The Predictions Dept. is off to a decent start in 2018, and with Week 4, the focus begins to turn toward intraconference matchups. There are several intriguing contests this weekend, not the least of which is Alabama-Texas A&M, but others like South Carolina-Vanderbilt and even the once-great Florida-Tennessee rivalry have postseason implications.
There are a lot of similarities between Texas A&M in 2018 and Alabama in 2007. Both programs were coming out of the pit of despair – which for their respective fan bases, means anything less than 10 wins a season. While the Aggie offense is much improved – which you'd figure would happen, given Fisher's history as an offensive coordinator – the Aggie defense might not be able to slow down Alabama's high-powered passing attack enough to pull the upset.
Whether it's fair to either player or not, Alabama's playoff semifinal against Oklahoma is going to serve a second purpose: It will be a referendum on whether Heisman Trophy voters got it right when they picked Oklahoma's Kyler Murray over Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.
Kentucky going back to being Kentucky cost the Predictions Dept. a perfect record in Week 11. This week, it's mostly a bunch of freebies, with some B-level SEC games mixed in. Most of the big-dog games will wait for Week 13.
Whether you're an optimist (“We still have Nick Saban!”) or a pessimist (“This was the beginning of the end!”) about Alabama football probably hinges on how many total points you thought swung about on two poor decisions and throws from QB Tua Tagovailoa, and Alabama's response to it.
This year, Alabama gets a Clemson team that is somewhere in between the last two versions. The question is how much like Clemson '17 can Alabama make Clemson '18 look.
Against Louisville, Alabama did to the Cardinals what it has done to every opponent since Nick Saban’s first year in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide won, and it wasn’t particularly close. For that matter, Louisville finds itself cast into a category of least potent Alabama opponents the Crimson Tide has faced in some time.
This game isn't really a trap game for Alabama, as Ole Miss has won two games in the series recently and isn't about to sneak up on Alabama in any way. It's still a very dangerous matchup, however, and shows why Nick Saban so badly wanted to add Freeze to his staff over the offseason.
When everyone started calling for Vanderbilt to upset South Carolina right along with us, The Predictions Dept. knew it was in trouble in Week 4. Vanderbilt proved to be a mirage, while the Gamecocks bounced back nicely from a disappointing performance against Georgia.
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