Nick Saban, Alabama Hope to Keep BCS Title Hopes Alive
Thank God last weekend is over.
Alabama didn't play, and the Top Five was put on the cutting block for the second time this year.
Is anyone getting the feeling of déjà vu? Were we not seeing bizarre and drastic changes in the polls last year, after every team (except Hawaii) lost at least two games?
After two long weeks of what one could only hope was Saban preaching consistency and intensity, Alabama will meet up with the Rebels of Mississippi, who have already contributed to the perpetually spinning kaleidoscope we call the Top 25.
Despite heartbreakers against Vanderbilt and South Carolina, Houston Nutt has already made a statement in his first year tenure at Ole Miss by beating the Florida Gators in "The Swamp" 31-30. At 3-3, and under the cap of a new coach, the Rebels have reason to be proud.
Then again, who better to be proud of their accomplishments this season than the astonishing Alabama Crimson Tide?
Alabama is undefeated. 6-0. Six games into the season, and Alabama is still the only team, in 2008, to knock off two top 10 teams...BY A MARGIN OF 75-40. They have not trailed at all thus far, and have spent 21-and-a-half minutes leading by 10 points or more in the first quarter. They have outscored their opponents 88-0 in the first quarter; 147-20 in the first half.
They have the second best rushing defense in the nation, the 10th best total defense in the nation, the 12th best scoring defense in the nation, and the 14th best rushing offense in the nation, captained by the SEC's most experienced and most improved three-year starting quarterback John Parker Wilson.
Now, if this isn't a recipe for a BCS Burger, then I don't know what is.
John Parker Wilson, who is 42-of-68 for 471 yards with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 126.7 against the Rebels in his career, looks to forget about his 7-of-17 for 106 yards performance against Kentucky.
"What they are doing from last year is like night and day," Wilson said in an interview with rolltide.com. "So, everything that we had going last year, we have to throw out the window and start new. They have new guys who are going to do new stuff. We have to prepare and get ready for them this week."
Glen Coffee, one of many weapons in the backfield, had a field day against Kentucky; running for 218 yards on just 25 carries and one touchdown.
Other marvels in Alabama's backfield consist of the likes of Mark Ingram, Roy Upchurch, and Terry Grant. Ingram is averaging 5.7 yards per carry with five touchdowns. Against an Ole Miss defense that has held opponents to an average of 112.6 yards on the ground, look for Ingram to rely on the offensive line in order to rack up big numbers.
Let us not forget about the wideouts. Marquis Maze, Julio Jones, Nick Walker, and Mike McCoy have all contributed an individual average of 10 yards or more per catch. With Ole Miss allowing over 228 passing yards (88th nationally), expect Wilson to send plenty of pigskin through the air.
The defensive line of Terrence Cody, Bobby Greenwood, and Lorenzo Washington has held opponents to only 50 yards per game on the ground. With Ole Miss relying heavily on Brandon Bolden and Cordera Eason in the backfield, don't expect a high number of rushing yards for the Rebels.
Boy, do the Mississippi Rebels have their hands full this weekend.
Nutt and the Rebels got lucky two weeks ago. The Florida Gator team that embarrassed LSU 51-21 wasn't the same team that fell to Ole Miss.
Don't expect the same Alabama squad that barely squeezed by Tulane and Kentucky, either. They realize the threat that Ole Miss can be and will approach it like a game that needs to be won.
Must more be said about that? Every game that needed to be won this year has been won by a large margin.
Alabama dominates the overall record against the Rebels 44-9-2. The last time Ole Miss defeated Alabama was in 2003 (43-28). The only time Ole Miss was victorious in Tuscaloosa was in 1988 (22-12).
The Crimson Tide enjoyed a week off, and now it's back to business. Alabama dominates this one on the ground and with defense, and sets their sights on Knoxville; the "Third Weekend in October" to face the hated Volunteers of Tennessee.
Ole Miss 14
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