Happy New Year!

BTW, if the Peach Bowl (Chick-Fil-A) goes into OT, I’m pretty sure Auburn will win it. They seem to be running the ball well, so I imagine that they’ll stick to that since they would start from the 25. But hey, still 1:32 left with AU near midfield. 17-17 between Clemson and Auburn. Can Byrum get over that last miss and handle the pressure? I say he can.

-UPDATE-

Looks like Clemson is playing for Overtime. Let’s see if my thoughts will be correct….

-2nd UPDATE-

Field Goal Clemson…… 20-17. Time for my prediction to come true as Auburn will probably get a TD.

-3rd UPDATE-

Told ya. 23-20, Auburn wins. Tubbs survives another 4th down risk. I imagine all of the ill-will towards Tuberville after that contract extension will disappear… until the next extension next season. 4 bowl games, 4 wins for the SEC

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30-24 Alabama Wins!

We win! Excuse me…. WE WEEEEEEHUUN! That’s more like it.

I almost forgot what this felt like. I gotta admit, even though I am pretty disappointed in the season as a whole, it is a calming feeling to avoid back-to-back losing seasons, something we haven’t had to suffered through in over 50 years. It all comes down to that ULM loss (we played like we did against ULM in the last 5 minutes of the 1st half btw), which really dampened our spirits. If we actually show some mental toughness (which Saban harps on… a lot. Where was that then coach?), we would’ve easily won that game. But such is life. I’ll share my thoughts on this game performance tomorrow.

I do want to give Colorado a big thumbs up for a comeback that was a lateral too short. Dan Hawkins is a solid coach, and I’m pretty sure he will have you bouncing back in no time. I imagine the Buffaloes will win enough games to avoid Shreveport next year, so keep the faith alive citizens of Boulder. I should also say something about Ralphie…. he’s all that AND a bag of chips. Roll Tide and Go Buffs!

We won a punch bowl! HUZZAH!

By the way, I realized that I forgot to give you my pick for the game, which is a pretty ignorant thing to do. Honestly, I predicted Alabama by 3 (I was aiming for 24-21), so a 6 point win should probably make me happy…. I guess. 7-6 isn’t going to win you anything, but it is a positive for the off-season to avoid the stress of a 2nd straight 6-7 season. Plus, we can focus on recruiting, which is looking very promising right now.

(Picture from The Shreveport Times)

The Gut and I: Colorado

It comes down to this…. win, and you get some momentum going into recruiting and the 2008 season. Lose, and it’ll be the first time Alabama has had back-to-back losing seasons since Ears Whitworth was in Tuscaloosa in the early 1950’s. Colorado is the opponent, a scrappy team from the Big 12. Can Alabama overcome a late season meltdown? Or, will the Tide fall to another opponent in a game we’re favored to win? One thing is for sure, it will be tough no matter the outcome.

The Reason for my gut to say Alabama wins

  • We finally have the nucleus of our Offensive Line together long enough to actually prepare for a game. Yes, we had them for Auburn, but they had not done any real football play for about 4 weeks.
  • We’ve had a few weeks to clear our heads of whatever has been affecting us in such a negative way. Football is a physical game, but it is a mental game as well.
  • D.J. Hall will get Colorado’s beat man on defense, but the rest of that CU defense is a bit questionable at times.
  • Cody Hawkins is a talented QB, but he is still rather young.
  • Our Special Teams seem to be back in order. Javier Arenas is back (well, 80% back), and Leigh Tiffin has rebounded nicely after the Arkansas game in 2006.
  • It’s a chance to avoid 6-7 again. Hopefully, our guys will be all business since this is a repeat trip to Shreveport.

Reasons for my gut to say Alabama loses

  • John Parker Wilson has a QB rating of 111.9, which is 11th out of the 12 full-time starters in the SEC. He also had 1 TD and 5 INTs during our 4 game losing streak.
  • Our running game just cannot seem to get over the hump at times. We really need Grant, Coffee, and Upchurch to burn up some major yardage.
  • Our thin defense may have to suffer through yet another long game if our offense is to do what they usually do, which is stink.
  • Colorado is probably in a better mood than we are since they scored 65 points in their last game. (sure, it was Nebraska, but that is still impressive).
  • Colorado did beat Oklahoma for a reason. They caused turnovers (and let OU hurt themselves) in order to win. We’re extremely good at hurting ourselves.
  • The fanbase just isn’t into this match-up. We hardly heard anything all week long about this game in the press, on the message boards, and even on this blog. Something doesn’t feel right…

It’s going to be a tense time for me in watching this game. I don’t know if I can handle yet another let down after so much promising play in the early part of the year. I think we can definitely beat a team like Colorado if we play like we actually want to win. The only question is can we actually achieve that? The players said they’ve had some of the best practices all year long. Well, I hope this is true, because if we come out and loaf around again, I will be one unhappy person.

If we do end up with a loss, I know most people will either try and excuse this season away, or become way too angry. I know this season has been disappointing since we thrashed Tennessee, there is no other way to describe it. But, we can’t automatically start screaming in blind rage, much like a Jim from Tuscaloosa on the Finebaum show. The staff and this team really did underachieve, but we can’t give up on people just yet.

Some of you might end up angry because there will be critics who will say things like “Alabama paid $4 million for another 6-6 season! Just like Shula!” That really doesn’t bug me too much anyways since every single one of these people would never take Shula over Saban as their coach. They’re unfamiliar with the situation, and seem to take a perverse pleasure in finding problems with how Alabama handles itself.

So in the end, this season is a big downer, and there are no excuses. But, we’re still going to prove how much better off we really are in years to come. Say what you will, but I will not let go of my optimism for the future.

Game is at 7:00 pm cst on ESPN. Enjoy and Roll Tide!

Nick Saban > Kevin Bacon

Ok, we’re officially having too much fun with Saban doing the Cupid Shuffle. We’ve got a new video with fancy slides about Alabama football and the actual song dubbed over the video. The video quality has gone the way of the dinosaurs it looks like. Saban and the gang appear splotchy. Anywho, here is Nick “The Splotch” Saban dancing….again.

Independence Bowl Breakdown

I forgot to actually post something, so here is the Rivals.com Independence Bowl breakdown with an article bashing 6-6 teams.

(HT: Rivals.com)

Independence Bowl Alabama vs. Colorado
Alabama run offense vs. Colorado run defense
EDGE: Alabama Alabama TB Terry Grant has rushed for 891 yards this year, though he did much of his damage in the first four weeks of the season. Grant could find plenty of running room against a Colorado defense that has allowed nearly 4 yards per carry.
Alabama pass offense vs. Colorado pass defense
EDGE: Colorado Colorado is 101st in the nation in pass defense, but that’s a bit misleading. Because Big 12 teams throw the ball so often, six of its members are ranked 100th or below in pass defense. Colorado has enough talent in its secondary to bother Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, who has thrown five interceptions with only one touchdown pass in his past three games.
Colorado run offense vs. Alabama run defense
EDGE: Colorado Hugh Charles rushed for at least 100 yards in four consecutive games during one midseason stretch and closed the regular season with a 169-yard performance against Nebraska. It will be interesting to see how well Charles fares against an Alabama defense that allows less than 3.5 yards per carry.
Colorado pass offense vs. Alabama pass defense
EDGE: Alabama Colorado QB Cody Hawkins played better as the season wore on, but he still has 15 interceptions. He must avoid turnovers against an Alabama defense that has picked off 17 passes this season. Hawkins also must watch out for Alabama E Wallace Gilberry , who has 17.5 tackles for loss in his past seven games.
Alabama special teams vs. Colorado special teams
EDGE: Alabama Alabama’s Leigh Tiffin has gone 22 of 31 on field-goal attempts, while P.J. Fitzgerald averages 38.2 yards per punt. Colorado’s Kevin Eberhart is 15 of 23 on field-goal attempts, while Matt DiLallo averages 40.1 yards per punt. Colorado doesn’t have a return man quite as strong as Alabama’s Javier Arenas, who has averaged 15.4 yards per punt return this season.
Alabama coaching staff vs. Colorado coaching staff
EDGE: Alabama Dan Hawkins did an exceptional job at Boise State and quickly has rebuilt Colorado’s program, but he doesn’t have Nick Saban‘s national championship background.
Alabama will win if
Wilson must reverse the late-season slide that helped cause the Tide to lose their last four games. In a best-case scenario, Grant runs so effectively that it takes some of the pressure off Wilson.
Colorado will win if
The Buffaloes need their defense to play better than it did down the stretch. Colorado has given up 137 points in its past three games. Colorado’s offense is good enough to score in the 20s against Alabama. If the Buffs have to score in the 30s or 40s, they probably won’t win.
X-factor
Most teams don’t expect their defensive tackles to do any more than stop the running game, but Colorado’s George Hypolite gives the Buffaloes a pass rusher in the middle of the line. Hypolite leads Colorado with six sacks and had two each in games against Florida State and Iowa State. Alabama could have trouble winning this game if Hypolite spends much time in the Tide’s backfield.

You Just Got Served Ralphie

(…OK, so the video has been taken down, and then put back up. We’ll see how long it lasts this time.)

So the team did make it in time to practice in Shreveport for the Independence Bowl match-up against Colorado. Only 4 players were late, but that was through no fault of their own. After that evening of practice, I feel comfortable in claiming that we have the coach with the best rhythm in the SEC (or at least the best at watching his wife dance, and following). I feel comfortable in this statement since Coach O was fired recently. That crazy Cajun danced like he coached: wild, loose, and care free.

o-dance.jpg
Just see what happens when you play some Gloria Estefan around this man

Yes, I know that Fulmer has a history of dancing as well. But, I really don’t count dancing with a horse pulling a carriage. BTW, here is the original post of this YouTube video on The Rap Sheet.

As I mentioned above, it was taken down. I don’t see the harm in having a video like this, other than a few bloggers getting a chuckle or two. It shows me a few things: 1) Saban can have fun. 2) He is connecting with his players, you saw how he started getting into it towards the end when his players started cheering him on. 3) Recruits gotta respect a guy who could beat them at Dance Dance Revolution. Besides most Alabama fans are eating this up, much like we do with whatever Saban still does. Sure, the honeymoon might technically be over, but we’re still nowhere near any post-honeymoon blues.

(HT: EDSBS, The Rap Sheet)

SEC Bowl Picks

The SEC Bowl games start this coming Sunday night as Alabama faces Colorado. I’ll save my Independence Bowl pick for later since it involves the team I love so much. Here we go:

GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL
Kentucky vs. Florida State

This is a pretty easy choice if you ask me. Florida State will now be missing 36 players due to injuries and that nasty cheating scandal. (seriously, how will the NCAA handle this compared to how they dealt with a now dead booster paying Lynn Lang to get Albert Means to play for Alabama? I doubt they’ll get much of anything, just like USC will get next to nothing because of Reggie Bush). Kentucky can run with the best of them on offense, and FSU will certainly provide us with an anemic offense. From what I saw of Florida State earlier in the season, I imagine UK should get the victory, although FSU might get a few pity points.

Score: Kentucky 38, Florida State 10

AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL
Mississippi State vs. Central Florida

For all of the Alabama fans complaining about going to Shreveport, I still believe it is better than the alternative. Central Florida is a dangerous team, and the risk of losing to another smaller conference this season isn’t something we need right now (yes, I am not afraid to admit this). Mississippi State handled Felix Jones and Darren McFadden pretty well, so I imagine this RB named Kevin Smith won’t rush for 300+ yards like he did against Tulsa. Still, he should be a handful. The Bulldogs biggest concern should be their offensive production, which is abysmal. They won plenty of games because of dumb turnovers by the opposing teams, but really can’t seem to get their pass and run games going at the same time. Still, MSU will have a soft UCF defense to go against, so I’ll stick with the Bulldogs.

Score: Mississippi State 27, Central Florida 21

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL
Auburn vs. Clemson

This should be an interesting game since Auburn is bringing in a new offense. A lot of Auburn fans have been talking about Tommy’s new toy in Tony Franklin, who has been installing a bare-bones version of his offense (with a little West Coast) to get a jump start for next season. Auburn will bring another solid defense with Muschamp staying around for at least one more season. They’ll need it since Clemson has been known to score plenty of points. But, there seems to be a deal with Tommy Bowden where he messes up a game that you originally think he might win (see Georgia Tech this season). I don’t think the SC Tigers are huge favorites over the AL Tigers, but you never know with this guy. He should attack that Auburn secondary in order to open up the run for his two big time RBs. The big X factor in this game is the new spread for Auburn. I really want to pick Clemson, but Auburn has this ability to win games you don’t expect them to win. So, I’m picking the Auburn Tigers.

Score: Auburn 24, Clemson 20

AT&T COTTON BOWL
Arkansas vs. Missouri

Arkansas, (Our partners in taking away NFL coaches from bad situations), is coming into this game with an interim head coach. That’s yet another comparison between 2006 Alabama and 2007 Arkansas, but we’re here to talk about a bowl game. Missouri should be in a BCS bowl game, but got screwed after Kansas got picked for the Orange Bowl. I respect Reggie Herring as a defensive mind (although he ran man-to-man way too much in my opinion), but I don’t think he can handle calling a complete game and trying to take down Chase Daniel. Missouri did allow a butt load of points to Oklahoma (butt load= a ton….. what? you doubt me?). But, a majority of the Arkansas coaches have Oxford on their minds, so I’m going with the Tigers.

Score: Missouri 28, Arkansas 17

OUTBACK BOWL
Tennessee vs. Wisconsin

David Cutcliffe is going to Durham, Tennessee has 6 players out for poor academic performances, and they have to play the Wisconsin Badgers (winners of 40 games in 4 years). What a strange off season for Tennessee. I know we SEC fans don’t like the Big 10, but Wisconsin is capable of beating a the runner up in the SEC with that monster sized O-line (see Arkansas last season). With the amount of turmoil in Knoxville, this should be a challenge for Fulmer and company. Still, Wisconsin is capable of giving up a large amount of points depending on how they feel, and Tennessee is capable of scoring plenty of points depending on how Erik Ainge feels. I tend to think that this Tennessee team is one of the most up & down teams of the season, so I’ll pick the Vols.

Score: Tennessee 24, Wisconsin 17

CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Florida vs. Michigan

It’s the last game for the old Michigan, and the first game for Tim Tebow as Mr. Heisman. I know people are expecting a blowout victory for the Gators, but I don’t see that happening. I certainly expect Florida to win, but I doubt you’ll see Michigan allow themselves to lose by 20 to 30 points since this is Lloyd Carr’s last game. I’m not much of a “win one for the Gipper” kind of guy, but his retirement has to be a motivating factor for this program somehow. Still, I don’t think they’ll have enough in them to get it done since a lot of the assistant coaches might be a little depressed after being fired by Rich Rodriguez. The Wolverines hate to defend the Spread, and the Gators are good at it.

Score: Florida 34, Michigan 20

All-State Sugar Bowl
Georgia vs. Hawai’i

The Bulldogs probably have the best argument for the teams left out of the BCS title game. Still, they best not rest on their laurels, or else Hawaii could give them an “L” in New Orleans. Colt Brennan is a good QB, but he and the Warriors seem to have issues whenever they approach the Mississippi River. I was witness to this in Tuscaloosa last season, although Hawaii was able to move the ball fairly well. Still, the Bulldogs have two big time threats of offense themselves (Moreno and Stafford). I say Georgia wins, upsetting half of the personalities on ESPN.

Score: Georgia 38, Hawai’i 28

BCS National Championship Game

I’ll save this one for another day. It’s LSU vs. Ohio State, and deserves its own post.

So, do you agree with me or not? Feel free to leave a comment in order to praise me or call me an SEC homer.