Posted Thursday, November 03, 2011 08:40 AM
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 01:58 PM
In the sea of opinions out there on tv and the internet, I’m not sure anyone really cares about mine, but I’ll give it to you anyhow.
I love how both fan bases are so confident their team will win. That’s exactly how it should be. The shit-talking before the game is half the fun.
I have been posting about this game on Blankets since January when I did a fairly detailed preview of both Alabama and LSU. I said back then that Alabama and LSU would be the best two teams in college football. I said this game would pretty much be the “Game of the Year,” and that it would decide the SEC & national championship. I reiterated that in my Alabama pre-season write-up. Thus, the magnitude of this game has not taken me by surprise in the least. I’ve also been consistent in saying that I think with this game being played at Bryant-Denny Stadium, you have to give the edge to the Crimson Tide here.
I will not delve into statistics because stats are like bikinis; what they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital. Once you jump into the stats rabbit hole, you can never get out. It provokes endless and pointless debates about how this team has faced better defenses and that team has face better offenses yada, yada, yada. I think we all know that the stats are very even across the board coming into this game, so I don’t think the stats are very probative in analyzing this matchup. I think the most misleading stat I’ve seen thus far is that LSU ranks 117th in the nation in red zone offense. Honestly, if you are betting Alabama off of that stat, you deserve to pay off your bookie.
There is so much I could write about this game, but I’ll try to keep it relatively short, by focusing on what I see are the three biggest differences between these two teams - the QBs, the defensive front 7s and coaching.
I’ve read and heard many times over the past two weeks how Alabama and LSU are pretty much mirror images of one other. That is not really the case. While it is true that both teams have a smash-mouth, establish-the-run type of mentality on offense, the defenses are quite different. One is a quick penetrating defense (LSU), and the other focuses on eating up blockers and gap control (Alabama). I have said several times that the matchup between Alabama’s offense and LSU’s defense reminds me very much of the Alabama/Texas national championship game. The make-up of LSU’s defense is very, very similar to that Texas defense.
The heart and soul of both offenses is the offensive line. Both are talented, experienced and deep. Both offenses attack you with a power running game. LSU features Spencer Ware who loves to mix it up between the tackles. . Michael Ford comes in to spell Ware. He is also is also a big back but is a little bit more explosive, and more of a home run threat. LSU also features FB James Stampley. This guy won’t get many carries, but he is a road-grader. OC Greg Studrawa likes to use him like as a sledgehammer by pounding on opposing defenses until they break.
Alabama, of course, features the strongest and most powerful RB in college football in Trent Richardson. When OC Jim McElwain is giving him a blow, Alabama will bring in another bruiser in Eddie Lacy. Alabama’s third backfield bruiser is Jalston Fowler who could also see a few touches. The three of them do a great job of breaking the will of opposing defenses by relentlessly pounding on them.
Defensively the biggest difference I see is that one defense is built from the ground up to stop the run, especially power running teams like LSU. Saban’s entire defensive philosophy is centered around stopping the run, and he specifically recruits players for that purpose. First and foremost, to play for Saban you must be physical in the run game regardless of what position you play.
All defenses want to stop the run, and LSU’s defense is no exception. They just approach it in a different manner. LSU features a small but very fast and athletic front 7 with elite pass rushers coming off the edge. They try to disrupt the running and passing games by getting penetration.
Because Alabama (3-4) and LSU (4-3) run different defensive schemes, a player-by-player comparison of the front 7s is really apples and oranges. Therefore, to give you an idea of how these two front 7s measure up, I will compare the size of both to the NFL average for each defensive scheme.
Avg NFL DL
4-3 Defense - 6-3, 291 (LSU - 6-5, 274)
3-4 Defense - 6-4, 307 (Bama - 6-3, 305)
Avg NFL LB
4-3 Defense - 6-2, 244 (LSU - 6-1, 218)
3-4 Defense - 6-2, 252 (Bama - 6-3, 253)
Avg NFL Front 7
4-3 Defense - 6-3, 271 (LSU - 6-3, 250)
3-4 Defense - 6-3, 276 (Bama - 6-3, 275)
I have said many times, Alabama’s defense is the closest thing to a NFL defense you will find in college football in terms of size, scheme, talent and coaching. From the comparison of the measurables above you can see that what I’m talking about. The measurables of Alabama’s defense is a virtual mirror image of a NFL 3-4 defense. Conversely, you can also see that LSU’s defense is a good 20 lbs lighter than a typical NFL 4-3 defense. See also:
The Defense That Went to Fat Camp
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203476804576615132832620902.html?grcc=88888&mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_sportsLSU will primarily run power out of a pro set, but they’ll also try to counter Alabama’s size advantage by slipping in a few zone reads, jet sweeps, and mis-direction plays from the spread.Alabama will basically do what they always do which is bring the hammer. That is the best way to attack a small, fast defense. LSU is determined to not let Trent Richardson win a Heisman Trophy on their watch so I expect to see them sellout to stop the run. They’ll play bump-and-run coverage against Alabama’s wide receivers; something LSU’s coaching staff feels very comfortable doing. They believe they have the advantage with their outstanding corners going mano-e-mono with Alabama’s receivers. LSU wants to the impetus of this game on AJ McCarron’s shoulders. Alabama will do several things to counter that, one of which will be to go to a 5-wide formation with RBs and TEs split out wide so they can get WRs Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks, Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White matched-up on LBers. In fact I’ll make a prediction now. I’ll say that Alabama will run their first offensive play out of a 5-wide set.The quarterbacks have been a topic of much discussion, and for good reason. This is the position that scares Alabama backers the most, and is the source of much optimism for LSU backers, and for good reason. If LSU is going to win this game, I think they’ll need to pressure McCarron and force him into some mistakes.LSU features two elite pass rushers coming off the edges in Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. Also watch out for true freshman Anthony Johnson. That guy is going to be a monster!!! Mingo will be lined up across from Alabama RT DJ Fluker. Fluker is an absolute road grader in the run game, but is very susceptible to the speed rush, and that’s not good when you’re going against Mingo. I think Alabama will try to counter that by having a back or TE chip on him. That, however, pulls one of McCarron’s targets out of the passing game. McCarron also rarely makes plays when he’s flushed from the pocket. When defenses can get him on the move, good things rarely happen for Alabama. That’s one of the reasons I’ve consistently supported QB Phillip Sims over McCarron. Sims is a tremendous playmaker on the move, and is deadly accurate.McCarron is the most talented QB of all the QBs that will see playing time in this game. He has a huge arm, can make all the NFL throws, and is very accurate. McCarron prefers to chuck the ball downfield, but OC Jim McElwain has pulled the reins in on him and has force him to throw more to check-downs so far this season.The biggest question about McCarron is how he’s going to handle the pressure of this game. Yes, he’s played in a couple of high-pressure road games at Penn State and Florida, but he’s never played in a game approaching this magnitude. Word is he has been climbing the walls all week in anticipation of showing the world what he can do, and the coaching staff has been trying to calm him down a bit. Personally I believe McCarron will pass his test on Saturday, but only because this game is being played at Bryant-Denny Stadium. If this game were being played at Death Valley, I would really like LSU here.LSU will feature the 2-headed monster of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson under center. Normally a two quarterback system is a big red flag, but LSU has made it work for them so far. Lee is the personification of a game-manager. He’s not going to scare you with his talent, but he’s the perfect quarterback for this offense. He makes good reads, puts the team in the right plays, and doesn't turn the ball over. Lee has only one interception this season to go with his 13 touchdowns, and leads the conference in passing efficiency. Jefferson has provided a nice compliment, primarily with his mobility and ability to run the zone read. Working Jefferson into the mix forces teams to spend time preparing for both, and has given the offense another dimension. Both of LSU’s QBs are experienced and have big-game experience. That said, they will have a very rowdy crowd to deal with on Saturday. Neither will hear a thing the entire game while under center.I’ve heard and read where many have said that this game will come down to turnovers. I tend to disagree. Alabama and LSU are two of the very best teams in the nation at protecting the football, so I expect to see few, if any, turnovers. If there are turnovers, I think Alabama will get the better of it.I have said many times that Alabama is the most powerful team in college football at the point of attack, and that I don’t think any team can play smash-mouth football with them for 4 quarters and come out on top. Alabama is the biggest, strongest and most physical team in the country, and much like the game 2 years ago at Bryant-Denny stadium, LSU will simply not be able to match Alabama’s physicality for 4 quarters. I think that will translate into Alabama’s offense being able to establish a balanced attack and move the ball rather effectively against LSU’s vaunted defense. Conversely I think Alabama’s defense will use their size, strength and physicality to take away LSU’s power running attack, and make LSU’s offense somewhat one-dimensional. I really don’t think LSU will be able to consistently drive the length of the field against Alabama’s defense.Lastly, I think coaching will be a huge factor in this game, and there is no better big-game coach than Nick Saban IMO, especially with revenge. See:Nick Saban does revenge like The Godfatherhttp://blog.al.com/kevin-scarbinsky/2009/12/hard_to_fool_saban_two_straigh.htmlNo one handles rematches like Nick Sabanhttp://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/10/no_one_handles_rematches_like.htmlMy prediction is that as the final minutes of the 4th quarter tick off the clock I expect a frenzied Bryant-Denny crowd to break into the familiar “OVER-RATED” chant as Alabama puts the exclamation mark on a double digit win. I believe the final score of this game will look similar to the to the game they played two years ago in Tuscaloosa. I’ll call it . . .The Crimson Tide 24The Swamp Kittens 13
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 09:11 AM
We are expecting record-breaking triple digit temperatures along with stifling humidity on Saturday.
For me personally I think Auburn will move from the no-play column to the play column. This will be strictly a heat play for me.
The heat will also effect the Kent State/Alabama game.
If nothing else, consider 2nd half plays on the southern teams.
Posted Sunday, December 27, 2009 07:38 PM
I always like to wait until I watch Alabama’s last scrimmage of the year before I do my annual write-up. That allows me to deliver the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. If at any time throughout the season you have any questions about this team, or a wager concerning this team, please feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer your question(s), and point you in the right direction.
I apologize in advance if this season’s annual preseason write-up reads like a Billy Mays infomercial, but this 2011 Alabama team really has no weakness. How far this team goes will be determined by their discipline, unity and team leadership. Talent will not be an issue.
I feel pretty comfortable in saying that Alabama is the deepest and most talented team in the country. The amount of talent that Saban has amassed in a few short years is simply staggering. Some of you may recall that the 2007 team (Saban’s first season at Alabama) made history when not a single player on the roster was drafted by a NFL team. On the other hand, all 11 defensive starters and at least 8 out of 11 offensive starters on the 2011 team will have NFL futures. But Alabama’s talent pipeline doesn’t end at the 22 starters. Because of the exceptional talent that Saban has accumulated over the last several years, they also have amazing depth at every position. Personnel-wise Alabama is at the point where they could suffer a devastating injury at any position on the field, and they really wouldn’t miss a beat. That’s what pulling the #1, #1, #5 & #1 recruiting classes in the nation over the last 4 seasons will do for your talent and depth. It’s really an embarrassment of riches.
Two years ago people were down on Alabama because they graduated starting QB John Parker Wilson. At that time I said that the QB change was a positive because Greg McElroy was an upgrade at the position. That turned out to be accurate. In fact Alabama went on to capture the national championship that year.
Last season Alabama lost 10 starters off of the #1 ranked defense in the nation. Accordingly, the pundits and preseason magazines expected a significant drop-off in defensive production. To the contrary, I said that the Saban blue-chip recruits who were stepping up (many of whom were replacing Shula recruits) was a talent upgrade, and that I did not expect defensive production to drop much, if at all. I added that by the end of the year they may even be better. Although Alabama’s defensive ranking dropped from #1 to #5 nationally, the precipitous drop that most were predicting at the beginning of the season did not come to fruition.
Moreover, had Alabama’s top two pass rushers not been hobbled all season (Marcel Dareus - #3 overall pick in the NFL draft, and Courtney Upshaw), they may very well have been better. We saw for the first time all season what a healthy Dareus and Upshaw could do when Alabama played Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. The effects on Michigan State’s quarterbacks were devastating.
According to the pundits and preseason magazines, Alabama’s offensive production is expected to nosedive because the loss of national championship QB (Greg McElroy), their Heisman winning RB (Mark Ingram), and 6th overall pick in the NFL draft WR (Julio Jones). Once again I’m going to tell you not to buy into the false notion that these departures will have a deleterious effect on Alabama’s overall offensive production this season. In fact to the contrary, I can virtually guarantee you that their offense production will increase in almost every statistical category, especially in the category of explosive plays. How can I make such a seemingly ridiculous prediction?
Last season I repeatedly posted that Alabama’s offensive production, and all of Alabama’s considerable offensive talent was being stifled by the QB position. Because of Greg McElroy’s inability to stretch the field in the passing game, and keep defenses honest (force them to defend the entire field), defenses were simply crowding all 11 men within 10-yards of the line-of-scrimmage to take away the running game, and to take away the short passing routes which, with McElroy under center, was all Alabama had. It was a rare sight indeed to see McElroy heave a pass 10 yards beyond the LOS. As I said, opposing defensive coordinators picked up on this, so they packed everyone close to the LOS and dared McElroy to beat them down the field. Well guess what? He couldn’t.
As I’m sure everyone is aware, Alabama is in the midst of a QB competition between AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims (Alabama also has another back-up QB named “Blake Sims” so don’t confuse the two). It really doesn’t matter which of these guys replaces McElroy because either will represent a significant talent upgrade at the position. Both of these guys have huge arms and are bona fide gunslingers. Both are playmakers and not of the dreaded McElroy “game manager” genre. Alabama will finally have a big time playmaker under center who can accurately deliver the ball to big-time playmakers downfield.
As I mentioned above, I attend all of Alabama’s public and private scrimmages. I watched John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy when they played and knew McElroy was the better of the two. But the upgrade from McElroy to Sims and McCarron has been like night and day. Both Sims and McCarron are NFL caliber QBs that can flat-out sling the rock. The days of defenses crowding the LOS will come to an end which will open up Alabama’s potent running game once again.
At this point I wouldn’t be holding my breath for a quick resolution to the QB competition. Saban said on Saturday that "It s not out of the question that both have roles on our team in some kind of way." He went on to say “both of them have developed nicely. Both of them have consistently made plays. Their decision-making, their judgment, their ability not to force things and take what the defense gives, distribute the ball with good decision-making, down in and down out, is probably the only thing that’s going to be different about them, because it’s not physical ability or talent. It’s intangibles, leadership, decision-making, judgment and all those types of things, and both guys have done a good job in that regard as well.”
Saban focused heavily on recruiting electrifying playmakers at RB and WR the last two years. So while Alabama doesn’t have another Julio Jones just sitting around on the bench, they are absolutely loaded at the WR position. The point is there is no dearth of playmakers on this team for Sims and McCarron to utilize. The aforementioned backup QB Blake Sims is one of those guys. He plays RB, WR and is the backup QB. He will add a legitimate throwing threat to Alabama’s wildcat formation, something they really haven’t had in the past.
Although it has opened me up to much criticism, I have been saying for two years now that Trent Richardson is a better RB than the departed Mark Ingram. While it clearly isn’t a good thing to lose an exceptional RB like Ingram, the point is don’t expect any drop off at that position. Richardson’s backups Eddie Lacy and Justin Fowler are also animals who would be starting on most college teams. If there is team that has a better 1-2 punch at RB then Richardson and Lacy, I don’t know who it is.
If there is a chink anywhere in Alabama’s offensive armor it would be the all important left tackle position where they have to replace 1st round draft pick James Carpenter. They brought in JUCO transfer Aaron Douglas to take over that spot while true freshman phenom Cyrus ”The Prototype” Kouandijo learned the position. Although Kouandijo is still a little too green to assume the starting role in week 1, with Douglass’ untimely passing, I believe Kouandijo will take over the starting LT role at some point this season. Meanwhile, Alabama will push their versatile guard Barrett Jones out to tackle where he’s been wowing people all summer. Regardless of the rotation, Alabama’s o-line will be exceptional. In fact Phil Steel ranks it as the top offensive line in the country, and I would tend to agree with his assessment.
As I mentioned above, the lack of a pass rush is what kept last season’s defense from reaching its full potential. Alabama ranked 51st in the nation with 27 total sacks, and they lose their top pass rusher in Marcel Dareus. Like Julio Jones, Alabama doesn’t just have another Dareus-like talent waiting in the wings.
Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart obviously recognized that the pass rush was an issue last season because they have made it a focal point of camp. While Alabama doesn’t have anyone as good as Dareus, I think collectively the defensive line as a whole will generate a better pass rush. Overall I just think Alabama has more proficient pass rushers than they had last season. Accordingly, I expect an improvement over last season’s docile sack numbers.
In an effort to keep the length of this write-up from getting completely out-of-hand, I will gloss over the linebackers and secondary by simply pointing out that Phil Steele rates both units the best in the nation.
In my opinion not only will Alabama’s defense be the best in the country, and not only will it be better than the 2009 defense, I think it’ll end up being one of the best defenses that college football has seen in the last 20 years. They are that good. And if Alabama can manage to generate a ferocious pass rush (their biggest question mark), their defense will go from very difficult to score on to almost impossible to score on.
From what I’ve seen, I don’t think Alabama’s special teams will be all that special. They do return most of their special teams guys from last season so they won’t be terrible, but I think there’s still work that needs to be done in this area. They have plenty of electrifying athletes that could be good to great returners, but none are proven at this time. Alabama’s placing kicking is pretty solid. Again they’ll utilize a short and long range kicker. Punting, however, is by far their biggest weakness. I have yet to see anyone who can punt the ball with any consistency.
With the best defense in the country, and with what I expect to be improved offensive production, Alabama will be a very, very difficult team to beat this season. With a schedule that sets up much more favorably than last season’s, I think Alabama will run through the season undefeated. The only three danger games for Alabama are Arkansas, LSU and Florida, and they catch the first two at Bryant Denny Stadium.
The SEC East is so wide open that it’s difficult to pick a winner, but I will say Georgia will emerge from the east to face Alabama in the SEC Championship game. I think Alabama will survive that game to probably face Oklahoma for the BSC National Championship. I think the same thing that has decided the last 5 national championship games will ultimately decide this one as well – defense. So in the end I think Alabama will ride the best defense in the country to another BCS National Championship.
Because of Alabama’s tepid offensive production last season, I often faded them against big numbers. With what I expect to be a more explosive offense this season, look for Alabama to be a much more solid play against hefty numbers this season.
Posted Monday, December 07, 2009 09:36 AM
In my pre-season VT/Bama write-up, I said that Bama would be a much better team this season than last even though the pre-season magazines and most people were predicting otherwise. I also predicted that Bama would win the SEC West, beat Florida in the SECCG, and go on to beat the Big 12 champion in the national title game. Many laughed, but here we are.
First I would like to say that even though I’ve done quite a bit of statistical analysis on both teams, statistics won’t be the basis for this write-up. I will include some of what I’ve done in other posts in this thread for those who are interested. But statistics in bowl games are largely irrelevant IMO because bowl games are always out-of-conference games and each conference is really a league unto itself. In this case Texas plays in the Big 12 and Bama in the SEC, and those to conferences are very different in the way they approach and play football. Instead, I will focus more on how I think these teams matchup, and what effect I believe these matchups will have on the outcome of this game. See also my thread on ”Why You Shouldn’t Bet Against the SEC in Bowl Games.”
Before I do so however, I just want to make the point that the best and most consistent formula for winning football games (at all levels) is not some fancy-schmanzy offensive du jour. It is lining up and physically dominating the opposition in the trenches. When you can do that week in and week out, it is by far the most consistent formula for winning, and consistency is a very good thing for those of us who wager. I could cite literally endless examples of this in both the college and pro game, but because we’re talking about Alabama anyhow, we really need not look any father than the Florida/Bama game wherein the Crimson Tide ran the ball 17 consecutive times in the 4th quarter without throwing a pass to close out the game against the #1 team in the country.
Bama is the epitome of smash-mouth football which explains why they have methodically won 25 games over the last two seasons. Bama has dominated every team they’ve played in the trenches thus far this season, and there really is no reason to believe they won’t do the same thing against a Texas team not accustomed to playing that brand of football. Bama is all about imposing their will on both sides of the ball.
Texas (much like Florida) employs a defense that is small but very fast, and is loaded with blue-chip athletes. This type of defense is very effective when playing against the spread offenses of the Big 12, but is ill-suited to stop a team that is as powerful at the point of attack as Alabama. Texas’s defensive coordinator Will Muschamp (a Nick Saban protégé) knows he has to match Bama’s physicalness in the trenches, but knowing and doing are two very different things. And the problem for Texas is that they are not accustomed to playing such teams, and they can’t replicate Bama’s power in practice. And if you can’t practice against it, I think your chances defending it successfully in a game situation are remote. Like I always say, you can’t fake being physical. You either have it or you don’t.
After playing Bama, Florida’s defense lamented about how difficult Ingram and Richardson (who is better than Ingram) are to tackle. In order for Texas to successfully defend Bama’s running attack, their D-line and LBers will have to play lights out, because if Texas has to rely on their secondary to consistently make stops in the run game, they will be in for a very long day. That is so because Texas is very light on the back end (175 lbs corners and 195 lbs safeties). There are no 220lb run stoppers in the secondary. Their secondary is essentially comprised of 4 conerbacks designed to defend the spread offenses they regularly face in the Big 12, not to stuff power RBs like Ingram & Richardson (have I mentioned that Richardson is better than Ingram).
order to keep more men in the box to stop the run, I think that
Muschamp will probably roll the dice and play man with his corners, and
at times, utilizing safety help over top. Bama will probably see some exotic robber packages, and will rarely, if ever, see a zone look. This will allow Texas to dedicate more people to stopping the run. Bama’s physical receivers, however, could also cause Texas’s small defensive backs some heartburn both in coverage and YAC.
Offensively Bama will try to do to Texas what they did to Florida - neutralize their team speed by running right at them. Overall, however, they will aim to be fundamentally sound and balanced. They
will mix in a few exotic looks to spread Texas out to open some holes
in the running game and to create some mismatches in the passing game
particularly for TE Colin Peek.
Conversely, Alabama is very big on defense. Bama’s corners are bigger than Texas’s safeties, and Bama’s safeties are the size of Texas’s linebackers. Based
on Bama’s size, one would probably instinctively conclude that Bama is
slow on that side of the ball, but nothing can be farther from the
truth. Bama’s corners love to play bump and run,
which allows Kirby Smart a lot of flexibility in mixing up his
defensive play calls thereby confusing opposing QBs. Because
Texas does not have a meaningful running game that would scare anyone,
particularly someone as strong up the middle as Bama, expect Bama to be
in nickel and dime sets most of the game. That
means we’ll see more of players like Marcell Dareus, Marquis Johnson
and Robby Green, and a lot less of players like Mount Cody, the slow
white boy Cory Reamer and Justin Woodall.
The knock on Colt McCoy is his arm strength on the long throws outside. Accordingly, Bama will try to take away the short over-the-middle passes and force everything to the outside. They
will accomplish this by lining up on the inside shoulder and sitting on
the inside routes, and by having LBers undercut the middle routes
effectively taking away those short over the middle throws. This
will force McCoy to throw over the top of McClain to exploit the middle
of the field, and hopefully force McCoy into some mistakes. This may also force McCoy to hold the ball a little longer and should give pass rushers a little more time to find their mark.
I think Texas will take a page out of Utah’s and Auburn’s playbook by
going very up-tempo in hopes of catching Bama in some personnel
mismatches. Texas is, after all, a more talented
version of Utah who only rushed for 13 yards but threw for 336 against
Bama in last year’s Sugar Bowl. I think for
Texas to have a chance to come away with a victory they’ll need to get
Utah/Auburn–like start by jumping out on top early and forcing Bama to
play catch-up. That should prevent Bama from controlling the tempo of the game.
It’s no secret that the key to beating McCoy is to get pressure on him. Expect Bama to try and confuse McCoy and his O-line by bringing rushers from all from all angles. Unlike
the game plan versus Tebow which was not to sack him, but to force him
to throw from the pocket, Bama will try to flush and frustrate McCoy
every chance they get.
As I said in my pre-season write-up, Texas is one of the few teams in the country that possess elite talent. But Texas has not faced a more complete team this season than Alabama. Alabama is more balanced on offense than any team Texas has played thus far, and have best running backs in the nation. Alabama's defense is fiercer, faster and more athletic than any team Texas has played so far. Ultimately, however, I think Alabama will be far too physical for Texas on both sides of the ball. I would expect Texas to lose at least two starters due to injuries during the course of the game. As I stated above, the team that dominates in the trenches usually dominates on the scoreboard. Because
of that, I render the same opinion about this game that I did in the
Florida game which is that not only will Bama win this game, they will
do so convincingly.
Don’t be fooled. Play on Bama and the SEC. Anything less than 7 is like manna from heaven.
This is a tried and true method for winning money betting on bowl games year in and year out, and I've used this theory successfully for almost 20 years. My theory is that you NEVER bet against SEC teams. Now I'm not advocating that you blindly bet on every SEC team (even though you would make money if you did so), but you should be betting on most of them. The lines, the motivation of the teams invovled, and other intangibles should guide your final decision making process.
The SEC has 10 teams playing in bowl games and they probably won't lose more than two of them.
Here is why I believe this strategy is successful EVERY year.
Let's start at the beginning. For the SEC, it all starts with recruiting. This year's recruiting rankings are very typical of what you see every year There are 6 SEC teams ranked in the top 9 nationally.
Now imagine if you're Mark Richt at Georgia and you have the nation's 9th best recruiting class. That sounds great until you realize that you have the 6th best recruiting class in your own conference!!! The point is the SEC has the best athletes in the country, and more of them. That is a plain and simple fact, and if you want to win money, you need to understand this.
My second point is this. If you've ever played sports, you know that when you play against top-notch competition, it pushes you to get better and play your best. SEC teams not only play against the best, they also practice everyday against the best. That creates an atmosphere that constantly pushes these great athletes to improve.
I had several people tell me this past week that Bama has not seen a defense like Florida's all year. My response was "Yes they have. They practice against one everyday in practice."
In a similar vain, SEC teams have to play much tougher competition in much tougher venues week in and week out. When teams like Florida play teams like Ohio State in bowl games, Florida has already played 5 or 6 intense, pressure-filled games in the limelight of a national tv audience. For a team like Ohio State, they usually will only play a couple of tough games a year, and even those "tough" games usually don't match the intensity of the SEC games.
So come bowl season, non-SEC teams usually cannot match the speed, and intensity of the SEC teams. On top of that, they are usually facing a much higher caliber of athlete than they are accustomed to both in practice and in the games they have played.
A perfect example of this is when the two divisional ACC champions were matched up against two middle tier SEC teams a couple of weeks ago. Georgia and South Carolina dominated both of these games. Georgia Tech and Clemson simply could not match the speed, athleticism and intensity of the middle tier SEC schools.
So do yourself a favor this bowl season, please don't fade SEC schools. In fasct, I recommend you do this. After Alabama beats and covers against Texas in the national championship game, go back and read is thread and see how accurate it was.
I will also note that now that USC is not dominating the PAC 10 anymore, the competition level within that conference has elevated considerably the last two years. Accordingly, I doubt I'll be wagering against that conference this bowl season either.
In sum, fade teams that are matched up against SEC & PAC 10 schools this bowl season, and I'm confident you'll make yourself a little extra coin this holiday season.
BOL TO ALL!!!