Tag Archives: alabama football

Keys to the Game

So, Jeff has given you a couple of key matchups leading into the big game tonight and the two matchups that he highlighted are definitely two of the biggest storylines to watch tonight.  What I’m going to try and do, however, is give you some Keys to the Game to watch for, some specific examples of things that I think could swing the score one way or the other.  I’m not Gary Danielson and these aren’t sponsored by Home Depot but my guess is that at least one of these things is going to completely decide the outcome.


Alabama and LSU both are known for their ability to hold onto the football and not make the crucial mistakes.  Alabama’s runningbacks have gone something like 295 carries without a fumble and LSU is +15 in turnover margin on the season.  One turnover could take one of these teams from a win to a loss.

Field Position

It’s pretty inevitable that in a game with as much defensive hype as this game, you’re going to hear how the field position battle is crucial.   Alabama’s special teams have been a weakness for the team from a coverage perspective but they also have one of the best return men in the SEC in Marquis Maze.  Watch for Alabama to give up big yards on kickoffs but also watch for Maze to potentially switch field position back with a big punt return or two.

The Return of “Pick Six”

Jarrett Lee has been spectacular this year in relief of Jordan Jefferson following his controversy in the offseason.  Lee has been efficient to the tune of 13 touchdowns and only 1 interception on the season.  He hasn’t played a defensive backfield like Bama’s yet, though.  In case you’ve forgotten, Jarrett Lee is the same person who was notorious for doing a lot of this:

Trent Richardson’s Heisman Moment

People talk about this being Trent’s Heisman moment:

While an amazing highlight like that is definitely something that will look spectacular if Richardson wins the Heisman, a big game against lowly Ole Miss is not going to win it for him.  A big game against the #1 team in the country?  That will.

Rueben Randle

My guess is that this is going to be the biggest Key to the Game.  While Alabama has some talented receivers in Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks and DeAndrew White, they don’t have a guy with the ability of Randle.  Randle caught two huge touchdown passes in the blowout against Auburn and he is the most talented receiver on the field tonight.

The truth of the matter, like I said here, is that this game is going to be broken down continuously leading up to the kickoff but in all reality, nobody really knows what is going to happen.  Whatever ends up happening, something is going to go incredibly right or incredibly wrong for one team in one of the key phases of the game.



3 Days of Hype

We here at the Dweller are not oblivious to what is going on this weekend.  That’s right, it’s Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Week!  Ok, ok. . . . it’s Tennessee-Martin at Mississippi State Week!?  Fine, I’ll get serious. . . the only game that anyone cares about this weekend and a game with more hype than many in recent memory (outside of possibly the Florida/Alabama SEC Championships of ’08 and ’09), is this weekends #1 vs. #2 matchup in Tuscaloosa.  In anticipation of the matchup, we’re going to give you what we’re calling 3 Days of Hype.

LSU and Alabama come into this weekend being two of the most dominant SEC teams that I can remember in my lifetime.  Fans of other teams can get mad at that statement all they want but it’s the truth.  Alabama, for example, has won every matchup this season by at least 16 points, while LSU has won all of their matchups by no less than 13 points.  LSU beat defending National Champion Auburn 45-10 two weeks ago while Alabama beat the current #7 team in the nation Arkansas by 24 points.

Tyrann Mathieu and the LSU secondary will look to swing momentum

While some will argue that the league is in a down year (and they are right, to a point), there is no denying the dominance that both of these teams have shown through the season’s first eight games.  Both teams feature defenses with multiple players who will start in the NFL next year and offenses that are efficient and meticulous.  While LSU may have the edge at wide receiver, Alabama has the edge at runningback and while LSU may have the most talented secondary in the country, Alabama puts possibly the nation’s most talented linebacker group on the field each week.

One of the game's big questions is whether LSU can slow down Heisman contender Trent Richardson

People can try all they want to break down this matchup (and we will also over the next couple of days) but the fact of the matter is that no one really knows which way this game is going to go.  If Trent Richardson ran for 2 touchdowns and the Tide won by 10 points, no one would really be all that surprised.  If Tyrann Mathieu and the LSU secondary returned two pick-sixes and won by 10 points, no one would be surprised, either.  What I can say for certain, though, is that this game has the makings of one of the most epic games the SEC has ever seen, so get your mind right.

Games of the Week: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

So far for the season, I’m fairing pretty well on the worst games of the week, where I have an undefeated record.  Of course, most of those games have been huge blowouts so it’s not much of an accomplishment on my end.  So far I am 5-4 on my picks but I plan on changing that this week.

I have to admit right here that I continue to underestimate God’s love for the Auburn Tigers (how else can you explain them) and once again they proved me wrong by beating a team that many had proclaimed to be vastly superior.  Cough, cough, including myself.  So in the spirit of giving, I am finally going to give the Tigers some love this week.  On to this week’s games of the week:

#21 Auburn at Clemson

Auburn continues to test fate and win

This game is mainly high on appeal because of the way that it went last year.  Clemson had a chance to shut up the “War Cam Eagle” chants pretty early on in the season but failed to do so.  This year Clemson has struggled against Wofford and beat Troy pretty handily.  The narrow win against Wofford, especially, doesn’t bode well for Clemson.

As for Auburn, as I mentioned, they obviously have some sort of deal with either God or the Devil considering the way that they are winning games during their current 17 game winning streak.  I have finally given in and will refuse to pick against them until they finally lose.

Pick:  Auburn 38  Clemson 31

Tennessee at #16 Florida

Tyler Bray will show no respect to the Gators defensive backfield

Before this season, this game had kind of lost its’ appeal in recent years.  Tyler Bray, however, has finally got Vol fans talking again and with good reason.  So far on the year Bray has a 78.5% completion rate with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions to go along with nearly 700 yards passing.  Pretty gaudy numbers for 2 weeks, no matter who you’re playing.  Bray has Tennessee buzzing and I’ve even heard some talk that he may be the best UT quarterback since Peyton Manning.  I’m not willing to go there yet but let’s give it some time and see how it turns out.

The Gators, on the other hand are quietly looking pretty solid so far this season.  Their defense has only given up 3 points on the season, albeit to Florida Atlantic and UAB, and the offense has looked good enough, as well.  Surprisingly, I think this game may actually have a chance to decide the East.

Upset Special:  Tennessee 24  Florida 17

Dry Games of the Week

Coastal Carolina at Georgia


Pick:  Georgia 41  CC 10

North Texas at #2 Alabama

Look for Trent Richardson to finally break out this week

Bama continues their streak of making the picks column but twice it’s not been for the right reasons.  Yet again the Tide is playing a cupcake and yet again they will Roll by halftime.  Next week Arkansas and the beginning of true SEC play for the Tide.

Pick:  Alabama 45  North Texas 3

Everybody Hates Alabama

Today, we take on one of the most talked about teams in the SEC.  Opposing fans love to talk about the Crimson Tide almost as much as Tide fans love to talk about themselves.  Lets be honest….it’s easy to hate on Alabama.  The problem is most people hate on the Tide for the wrong reasons.  You see, it’s easy to hate a program when they are successful.  That is why so many people hate the Yankees, Cowboys, and Lakers–they win–a lot.  However, this article won’t stoop to the simplistic level of hating based on wins.  The Dweller has more respect than that, and our readers deserve better.

I assume that most people reading this article will be Alabama fans, so I have decided to stay away from “big” words like “arithmetic”, and have broken down paragraphs into simple, easy-to-read bullet points. You’re welcome Bammers.

  •  Championships–  While some people hate the Tide for winning championships, most people hate the Tide for claiming championships–13 total.  This has, and always will be debated.  The issue is that while the NCAA recognizes “consensus” national champions, they don’t actually award them, and they only go back to 1950 when counting “consensus” national titles.  This miscalculation comes as no surprise to me, having lived in the state of Alabama my whole life and hearing hearing Bama fans on gamedays talk about the 30 beers they drank before gametime when everyone knows they bought a 12 pack for the day.
  • The “Bear”–  Again, we are not hating on Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant because he won football games, but because of the obsessive nature of worshiping that Bama fans heap on his grave.  From statues, to museums, and even an old sound byte played before kickoff that is undecipherable, UA fans laud the legendary coach.  No other fan base has obsessed over a clothing pattern like the Tide has with the houndstooth pattern that was worn by Bryant. The comical part of this is that most fans actually believe Coach Bryant invented this pattern, and deserves credit for such.

  • Nick Saban–  The love doesn’t stop with the “Bear”.  Bama’s latest love-fest is borderline scary.  Since arriving on campus, Nick Saban  has sent the fan base into a psychotic frenzy that resembles an acid-fueled Woodstock festival.  Most coaches outside of the SEC would consider issuing 101,000 restraining orders on game days, but Saban, standing around 5’5”, basks in the attention.  Face it Bammers, thats what coaches do–they bask.  They are some of the most ego-driven human beings you will meet.  They aren’t there to be your friends, nor do they care about your University, unless they went to school there.  Coaches, including your beloved Saban, will consider leaving ANY school for the right amount of money and opportunity.  That is the truth, and the fact that most UA fans believe that Nicky cares about them, their children, their dog, or their University are sadly mistaken.

  • Bama Bangs–  The phenomenon of “Bama Bangs” is something that is difficult to comprehend unless you’ve witnessed it in person.  For those of you who are unaware, let me explain–or better yet–let me show you.  Make no mistake, this is not a passing fad, but a rite of passage for most Bammers, and a sign of seniority among fraternity members.  You can usually spot one of the many 6th-year Seniors by their lengthy, well-combed bangs.  Once a student has achieved “Bama Bangs” status, their whole demeanor changes, and they actually believe that Alabama’s fan base is comprised of upstanding, non-redneck, classy fans–which brings us to our next point.

    A classic example of "Bama Bangs"

Like so many Bama QBs before him, Sims was forced to adapt.

  •  Delusions of Grandeur–  If you have ever had a football conversation with a Bama fan before the start of a season you will undoubtedly hear the same prediction–a National Championship.  I, for one, applaud their optimism, and having won several titles in the past, I guess it’s not as far-fetched as an Ole Miss fan making such a prediction, but here’s where it starts bothering people–most Bammers that I have come across can’t carry on an intelligent, unbiased football conversation.  In fact, most of them couldn’t name an opposing team’s starting quarterback.  As a fan, I can name my team’s strengths AND weaknesses–Alabama’s weaknesses? Bammer:”Weaknesses?! We ain’t got none of them.”              Fan:”Oh.  Didn’t you lose your top receiving threat and still working on your QB situation?”                                              Bammer:”Don’t matter none.  We’ll just hand the ball to Trent Richardson 50 times a game.  He’s a BEAST!  Roll Tide.”                     The other delusion that most Bama fans have is that they are less redneck than other school’s fanbases.  Bammers will attack every surrounding school in the conference while sitting smack in the middle of Redneck, USA.  The truth is, every SEC school has blue-collared blood running through its historical veins, and that’s what makes our fan bases so freakin’ crazy, but Bammers will deny it up and down.  Let’s not forget where you chose to showcase your National Championship trophy.  Take one good look at Tuscaloosa, not on a game day, and tell me you would consider moving there.  If you would, then your job search is down to fast food, hotels, or gas stations.  Last year, all I heard was how Penn State fans couldn’t stop talking about how accommodating and classy all the fans were last year.  AND???  Some rude Yankees told you how nice you were–get over it!  They were probably surprised you had running water and paved road.  Cut your bangs and see the light.

Smart PR move....display it where most of your fan base shops.

Lets be honest.  We live in SEC country.  Nobody likes anybody unless you are one of those weird people that actually cheer for other SEC teams to do well.  This is a hate on the University of Alabama and theres more where that came from.  Hate Alabama?  Submit your comments.  Love Alabama?  Screw you.

This article is part of the “Everybody Hates” Series. Check out the other parts here:
Ole Miss

SEC Key Games: September 24–Arkansas at Alabama

Bobby Petrino hopes he doesn't have to continue to empty his pocket book to get a call or two.

The fourth weekend of the NCAA football season always provides one of the best games of the year in Arkansas vs. Alabama.  These two teams have routinely played some of the more memorable games of the past 10 years.  Multiple overtimes, last-second touchdowns, and running through eight defenders on the way to the end zone have are some of the many things that have highlighted a series that both head coaches will tell you can make or break their team’s attitude very early in the season.  Tyler Wilson will be at the helm of the Arkansas offense this year after putting up some good numbers last season in relief of the departed Ryan Mallett.  Bobby Petrino hopes that Wilson will be able to lead this offense down the field numerous times this year on their way to another possible berth in the Sugar Bowl or beyond.  However, on this day they will face an Alabama defense that returns just about every starter and key player from a squad that allowed only 13.5 points per game last season.  Courtney Upshaw and Donta’ Hightower will once again lead a relentless pass-rush, while the Tide’s depth in the defensive backfield continues to grow with the incoming Hasean Clinton-Dix looking to contribute this season.  Nick Saban also reeled in four 4-star defensive ends to provide a vast amount of depth across the defensive line.  This game will also expose just how bad the Razorbacks will miss Knile Davis, who will miss a significant amount of time, if not the entire season, with a broken ankle.  The SEC’s leading rusher at the running back position last year, Davis was going to be relied upon to provide balance to what has become a pass-heavy offense since the departure of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones from Fayetteville.  His shoes must now be filled by a fairly inexperienced duo of Ronnie Wingo, Jr. and Dennis Johnson.  With the absence of Davis, look for the Tide to bring the heat on Wilson all day long.

Nick Saban may literally kill someone if the Tide loses to Arkansas.

The Tide returns a veteran offensive line with a running back that’s already being mentioned in the Heisman Trophy race.  The only question mark for Nick Saban’s team at the moment is the same question that many have had since the final seconds of the Capital One Bowl fell off the clock—which quarterback will be taking the majority of the snaps?  The only test the Tide will have before this game is in Happy Valley in the second half of a home-and-home series with Penn State.  The quarterback that emerges from that game as the clear-cut starter will likely be the one who leads the Tide through the rest of the season.  However, with Trent Richardson accompanying the Tide’s QB in the backfield, it might not really matter who is handing him the ball.  Richardson leads a fierce rushing attack, along with Eddie Lacy, who was rumored to be out for the season but has since shown he will be able to play through the injury.  Jalston Fowler, a wrecking ball with legs, could also handle some important carries against the Hogs.  Jake Bequette and company may try to disrupt the running game early and often in order to test the Tide’s passing game.  However, Arkansas’s extremely inexperienced defensive backfield could ultimately cost them even greater than Richardson running for 200 yards.  It will be interesting to see what kind of defensive game plan is put together to stop the Tide’s offense.

Some “experts” say this game could decide who wins the SEC West.  With LSU’s quarterback currently suspended, that assumption may well be more fact than fiction.  It should be a very interesting 60 minutes of football in Tuscaloosa when the Hogs come to town.  History has taught us that the football gods wouldn’t have it any other way.


Check out the other SEC Key Games:
September 15–LSU at Mississippi State
September 10–South Carolina at Georgia

Player To Watch: Alabama RB Trent Richardson


Mark Ingram was the first player from the University of Alabama to ever win the Heisman Trophy, and within two seasons experts are already saying that the school may have a chance to have their second Heisman winner.  Trent Richardson comes into the season as the guy for the first time in his career despite the fact that even last year people were predicting that he may end up being better than his predecessor before he is done.

Richardson is a freak of a human being, a punishing 224 pound straight-line runner who can punish defenders but still has good speed and the ability to move well in space.  The junior from Pensacola has been compared to Emmitt Smith, who went to the same high school as Richardson, an incredible compliment for a player who has been a backup for his entire career so far.

During his sophomore season, Richardson rushed for 700 yards on 112 carries, and in the two games that Mark Ingram missed with a knee injury, Richardson filled in admirably.  Against San Jose State, in limited action before the game turned into a blowout, Richardson carried the ball 10 times for 66 yards and had 3 catches for 46 yards and scored 2 touchdowns.  Against Penn State he rushed 22 times for 141 yards and caught 4 passes for 46 yards.  Richardson also added impressive games against Arkansas, Tennessee and Ole Miss to name a few.

This year, however, Richardson is the guy, and nobody in the country is expecting anything less than a great year from him.  Most pundits will agree that he is on the short list for the Heisman trophy, and with the Tide expected to be playing for the SEC Championship in December, many believe that he may end up being the front runner by the end of the season, similar to how Mark Ingram captured the trophy in 2009.

The Tide will go only as far as Richardson can take them on offense, and odds are that will be pretty far.


Also, check out some of our other Players to Watch:  Arkansas RB Ronnie Wingo, Jr. and Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw

Follow us on Twitter @SEC_Dweller and “like” us on Facebook

Key Matchups: Arkansas at Alabama

The Hogs hope they won't see Tyler Wilson pressured by the Alabama defense as much as Ryan Mallett was last year.Alabama and Arkansas meet in the fourth week of the season this year and there is no reason to think that it won’t be just as great as last year’s classic.  Both teams should have no problems coming in at 3-0; especially Arkansas who opens the season with Missouri State, New Mexico and Troy.  Alabama may have a little more trouble since they have to travel to Happy Valley to face Penn State in week 2 but the Tide should be heavily favored even in that early test.

Arkansas starts out the season at #14 in the  USA Today Coaches Poll and Alabama will come in at #2.  If each team can gets wins in their first three games, as expected, there is the possibility that this could be a Top 10 matchup if a few teams lose in front of the Hogs early on.  Some top teams do have early tests, like LSU facing Oregon, Georgia facing Boise State and Oklahoma at Florida State, so the potential is there for some early movement in the top 25.

It’s well documented that Arkansas lost their top RB, Knile Davis for the season with an ankle injury but as you read here, the Hogs still have playmakers at the RB position without him.  Tyler Wilson showed last year against eventual National Champion Auburn, that he is more than capable of taking over the offense from Ryan Mallett and odds are the Hogs will still have one of the top producing offenses in the SEC this season.  And they’ll need it in this one.

Alabama comes in with what is considered one of the top 2 defensive units in the conference, having four first team defensive players on the coaches Preseason All-Conference team in Mark Barron, Josh Chapman, Robert Lester and Dont’a Hightower.   The unit is experienced and guys like Courtney Upshaw will more than likely try and rattle Wilson, much as they did Ryan Mallett a year ago.

With the game being in Tuscaloosa this year, look for the Tide’s defense to have the edge over Arkansas’ somewhat untested offense but don’t be surprised if this one comes down to the wire just like last year.