We did this last year, and I don’t know if anyone else liked it, but Mike and I did, so we’re bringing it back! We’ll go through each game of the season and make our predictions for how the year will play out for both Alabama and Tennessee. Then each week, we’ll review our predictions for that week and figure out if we were wrong or just horribly, unforgivably wrong.
With that, we bring you Alabama.
September 1, Michigan in Dallas
I’ve heard lots of talk the last few weeks about how awesome Denard Robinson is, and how much he will test the Alabama defense. May I refer you to last year at Jerry’s World? Another team with a fast attack (Oregon), against a fast defense (LSU), with a lot of time to prepare. Does anybody think this will be different? I think it’ll be worse. Alabama, runs a fairly vanilla offense straight at Michigan, and Denard “Shoelaces” Robinson has his worst game of the season.
September 8, Western Kentucky in Tuscaloosa
Alabama 49- Western Kentucky 7
September 15, Arkansas in Fayetteville
September 22, Florida Atlantic in Tuscaloosa
Again, not a lot to see here other than how many true freshmen see the field?
Alabama 49 – FAU 0
Four weeks in and the national media is starting to say what Tide fans have been hoping is true since the Spring: TJ Yeldon is the best running back on the team and deserves consideration as one of the top backs in the league. Yeldon does nothing to disappoint in this game, rushing for 175 yards on only 12 carries. Everyone gets in on the act, with Eddie Lacy netting 90 yards on eight carries and Jalston Fowler gaining 110 on eleven carries. Even Blake Sims gets a couple quarterback draws. It’s not entertaining, but it’s over quickly in a game that runs less than three hours. The only thing that can be gleaned from this game is the progress of backup Philip Ely at quarterback, and it’s apparent that Alabama can’t afford to lose AJ just yet.
Alabama 55 – FAU 0
September 29, Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa
The best team in the SEC against the worst team in the SEC, and the best team is at home. Hugh Freeze is not in for a good first season. The Rebel offense is completely and utterly handcuffed. It’s Alabama’s second straight shut-out.
Alabama 27 – Ole Miss 0
Last season in Oxford, the Tide’s run game blew up, going for nearly ten yards per carry and six touchdowns. AJ McCarron says, “It’s my turn” and passes for 250 yards and three scores in the first half. The running backs keep the Rebels’ offense off the field and the defense handles the few minutes they are there without any serious threat. The Tide rolls into the bye week having not surrendered a point in over eight quarters.
Alabama 38 – Ole Miss 0
October 13, Missouri in Columbia, MO
Mizzou is playing its inaugural SEC season, and any hopes of SEC success are crushed for the short-term. Missouri is not a southern state, and Mizzou does not have an SEC football program. James Franklin is a heck of an athlete, but like Denard Robinson, Kirby Smart had way too much time to prepare.
Alabama 35 – Mizzou 17
Before the season, the big question was “how would their offense do against SEC defenses.” After the start to the season Alabama has had, no one expresses any concern about whether the Tigers can score, but just whether the defense can play well enough to even keep Missouri in the game. Announcers will use Bama’s bye week to exaggerate the shutouts by declaring it’s been “three weeks” since Alabama has allowed a point. The shutout talk ends in the second quarter with the Tide giving up it’s first TD in a first half on the season, this one a TJ Moe reception when he gets behind Dee Milliner and catches Robert Lester out of position.The Tigers of Mizzou will manage 13 points in the first half and hold Alabama to ten, sparking hope among the sold out crowd in Columbia. The hope fades rather quickly when Bama scores on it’s first two possessions of the second half and Missouri fails to score again.
Alabama 31 – Mizzou 13
October 20, Tennessee in Knoxville
Neyland Stadium is rocking, and undefeated Tide, and undefeated Volunteer squad, it’s actually the Third Saturday in October! For three quarters these teams punch and counter punch. UT takes the field after a touchback and goes 80 yards culminating in a Tyler Bray to Cordarelle Patterson Touchdown, and Rocky Top is heard across the nation. Alabama punts! Tyler Bray is intercepted by Lester, and Lester takes it down to the UT 4 yard line. Two plays later, TJ Yeldon scampers into the end-zone. A Tennessee punt ensues. End of the 1st quarter 7-7. Alabama gets an early 2nd quarter field goal to go up 10-7. Tennessee gets a huge kick return from Devrin Young all the way down to the Alabama 32. First play from scrimmage is a draw and Rajion Neal flies into the checkerboards virtually untouched. 14-10 Tennessee. The Ghost of Neyland nearly has a heart attack! Alabama drives the length of the field and AJ McCarron rolls out finds Eddie Lacy alone and Lacy catches a pass to go into the end-zone 17-14 Alabama. ANOTHER HUGE KICK RETURN BY PATTERSON! People in Nome, can see the steam coming off of Nick Saban’s face as he excoriates his special teamers. The Tide defense stiffens and the Vols settle for a tying field goal. Halftime: 17-17. Alabama smartly marches down the field and scores on a McCarron to Kenny Bell to go up 24-17. Tennessee goes three and out, and Verne and Gary virtually write the fat lady’s song for her. BUT WAIT! After a TJ Yeldon run on first down, McCarron play fakes on 2nd and 3. Prentiss Waggner doesn’t bite, and picks off McCarron and returns it to the 50. 1 st and 2nd down runs produce nothing, Bray Drops back and heaves a jump ball down to Justin Hunter who catches it going out of bounds on the Alabama 5. All of Rocky Top has their hearts in their throats as the officials determine Hunter got a foot down. On 4th and goal from the 9 (Yes, UT lost 4 yards on the first 3 downs) Dooley says screw it. Bray finds a wide open Mychal Rivera in the end zone. ROCKY TOP YOU’LL ALWAYS BE, HOME SWEET HOME TO MEEEEEEEE!!! Gary Danielson is still convinced that Justin Hunter was out of bounds. The third period ends with Alabama at midfield and the score 24-24. In the fourth ‘Bama manages 2 field goals, and UT can’t get an offensive series going.
Alabama 30 – Tennessee 24
Last season, the Tide sleepwalked through the first half, leading to a six-point draw at the interim. Someone lit a fire under them in the locker room and they came out and took care of business, scoring 31 unanswered points. After that game the team admitted that they had expected a beat up Vols team to just lay down for them like they had the year before. That won’t be the case this season. Alabama comes in looking for a fight from the Vols and the Vols intend to give it to them. The Vols fight valiantly for three quarters, managing to stay within two scores, but there’s just not enough depth available to stop Bama from dominating the fourth quarter. The Vols only touch the ball twice in the last frame, managing a couple first downs but never threatening a score. The moral victory comes from the Vols scoring more than ten points against Bama for the first time in five years.
Alabama 31 – Tennessee 13
October 27, Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa
The game of the century is just a week away BUT: The Bulldogs hang tough, and AJ McCarron has a tough day. Saban can’t keep his crew from looking ahead to LSU. By the time they do, they are in a 17-0 hole early in the second quarter. The defense steps up, and doesn’t allow another Bulldog point, but the offense can’t get it going, and they can’t make up the deficit.
Alabama 14 – Miss State 17
Dan Mullen has gone from one of the hottest coaching names to one of the hottest seats this season as the Bulldog faithful slowly realize they hired an offensive-minded head coach who has yet to lead State to a better than ninth in the SEC scoring offense. The bell ringers just don’t have a player who can fill Vick Ballard’s shoes. State’s offense is kept out of the end zone for the second time this season, but the Tide plays a little too loose with the ball and the Dogs score on an interception return. Bama fails to top 30 points for the first time this year, but the game is never really in doubt.
Alabama 26 – Miss State 16
November 3, LSU in Baton Rouge
THE game has lost some luster. Pundits are writing off Alabama. It is their mistake. The Tide deliver an ass-beating to the Tigers of epic proportions. The Pundits are stunned.
Alabama 21 – LSU 0
LSU has already dropped one game this season, but don’t tell the crowd in Baton Rouge this game isn’t as big as it was last year. They’re fired up and the game starts as the previous two did: a slug fest where neither team is taking many risks on offense and allowing defense to provide the hidden yards in hopes of getting close to a strike. Something seems to be missing for the Tigers, and it’s the spark Les Miles teams have. There’s always that one player who just plays loose and always manages to make things happen at the right time. That wild card is missing this time around and the Tide manages to capitalize on a defense that takes too many risks with a young secondary. Zach Mettenberger is picked off twice in the second half to prevent any comeback and the Tide stays perfect.
Alabama 23 – LSU 13
November 10, Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa
The Aggies are beaten down in Kevin Sumlin’s first season. They come into Bryant-Denny completely demoralized. They never get off the mat. The Aggie offense does nothing. They do get some special teams help which allows the Aggies to get on the board three times.
Alabama 28 – A&M 9
Kevin Sumlin will be a great coach, but this season his decision to try to implement a fast-paced pass-heavy offense in the SEC with a true freshman QB leading a team that’s just as new to this offense as he is seems like a questionable decision at best. It certainly won’t serve him well here. Bama’s defense is able to force several three and outs to begin the game and the field position advantage allows the Tide to just run the ball at will, eating the clock and slowly sucking the soul out of the Aggies. The Aggies never lead in a game that’s largely over by halftime. With the win, Alabama claims the West and sets a new SEC record for wins in a five year period with four games to go.
Alabama 41 – Texas A&M 10
November 17, Western Carolina in Tuscaloosa
Alabama 53 – WCU 7
Last season in the game before Auburn, the Tide faced off with FCS team Georgia Southern and surrendered the most rushing yards of the Nick Saban era and allowed the most points they would allow all season, with the Eagles having the strange distinction of being the only team to score on the Tide more than twice in regulation. Given that precedent, one thing is for sure: the Catamounts aren’t Georgia Southern. AJ McCarron is cheering on the third team before the half.
Alabama 55 – WCU 0
November 24, Auburn in Tuscaloosa
The Iron Bowl: Auburn has no chance, Alabama is fired up, and know they need an Iron Bowl to win the West and an outside shot at a second consecutive BCS title are on the line. Auburn does have some early success, but the ‘Bama defense shuts them down, after the first quarter.
Alabama 31 – Auburn 14
The 2011 Auburn Tigers managed 14 points but the offense was shut out. The 2012 Tigers aren’t as good on offense. Both teams are fighting for something here: Alabama is trying to maintain it’s spot in the top two of the BCS rankings, and Auburn is trying to get bowl eligible. The Auburn defense plays aggressively, but they just don’t have the depth to handle staying on the field as long as they do. Bama leads the whole game, but in the third quarter, the floodgates open and the TJ Yeldon show commences. The freshman rushes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn gets too far behind early and can’t settle for field goals, making the score look worse than it really is.
Alabama 38 – Auburn 6
SEC Championship Game
South Carolina: Not close, never close, pretty boring.
Alabama 24 – South Carolina 6
Interesting bit of trivia: Alabama has represented the West in the championship game more than any other team, making seven appearances. In all seven, the opponent was Florida. That streak ends at seven with the Georgia Bulldogs making it to Atlanta for the second year in a row. Both teams are fired up and ready to play. Aaron Murray is able to move the ball well between the twenties early but the Dawgs must settle for field goals each time. Alabama fares no better in the first half and both teams go to the locker room with the score knotted at six apiece. In the second half, Christion Jones breaks a punt return loose and nearly scores but it’s ruled that he steps out of bounds at the five. It’s close enough for AJ McCarron to hit Brian Vogler on a screen for the game’s first touchdown. Alabama adds another one on an Eddie Lacy dash up the middle before Georgia manages to find the end zone itself to bring it back to a one score game. Mental mistakes start to affect the tired Bulldog line and they manage to kill a promising drive on penalties. In an attempt to not punt to Jones again, the kick goes out of bounds at the fifty. Alabama kicks another field goal and that ends up being the difference in the game.
Alabama 23 – UGA 13