Thursday, October 27, 2005


Being undefeated is not all that it's cracked up to be. Just ask Tommy Tuberville. Don't get me wrong. There is no player, coach, or fan in America who wishes to lose at any point (that is unless you want to see your coach fired). But when a football team prevails each and every time it steps on the gridiron, it begins to arouse jealousy in its opponents, which carries a curse that could be greater than the blessing. This covetousness is not merely limited to an envying of the other team's record, but it also extends to the yearning for the selfish pleasure of being the first team to knock off the seemingly "untouchables." This is why games against a rather weak adversary aren't so easy. What is just another game against an inferior challenger to the one is a season defining game to the other. So, each week an undefeated team's contests become tougher and tougher as the stakes for its opponent are raised higher and higher . With the perfect team now set squarely in the middle of the cross hairs of not only each of its impending rivals but also the rest of the nation, every weekend the bow is arched and aimed at the target on the back of its jersey, forcing the invincible team to try and dodge yet another bullet. So, with no further ado, let's see which of the unscathed crews' enemies will hit the bullseye this Saturday. (Here's a hint: it's probably going to be one of the ones closer to the center of the target above.)...

Alabama 35, Utah State 6. The Tide dodged perhaps its largest bullet of the last 20 years last weekend when Roman Harper caused a fumble inside the 5 yard line, keeping Tennessee from taking the lead with under 5 minutes left in the game. And this occurred just one week after a close call in Oxford. The combination of these 2 games has caused many outsiders to be skeptical of the Tide in the post-Prothro portion of the season and has even caused some to say that Bama is no longer a good team but a lucky one instead. What is most shocking is that much of the "lucky" labeling has come from Alabama's 2 biggest rivals. No, it's not shocking that they would be the last to give Bama some credit. It's surprising that they would ever be agitated over a team supposedly winnig on mere luck in the first place. Does Tennessee not remember Arkansas QB Clint Stoerner's gift in 1998? Or does Auburn not remember the Referee's gift of a 2nd extra point chance against LSU last season? At least it hasn't been someone not wearing a crimson jersey giving new life to the Tide this season when it has needed it most. Call Alabama lucky if you want to, but I'd rather say they just know how to win. However, Mike Shula's team won't have to catch some breaks this Homecoming weekend since their opponent has given up an average of 33 points a game this season en route to a 2-4 record. Expect Brodie Croyle and the offense to get back on track and score early in the 1st half, allowing them the opportunity to watch most of the game from the sidelines after the queen has been crowned as Bama cruises to 8-0.

Virginia Tech 27, Boston College 24. (Note: This pick was made before kickoff, which will be blatantly obvious to Friday readers if BC wins.) It looks like the Big East Bullies are back stealing all of the ACC headlines again. This time, though, they're stealing all of the national headlines as well as they are the only game on the television in what should actually be a decent Thursday night game for a change. With the Eagles having an extra week to prepare for the Hokies, many believe that this will be the week that Frank Beamer's team falls from the ranks of the undefeated. However, that extra week hasn't been so beneficial to the underdogs in games featuring teams with perfect records as of late. Notre Dame came up just short to USC after a bye week, and Tennessee did the same against Bama following their week off. In both games, though, the outcome wasn't settled until the last moments. Expect another close one until the final horn again this time, but Quinton Porter's ineptitude in conference play (4 Td passes against 6 interceptions) might be too much for the Eagles to overcome even if their defense does allow only 14 points a game.

Florida 20, Georgia 13. In the 2nd game of the weekend featuring an unbeaten Top 5 team against an opponent coming off a bye, the trend of "close, but no cigar" might actually be reversed. Why is that? The Georgia Bulldogs no longer have D.J. Shockley under center. But does losing a quarterback really matter that much if you still have a potent running attack and a solid defense? If you really think that is a legitimate question, go talk to some Alabama fans. Or better yet, just read what backup QB Joe Tereshinski III said to reporters this week: "I don't want to do anything to make this team lose." With that kind of confidence, who wouldn't pick the Bulldogs to win this weekend? Playing not to lose is no way for the Bulldogs signal caller to earn his team an SEC Eastern Division clinching win. Look for the Gators to score just enough and keep themselves in the hunt for the SEC championship for a little longer. Don't feel too sorry for the Georgia fans, though, as they'll certainly be able to find a way to drown their sorrows at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Tennessee 24, South Carolina 7. It appears that each week just gets worse for Phil Fulmer. First it was a loss to Florida team with a first-year coach. Then it was a crazy LSU weekend where travel arrangements might as well not have been arranged. Then Georgia and Alabama hand him losses and injured senior starters in consecutive games. Now, it's a reunion with his old nemesis: Steve Spurrier. While this time around, it might not be as glamorous as previous meetings, this outing will be similar to old times as both of these coaches' teams enter this game tied in the SEC East. It's just a minor detail that this tie is for 3rd, not 1st. Despite earning a much-needed win over Vandy last weekend and keeping its bowl hopes alive, the ol' ballcoach's team lost its best player in do-everything WR Syvelle Newton after he tore his achilles tendon running for a touchdown. Throw in the fact that starting QB Blake Mitchell has missed some time due to injury this season as well, and Spurrier may have more visor throws than points in this one. So, with Notre Dame--and another possible loss--on tap for Fulmer's boys next week, expect the Vols to sharpen their offense as they avoid their 1st 3 game losing streak since 1992, a streak in which, coincidentally, the Gamecocks were the 3rd loss.

Memphis 31, UAB 28. After opening the season with a close loss in Knoxville, the Blazers regrouped and won their next 3 games. However, since then they've dropped 3 in a row, which isn't all that surprising considering their victories came over teams with a combined record of 8-18. Memphis, on the other hand, also suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of another SEC school to open the year, but they have since found a way to win 4 of their last 6 despite playing their 4th quarterback and having virtually no passing game. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise either though because superstar tailback DeAngelo Williams has rushed for 187 yards a game and 12 touchdowns. While this game won't have much of a bearing on who wins the C-USA, it still should at least be extremely entertaining as the 2 best athletes in the conference (Williams and UAB's Hackney) will compete on the same field for the final time of their stellar careers. This time, though, Williams will finally get the win as the Tigers avoid a 6th consecutive loss to their city school counterpart from Alabama.

Well, that's partially it for this week. Make sure to come back Monday to see this week's Pimp/Wimp, an updated Top 15, and the pick in the Memphis vs U Ain't Bama game. Have a good weekend, and if you didn't like the picks, I'm sorry but ESPN's power is overwhelming me as well.


Anonymous Patrick said...

UT's offense has been so bad they it is hard to conceive that they score 24.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 6:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wo- a little harsh on Phil there- Do I senses some angusih from a Tide pride member-

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous James said...

This week looks to be another tune-up game for Alabama as they position themselves for a stretch run toward an SEC title and a possible trip to Pasadena.
By catching 13 passes against Utah State, DJ Hall became the first player at Alabama to catch 10 balls in two consecutive games. Ezekiel Knight finally showed some signs of potential by catching 3 balls for 59 yards and recording his first touchdown in an Alabama uniform.
Miss. State will be starting a new quarterback in Michael Henig. Henig is a fairly mobile quarterback with a relatively weak arm. The Bulldog wide receiver corps has a bunch of possession receivers with few playmakers. Their most reliable receiver is Will Prosser with 28 receptions for 286 yards. Their lone playmaker is senior running back Jerious Norwood. Expect plenty of toss sweeps, screens, sprint draws and swing passes to Mr. Norwood. The most important thing to know about Starkville High is that they managed only 7 points against one of the worst defenses in America in Kentucky.
Before I go, I would like to give some props to the real Pimp of the Week in the senior wide receiver from Homewood,AL Jake Collins for getting his first game action against Utah State last week.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 1:57:00 PM  
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005 8:36:00 PM  
Anonymous the O Zone said...

kyle, i think there should be a honorary pimp of the week given to McKinley Boykin. Our 6/2 285 Defensive Lineman who earned second team Coaches All-SEC honors last year went to a haunted house on monday. while walking through the house a ghost suddenly appeared and scared him so bad that he punched the ghost and knocked it out cold and the best thing about it was that the ghost was a girl. so we salute you mckinley, keep rockin and rollin!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 11:13:00 PM  

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