Should Alabama fear a ghost of Auburn past?
The season has held noting but treats for the Tide so far.
With an undefeated record and two-game lead over nearest rival LSU, Alabama is virtually assured a tie for the SEC West division crown, and in all likelihood is headed for the conference title game in Atlanta against either Florida or Georgia.
If Bama wins out, a BCS championship game appearance would normally seem a certainty.
So, what is scary for Tide fans?
The Tigers ran the table that year, but got shut out of the BCS title game (USC-Oklahoma) and settled for a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech to cap an undefeated, and unfulfilling, season.
Alabama might suffer a similar ghastly fate … and the goblins would either be wearing masks that looked like a big longhorn steer, or an old-timer with thick, black, horn-rimmed glasses, and a big smile.
Texas and Penn State.
Bevo and Jo Pa.
Texas is undefeated, still has tough road games at Texas Tech (this week) and Kansas (Nov. 15), home games with Baylor and Texas A&M, and a Big 12 title game date (most likely a rematch with Missouri). Tough to see anybody jumping over the Longhorns if they win out against that schedule.
That leaves Joe Pa.
Joe Paterno’s Penn State team pulled out a win at Ohio State in Columbus, and now only Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan State stand between Paterno and his sixth (!) undefeated team.
In four of his five undefeated seasons, Paterno and the Lions have been denied the chance to play for a national title (1968, 1969, 1973, 1994).
Do not expect voters to keep the 82-year-old Paterno from a national championship game appearance in what could be his grand finale.
That Halloween scenario means scary times for Alabama in an otherwise sweet season.
Enjoy the games!
Game Day Weekly Halloween Issue Tricks or Treats
SEC West (alphabetically)
Alabama … a treat for the Crimson Tide as the boys from Bama continue to roll.
Arkansas … tricks for the Hogs even though they battled Ole Miss close. Do you see another win?
Auburn … tricks for Tommy Tub … who is left to fire? Don’t answer that Tommy.
LSU … tricks for the Bengal Tiger defense after giving up 51 and then 52 points. Yikes.
Ole Miss … a treat for Houston Nutt after a sweet homecoming in Arkansas.
Miss State … a treat for Croom’s Bullies because they don’t get many.
SEC East (alphabetically)
Florida … a treat to a team that always brings a bag of trick plays.
Georgia … a treat for the team that finally lived up to its preseason billing.
Kentucky … tricks for the suddenly struggling Wildcats after surrendering 63 points to the Gators.
South Carolina … a small treat for the head ball coach as an 8-win season now looks probable.
Tennessee … tricks for the Volunteers as time may be running out for the biggest orange.
Vanderbilt … tricks for the Commodores … all you had to do was beat Duke to go to a bowl. Duke!
Last Week’s Record 5-2
2008 Record 49-16
A solid week, the losses coming after the longshot Arkansas pick barely fell short, and Vandy flunked an exam with Duke. Top pick? Georgia went to Death Valley and handled the defending national champs.
* all times Eastern
Arkansas State at Alabama (3:00)
Alabama continues to look very solid in all aspects of the game, putting away Tennessee in workmanlike fashion. The Tide sometimes goes to sleep in these games (see Tulane this season and LA-Monroe last), but should use this game as a nice tune-up before the LSU showdown. The A-State Red Wolves are 4-3, had a bye week to get ready, and beat that LA-Monroe team a couple weeks ago.
Game Ball: Alabama
Tulsa at Arkansas (2:00)
The Razorback soap opera featuring former coaches continues this week when Tulsa offensive coordinator (and former Hog OC) Gus Malzahn brings his high scoring Golden Hurricane attack to the Natural State. Undefeated and ranked Tulsa has failed to score 40 points only once this season and is a potential BCS bowl buster. Arkansas continues to be scrappy, fighting back against Ole Miss late in a 23-21 loss. If Arkansas controls the ball and keeps Tulsa off the field, I like the Hogs chances. Just not sure they can score enough to keep up.
Game Ball: Tulsa
Auburn at Ole Miss (12:30 Raycom)
Auburn played a good half against West Virginia, jumping to a 17-3 lead, then fell apart and allowed the Mountaineers to romp for 31 straight points and a 34-17 victory. Tommy Tuberville held a combative news conference last week to dispel rumors about his health (it’s fine) or his intentions to keep coaching Auburn (he does), but the Tigers have problems. Ole Miss is so up and down that the Rebels are hard to peg, but let’s give them the win.
Game Ball: Ole Miss
Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville) (3:30 CBS)
See SEC Game of the Week
Game Ball: Georgia
Kentucky at Mississippi State (2:30)
Kentucky got humiliated at Florida and I’m not sure the Wildcats can recover from that beating anytime soon. State beat MTSU and showed some offensive balance. Kentucky is the better team in my opinion, but the Bulldogs are physical and should be tough enough to get the home win.
Game Ball: Miss State
Tulane at LSU (8:00)
The LSU defense has been hammered by Florida and Georgia the past two games, while Tulane has lost three in a row. Uh-oh. This one may get ugly early. Bengal Tigers take out frustration and prepare for Alabama game.
Game Ball: LSU
Tennessee at South Carolina (7:30 ESPN2)
The vultures are circling Phillip Fulmer after his Volunteers turned in another lackluster performance, this one a 29-9 loss to rival Alabama. Think perennial Tennessee nemesis Steve Spurrier wouldn’t love to be the guy to kick sand in the face of UT fans one more time? South Carolina had a week off to get ready. It’s doubtful Tennessee can recover from the Bama loss to win on the road against the head ball coach.
Game Ball: South Carolina