Tag Archives: alabama

Derrick Henry vs Florida in 2015 SEC Championship game - Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

College Football Playoff Preview: The Alabama Crimson Tide

Three years ago, Alabama was rolling with back-to-back beat downs of LSU and Manti Teo’s #1 Notre Dame.  With AJ McCarron coming back for his senior season in 2013 and another top recruiting class, it seemed almost a given that this Alabama team would complete the first three-peat in BCS history.

Little did they know, they would run into an Auburn “Team of Destiny, as they edged Alabama on a kick that was just not quite enough.

In the 2014 season, Alabama looked good, until they ran into a red hot Ole Miss, losing 23-17, with Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace putting the game away late.

Alabama would overcome the loss and win their way to the SEC Championship game.  Amari Cooper and the Tide would roll through Mizzou, and play another red hot Ohio State.   Alabama was up 21-3 only to see Ohio State roar back and win 42-35 with Ezekiel Elliot setting bowl records with rushing yards.

2015 Season SnapShot

The year started off with a QB controversy between Cooper Bateman and Jake Coker.  Coker would be the starter for the season opener in Dallas against Wisconsin. The Tide rolled 35-17, but two games later,  Coker couldn’t hold on to the job and Cooper Bateman started against Ole Miss.  After a terrible start, 11/14, 87 yards, a INT, with a QBR of 48.3, Coker came in to try to save the day.

In a crazy game of ups and downs, Alabama would give the ball up 4 times in the 43-37 loss to Ole Miss.  But Jake Coker solidified his role as starter and the Tide has not looked back.

Once again Bama made it to the SEC championship game, and once again Alabama would roll, this time over Florida.  Derek Henry needed multiple briefcases to carry home all of his awards.  Even winning the biggest award FBS has to offer, the Heisman Trophy.

The only blemish so far on 2015 is the loss of defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who is leaving next year to become the head coach of Georgia.

Team Strengths

The front 7 on this defense is monstrous.  They can hold up to any offensive line in the country.  The same goes for the Alabama offensive line, which of course helps the run game.  And don’t forget Derek Henry, Heisman winner, Maxwell award winner.  Need anything else?  SEC single season rushing record?

Team Weaknesses

The lack of depth at running back and on the offensive line is a concern heading into the playoffs.  Jake Coker still doesn’t look as good as he looked at Florida State.  On defense, the secondary is still susceptible to a high-speed and up-tempo offense.

Playoff Forcast

The Alabama front seven on defense is the best and deepest in the field.  If they can slow the game down, and force a defensive dual, Alabama should have the CFP locked up.

Well there ya’ll have it.  This is the first of a four-part series.  Next up, the Clemson Tigers!

Have a good day. See yall later.

cfp-trophy

NCAA Championship Weekend Preview

What a wild football season.  We were very close to seeing some different names on the field this weekend.

We are a fourth and 25 conversion from seeing Ole Miss in the SEC championship game over Alabama.  We are one third and long stop from seeing Tennessee in the game over Florida.

One shanked field goal would give us Ohio State and two unbeaten teams in the Big Ten Game.  Or even a controversial call going the other way would still result in a battle of un-beaten’s in Lucas Oil stadium.

No matter how they got there, we are still left with some great Conference Championship Games. And here’s a quick guide in what you need to know.

SEC Championship: Alabama vs Florida

What’s On The Line?

For Florida, it’s a birth into a New Year’s Six Bowl and a shot to ruin Alabama’s and the SEC’s New Year’s celebration plans.

For Alabama, it’s to solidify the season and get a shot for the national title game.

Keys To The Game

For Florida, slow down Derek Henry, and limit turnovers.

For Alabama, DO NOT PLAY DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL like you did against Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas…

Prediction – Alabama wins a surprisingly tight game 24-21

PAC-12 Championship: Stanford vs USC

What’s On The Line?

For both teams, realistically a shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl.

Keys To The Game.

For USC, slow down Kevin Hogan and Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey.

For Stanford, play smart and execute the game plan. I know it sounds cliche but Stanford cannot assume a 8-4 team will be a bye week.

Prediction – USC will remain as the seasons most under achieving team and only score because of the talent 28-10, Stanford.

Big Ten Championship- Michigan State vs Iowa

What’s On The Line?

As of right now, this is the only game that’s a guaranteed play-in to the College Football Playoffs.

Keys To The Game.

For the Spartans, let Connor Cook tear up Iowa. Let the pass open the run game and we should get ready to watch a blowout.

For Iowa, play TEAM ball. Iowa WILL be losing this game. All that matters though is if they can respond and come up with a game plan to make Sparty pay for using Cook.

Prediction – Iowa will leave without a Big Ten Championship and the better talent will take over.  35-17 Sparty.

ACC Championship- North Carolina vs Clemson

What’s On The Line?

For Clemson this title will mean they are out of the past and finally getting to the big spotlight.

For UNC, however this is a chance to go to the CFP and win a title. Something no other college in the state of North Carolina can say. Although the only realistic chance UNC gets in is if they blow out Clemson

Keys To The Game.

For Clemson is getting those Clemson receivers open and not letting Marquise Williams get the better of them.

For UNC, it’s protecting Williams and making sure DeShaun Watson doesn’t have a career day.

Prediction – UNC and Clemson both struggled with South Carolina, but based on track record of the past two seasons and what talent is out there.  Marquise Williams is way more versatile than Deshaun Watson, but not the better QB.  I have Clemson 28-7.

Hope y’all enjoyed!

Photo via Sports Illustrated

Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen Should Never Leave Mississippi

Mississippi football has played second fiddle (or maybe last fiddle) in the SEC since Johnny Vaught hung up his whistle over 40 years ago.  Coach Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings made sure Alabama football was the king in SEC play in the 80s and 90s, and more recently; Nick Saban and Les Miles have kept the under-dogs at bay.

Reports hint that all this may soon change and Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen could be in a prime position to take over the void left by such legendary head coaches.

After starting the season on a red-hot 7-0 start the wheels have fallen off the Leonard Fornette train and fans have had enough of the one-dimensional offense in Baton Rouge.

Nick Saban, long considered the best “hired gun” in college football is again being courted by Texas and the NFL.

The two young coaches in Mississippi are primed to take a leap forward should Saban and Miles move on from their current seats.

As dominate as the LSU and Alabama programs have been through the years, they are not guaranteed success.  You still have to have the right coach to win even at the school that Forrest Gump built.

Ask Mike Shula or Dennis Franchione about how easy it is to win in Tuscaloosa.  Gerry Dinardo and Curly Hallman had equal struggles with the recruiting juggernaut that is LSU.

The odds of replacing the win totals of Saban and Miles would be quite a gamble for their respective athletic directors.

Freeze and Mullen suddenly have options to consider beyond taking the next step to a bigger football program.

They could possibly stay in Mississippi and become the next big football programs if Bama and LSU struggle for a few years finding the man to replace the man.

Ole Miss and State are recruiting better than ever before and if Freeze and Mullen are some of the better known coaching names in the SEC west in the future, look for that to improve even more.

The difference between winning 10-11 games every year as opposed to winning 8-9 games every year is handling LSU and Alabama.

I hope Freeze and Mullen realize they have a chance to fulfill any goal they could ever want right here in the state of Mississippi.

at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Kevin Cox - Getty Images

Post Alabama Game: This Ole Miss Team Is Very Different

Ole Miss fans just take a minute and relax.

Lets reflect just a minute on what happened in Tuscaloosa and where we find ourselves so early in the 2015 season.

I wrote in my article before the game Saturday that Ole Miss had a chance to take a huge step forward with a win over #2 Alabama.

Basically Ole Miss has been struggling up Mt. Everest for the last 50 years and after all the blood, sweat and tears, you look up and hey….  We actually made it!

Ole Miss fans woke up sunday to a # 3 national ranking and #1 in most of the ESPN FPI metrics.

I understand there are hurdles coming up for the Rebs and they could lose this weekend against Vanderbilt, but seriously, just take a minute and think about what has happened.

As someone that has been a Ole Miss fan since I was old enough to decide such things, this is crazy.  This is not supposed to happen.

Ole Miss is not supposed to have better talent than Alabama, they can’t compete with that budget, their facilities, their massive fanbase.

This is not just a fluke win either.  Ole Miss has caught Alabama in a down year before and beat them up a little but this is not a one-hit wonder.  This is not a down year for Alabama.

Ole Miss is not just good this year.  They are elite.  They are recognized as the best team in the best conference in college football for the first time in over 50 years.

An Ole Miss team is executing on offense and dominating on defense like I have never seen.  It’s really hard for me to comprehend how fast the turn-around has been from 2011 to 2015.

The ball is just bouncing our way, the breaks are happening when we need them, which just goes to show you that luck favors the brave and the harder you work, the more “lucky” you get.

In years past, a play like the “Tuscaloosa Tip-Drill” would never, ever have happened.

The only way that play happens is because Adeboyejo somehow anticipated Kelly to blindly throw a pass to Treadwell after taking a bad snap and facing down two huge Alabama defensive lineman.  Kelly didn’t fumble it, he didn’t throw it short, he didn’t weakly flip it to a player wearing crimson.  (All things that would normally happen to an Ole Miss team in that situation.)

No, Adeboyejo ran ahead of Treadwell, thinking Kelly would likely overthrow the play somehow and it fell it his lap.  A step to the left or the right and he probably bounces that ball around and it falls incomplete or is intercepted by a defensive back.

Quincy!? Why would you think that?  Why would you take off running away from Kelly when you saw the trainwreck that was occurring on that play?

Look, I have no idea what is going on right now, but something is happening here.

Something that has never happened before.

Robert Nkemdiche - Lauren Wood Daily Journal

Robert Nkemdiche – Lauren Wood Daily Journal

Robert Nkemdiche said as much at the end of fall practice.  He said, “This team is very different.  The whole DNA and the whole aura of the team is just unusual.  It’s very unorthodox, and the people on the team are coming together a lot more than I’ve ever seen, ever.”

The 6′-4″ 300 lb dream crusher of a defensive tackle continued his opine, “It’s more of a connection not a lot of football teams have.  We’ve gotten to the point where we’re playing for the person next to us, not for the NFL or ourselves.  We are playing so our brother can be happy.”

Rebel fans, when favor turns to you and it is your turn to stand on the mountain top, linger for a while.  You will have to come back down at some point but while you are here, have a seat and cherish a moment that almost never happens to teams in Oxford.

This team is very different.

 

Photo Via @olemisspix

Ole Miss Rebels at Alabama 2015: What Would A Win Today Mean For Ole Miss

Ole Miss enters today’s battle with mortal enemy Alabama with a chance to make history.

The Rebels from North Mississippi rarely have the chance to beat Alabama two years in a row.  Ole Miss has only beat Alabama three times in the last 20 years.

Eli Manning beat ‘Bama two of three years with impressive home wins but even he got blasted in Tuscaloosa, 42-7 in 2002.

The vaunted Cotton Bowl teams of 2008,2009 never beat ‘Bama once, so Chad Kelly steps into a bright spotlight today hoping to complete a tag team series with Bo Wallace over Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin.

Bo Wallace struggled last year in Oxford without much of a running game, willing his team against the odds.  Down 17-10 in the fourth quarter Wallace tossed two touchdowns over the last six minutes of the game and still needed two Alabama turnovers to eek out a 23-17 win last year.

bo wallace alabama

Today’s match up in Tuscaloosa is likely to be a very similar format.  Expect Alabama and Derrick Henry to come out early and pop Ole Miss in the mouth.

Ole Miss’ defense has to play even better than last year without the home field advantage (and the Alabama refs…. cough, cough).   And Ole Miss’ offense can not make mistakes.

The Rebels win this game if first year starter Jake Coker cannot pass on Ole Miss or if Ole Miss can be a balanced offense and run the dang football.

Hugh Freeze has a great opportunity.  Derrick Henry couldn’t run for over 50 yards against Ole Miss last year and so far Alabama QB Jake Coker has not proved he is much of a scoring threat, with only two touchdowns in the first two games.

If all the dominos fall into place today for Ole Miss, I think you better strap on a seat belt for the rest of this season, cause it will be a wild ride!

Ole Miss is four quarters from being the favorite to win the SEC outright.

Ole Miss is four quarters from being a favorite to be CFB playoff team.

Ole Miss is four quarters from Hugh Freeze becoming the best coach in the nation for what he has accomplished in just over three years.

Ole Miss is four quarters from Chad Kelly getting a recording contract and a rap album (probably).

I can’t emphasize enough what the next four quarters means to Ole Miss, the program, the fan base and this state.

Mississippi, always the runt of the SEC litter, will be the big boys.

Will the spotlight be too much for a emotional, young quarterback that has not played an SEC game ever?  Will the revenge factor and the Alabama home luck be too much to overcome, like so many years in the past for Ole Miss?

We will find out in just four short quarters.

As for me, I am ready to light this couch up!

old couch

#HottyDamnToddy #BeatBama