, barring some sort of emotional melt down, the Tide should handle the Dores pretty easily.

The Tide has won 19 in a row in this series the last loss coming in 1984.

While this series has been one-sided in Alabama’s favor, it has produced some memories for me as a Tide fan.

My first on-campus Alabama game was in 1982 to watch Alabama squeeze by the Dores 24-21.  A picture of the game program is included here.  I still have that program somewhere.

Although the Tide won that day, the atmosphere after the game was like we lost.  There was no celebrating.  I went to the game with a friend and his family and afterwards, we went by Bryant Hall to see who we could see and to try to get some autographs.  We got a few, but through the windows of the dining hall, we also caught a glimpse of Coach Bryant. It was the closest I had ever been to him – or ever would be.  He was sitting at a table with several other people around and his body language told the story of the day: he was tired and you could almost see the sense of relief of escaping with a win against Vanderbilt.  That picture stuck in my mind as the 1982 team began their slide to losing an unheard of four games in one season.

The day had other highlights as well.  On the way out of Bryant Hall, we hounded a few other players and former players for autographs.  Ol’ number 47, Byron Braggs, playfully put me in a headlock as he signed for us.

All-in-all, it was a surreal day.  I witnessed my first game in Bryant-Denny, but the atmosphere was very subdued and somber.

Other memories of Vanderbilt include the 66-3 drubbing by the Tide during the 1979 championship season.  President Gerald Ford was on hand in Nashville to witness that drubbing.

My dad and I rarely went to Bama games together, but we sat in the upper west deck to watch the 1992 champions kick off their season with a 25-8 win.

In 2006, the wife and kids and I witnessed the Tide beat Vandy 13-10 on a last second kick by freshman Leigh Tiffin.  That game was also a sign of things to come.

In 2007, we were so pumped over our new coach that the family traveled to Nashville to watch the Tide, led by Terry Grant, beat the Commodores 24-10.

The series with Vandy hasn’t produced very many, if any, memorable games on the field.  But it has produced a lot of memories of Tide football.  The family and I will head out again tomorrow to watch the Tide and hopefully some good memories will come back with us.