Week 10 SEC Preview: Handicapping the Nick Saban Bowl

Ryan BlanchfieldAnalyst INovember 1, 2007

Icon Sports MediaThe Saban Bowl (LSU-Alabama) isn't the only high-profile SEC matchup slated for Saturday.

As the race to Atlanta comes down to the wire, three interconference contests are worth watching this weekend.

Here's a preview of each—and the early scoop on the winners...


LSU at Alabama (5 P.M. EST)

Four years ago, Nick Saban was wearing a collegiate headset—but he was sporting a different-colored polo shirt.  Contrary to the Crimson and White on his chest every saturday, it used to be purple and gold, which are the colors of the team coming in to Tuscaloosa this weekend.  That's right, the LSU Tigers.

In his time at LSU, Saban had a place in the hearts of Tiger fans everywhere. Now those Tiger fans' favorite teams are LSU and whoever the hell is playing Nick Saban.



The Tigers enter the game at 7-1, with their only loss coming at Kentucky three weeks ago.  

LSU QB Matt Flynn had the best game of his career against Auburn two weeks ago, posting personal highs in completions, attempts, and passing yards. Backup Ryan Perrilloux will be unavailable in Tuscaloosa due to a "fight" at an on-campus bar early Friday morning.  Try 2 A.M..

On the ground, the bulk of the carries will go to Jacob Hester and Keiland Williams. You can also expect to see Richard Murphy and Charles Scott get touches with some chances to make plays.

The Tigers are elated to have Early Doucet back at WR after he is finally back from a nagging groin injury that caused him to miss 5 weeks. Accompanying him will be Brandon LaFell, Demetrius Byrd, Jared Mitchell, and TE Richard Dickson.

Defensively, LSU has been plagued by injuries since the Florida game. As it stands, coach Les Miles is unsure of DT Glenn Dorsey's status. Despite lesser injuries, all other key players are expected to be ready to go.



In December, Alabama fired former head coach Mike Shula. The Tide went with an interim head coach in an Independence Bowl loss to Oklahoma State. 

The day after LSU's 41-14 Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame, the Tide baited Dolphins' coach Nick Saban with a $32 million contract. 

The Tide should be in good shape for the next few years—as should Saban's finances.

On offense, Alabama QB John Parker Wilson is, along with Flynn, coming off a career game in a 41-17 route of Tennessee. Wilson was 32 of 46 for 363 yards and two TDs.

'Bama is strong on the ground with RBs Terry Grant and Glen Coffee. Grant gets the starts; when he's tired, Coffee comes in with a fresh pair of legs.

Alabama has one of my favorite SEC receiving corps. DJ Hall quietly leads the conference in receiving yards and is third in receptions, behind only South Carolina's Kenny McKinley and Vandy's Earl Bennett.  

On defense, 'Bama hasn't been too shaky—but LSU's offense has some serious firepower. This will be a very interesting matchup of units.

Prediction: LSU 27, Alabama 21


Icon Sports MediaSouth Carolina at Arkansas (8 P.M. EST)

This is a matchup between two of the best running back tandems in the nation. 

SC has Mike Davis and Corey Boyd, while Arkansas has Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

As I see it, the Arkansas duo has the edge—and the Gamecocks are on their way out of the Top 25.

Prediction: Arkansas 34, South Carolina 27


Vanderbilt at Florida (12:30 PM EST)

Florida has to be very angry after losing three of four conference games.

Vandy looked good in taking down Steve Spurrier—but I've got to go with Urban Meyer's squad in a runaway.

Prediction: Florida 49, Vanderbilt 13


Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Ole Miss all have cupcake games they should win easily—but then again who knows in the 2007 college football season.

Mississippi State and Kentucky are idle. 


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