Last August I posted some season predictions for the '09 season. Actually I made these predictions about this time last year and just regurgitated them in August.
Just so you don't have to go back in my articles and look, I predicted 11-1. The sole loss to Virginia Tech.
So, lets get onto the early absurdity.
September 4th, San Jose State: Time to put the defense through some more scout team practice. San Jose will put ten on the board (early jitters, new defense). The defense learns some lessons. Oh, if you are wondering you will see one or both back up quarterbacks play. If not, somebody better remind Saban about Texas! -W-
September 11th, Penn State: Back to reality and back to the future, A 70's rivalry is renewed and Joe Pa is happy. An interesting game to call. Penn is losing star quarterback Daryll Clark but keeps the majority of the o-line and solid running back Evan Royster. Bryant-Denny Stadium is not the best place for a starting quarterback to have his first big road game. And, Alabama is not the defense to start it on. Defensively Penn loses key tacklers Jared Odrick, Josh Hull, and "The Guns From" Navorro Bowman. And this is enough for Bama to run the ball and hold the time of possession. -W-
September 18th, at Duke: Everybody loves the nice guy and therefore we love Cutcliff. He has done a good job at Duke and Bama appreciates Duke allowing another scrimmage. Another tune up game, albeit better competition than San Jose. -W-
September 25th, at Arkansas: Last year the Tide semi-shut down, or didn't let get out of control, Ryan Mallett. He had 191 passing yards. But, Bama shut down the run. The Hogs keep their offense in place and lose a couple of key defensive players. Mallet will pick on the Tide secondary and he will be successful. This game will be tougher than the Penn State game. Something wreaks here but I will go ahead and give it to the Tide. -W-
October 2nd, Florida: After annihilating UF in the 2009 SEC championship game the Gators are going to want some payback. Unfortunately, they don't have Tebow, Spikes, Hayden, Dunlap, Wright, Hernandez, James and Cooper. The Gators rushing game was non existent without Tebow last year. This game isn't late enough in the season for UF to find a new rushing game. John Brantley is good, but not Tebow good. Urban (or whoever is coaching) loses for the third time to the Tide and second time in Bryant Denny stadium. -W-
October 9th, at South Carolina: USC returns most of the offense and defense. 2010 is the year they think they can challenge for the SEC East title. And, they just may. Unbelievably Spurrier gets it done. And, Alabama takes its first loss. We are all befuddled and the SEC is turned upside down. Hey, it was either going to be the Gamecocks or the Hogs. Or both! Man, I hope I'm wrong. Wait, I am wrong. New recruit, Marcus Lattimore is going to be a great back, but unless that offensive line steps up he is going to have to make his own holes. Not to mention, the amount of sacks they allowed last season. Here comes Marcell! -W-
October 16th, Mississippi: Houston has landed back at the scene of the fake field goal crime. Bobby Massie is wishing he signed with the Tide at this point. Weak on offense and even weaker on defense the Rebs resign themselves to another loss in the season after getting beat by Fresno State and Kentucky. -W-
October 23rd, at Tennessee: I don't know if Saban has lost to a first year coach, but if it hasn't happened it isn't going to start now. One reason Kiffin jumped ship is that, besides knowing he can't compete in this league, UT lost most of the offensive line, a sometimes good quarterback, and every down Back in Monterio Hardesty. Brice Brown will have to carry the load but will not average much. But don't expect a blowout, UT has the week off prior to Bama. -W-
November 6th, at Louisiana State: LSU, like five other SEC teams, takes a bi-week before playing Alabama. Unfortunately for LSU Bama does the same. Well, this will help put the nail in Les' coffin. Three years in row is not a good sign for the Miles era. And, even with the talent, for some reason he is not getting it developed appropriately. On top of that three times last year Miles had poor game management. All three games were losses. Look for more of the same this season. -W-
November 13th, Mississippi State: Always watch out for Dan Mullins. However, he is still two more seasons away from having his ball club. And no, don't rely on the big defeat of Ole Miss as the Dawg's turning point. Even though it is late in the season and Dan's team will be more fit, it is still Mississippi State and they are not due to beat Alabama until 2014. And, that is being generous. -W-
November 20th, Georgia State: It is time to practice for the Iron Bowl and the SEC championship game. Give your starters a rest and let the second string have a go at it. -W-
November 26th, Auburn: After almost losing to the Tigers last year, having what some Auburn fans would say a lucky drive to win, the Tide will still be reminded of that, the six in row and that they are playing in Bryant-Tubberville West Stadium. With a great recruiting class, but limited SEC offensive skilled experience, Auburn will be leaning on a defense which held Alabama to 291 yards last season. And, no matter how many trick plays Malzahn wants to do Alabama will match it with bruit force. Home field advantage plus a bevy of tail backs and an experienced quarterback gives Bama the edge. -W-
End Notes: Alabama could feasibly win all of these games as I predicted. But, I would be remiss if I didn't say I see two potential losses. However, in order to pull a phenomenal third undefeated regular season the Tide's offense is going to have to win some games.
At this point they should be more than ready to accomplish it.
Though Bama doesn't return some nine starters on defense they have capable players to fill the gaps. Names like Chapman, Dareus, Hightower, Upshaw, Nico Johnson, and Dre Kirkpatrick are names you have heard throughout the 2009 season.
Yes, secondary will be suspect because of departing shut-down corners Marquiz Johnson and Javier Arenas, which is why you will look at key away games such as Arkansas and South Carolina for stumbling blocks.
Just get ready for anything. This is the SEC.