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A quick glance at defensive statistics this season would seem to suggest that no, Ole Miss’ 2013 defensive improvement was not a mirage. The Rebels have put up impressive numbers through the first third of the 2014 season, and the confidence gained from their performance have given Ole Miss’ players a great deal of confidence heading into this game.
For Alabama, though, it’s just another verse to a familiar song, one sung by Ole Miss players and fans insistent that the current season will be different from those of the last 50 years. And while Ole Miss has a stout defense in 2014, to be sure, the Rebels’ offensive capabilities – particularly in the running game – simply haven’t been good enough to merit discussion of the Rebels-as-contenders subject.
So maybe Missouri really isn’t all that. There seems to be one SEC team each year that befuddles the Predictions Dept., and the Tigers seem destined to be that team in 2014. A loss to Indiana at home undid just about every good thing Missouri has done to this point in 2014, and now the slate of SEC games starts with a road trip to South Carolina, one of the biggest games of the week. In other action, Texas A&M is in the trap game of the week against Arkansas, while Tennessee tries to prove it’s for real in a matchup with old rival Georgia.Continue reading …
The last time Alabama fans witnessed something so dumbfounding inside the confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium, Josh Reed was involved and Nick Saban was wearing LSU colors.
That day – Nov. 3, 2001 to be exact – saw Reed catch 19 passes for 293 yards, and LSU quarterback Rohan Davey throw for 528 yards on 35 completions. After a time, the game itself almost became secondary to the Davey-to-Reed show, with fans of both teams essentially waiting to see what would happen next.Continue reading …
As the final few plays in Florida’s overtime win over Kentucky went by the boards, there were two schools of thought concerning the Gators. The first was that Will Muschamp needed to visit the nearest Laser Copy and start getting resumes ready; the second was that this Gators team, despite its struggles against Kentucky, still has enough talent to win any game on its schedule.
And, now that Florida refused to fold against Kentucky, you can add the adjective “resilient” to the mix.Continue reading …
Week 3 was a decidedly mediocre effort for the Predictions Dept., which grudgingly admits now that Missouri might be for real. This week’s headline game is Alabama-Florida, which will be covered in its own article, but LSU and Mississippi State will do their best to be a decent second option, while Auburn and Kansas State meet in a key intra-conference matchup.Continue reading …
The ever-lovable Joe Kines brought to Alabama a defensive strategy based around a concept of bending, but not breaking. And depending on the Alabama fan one interviews today, that description either encourages praise, or the gritting of teeth.
Kines’ strategy played out much differently than Nick Saban’s ever has, and had a different attitude. Kines believed in pushing plays toward the sidelines and using superior speed to make the play. Offenses, Kines reasoned, would eventually make a mistake and kill their own drives so long as Alabama didn’t give up a big play along the way. He was playing the percentages.Continue reading …
There was a time when Southern Miss was a better yearly opponent for Alabama than some SEC teams.
A couple of Alabama-Southern Miss games are noteworthy, for all the wrong reasons. There was the Reggie Collier-led upset of one of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s last Alabama teams. And then there was the 21-0 loss to USM in 2000 that should have been the impetus for firing Mike DuBose.
This Southern Miss team, though, is nothing like those teams.Continue reading …
A soft schedule in Week 2 helped the Predictions Dept. ride to an undefeated record, although South Carolina at least attempted to make it interesting in its close win over East Carolina. This week, the Gamecocks are again part of the most intriguing conference matchup, as they fight for their SEC East lives in a matchup with Georgia, while Tennessee will get a chance to put its money where its mouth is, as the Volunteers face Oklahoma.Continue reading …
Nick Saban is loved by Alabama fans for many things, not the least of which is his brusque treatment of the media.
But in his post-game press statements following Alabama’s rain-shortened 41-0 romp over Florida Atlantic, he had a message for fans who have a specific favorite in the ongoing battle for Alabama’s quarterback position: Basically, shut up.Continue reading …
Just about the time West Virginia head coach Dana Holgersen was being anointed as the next big thing in college coaches, the 2013 season happened.
West Virginia went 4-8 in 2013, and the problems were evident right off the bat, as West Virginia struggled to beat William & Mary in the opener, 24-17, then had losses to Oklahoma and Maryland by a combined score of 53-7, sandwiching a win over FBS pretender Georgia State. The offense than Holgorsen took such great pride in having developed suddenly didn’t work.