With Paul Finebaumâ€™s prediction of 7-5 for the 2007 Crimson Tide, I decided to look at the schedule and compare notes. Here goes:
â€¨Sept. 1: Western Carolina â€”Win.
â€¨Sept. 8: at Vanderbilt â€”Win
â€¨Sept. 15: Arkansas â€”Win; however, Houston Nutt is a good coach and Arkansas is always dangerous.
â€¨Sept. 22: Georgiaâ€”Loss
â€¨Sept. 29: Florida State (at Jacksonville, Fla.)â€”Win. Iâ€™m not convinced FSU will be much improved in 2007. Bowden looks to have lost it. Will the addition of a new offensive staff help? Possibly. The FSU defense was stout, but this game wouldâ€™ve been a toss up in my mind even with Shula at the helm.
â€¨Oct. 6: Houston â€”Win.
â€¨Oct. 13: at Ole Missâ€”Itâ€™s Ole Miss. Itâ€™s a win.
â€¨Oct. 20: Tennesseeâ€”Tennessee beat Alabama last year, but it was a game most Alabama teams wouldâ€™ve won. The game plan going into the game was solid; however, Alabama couldnâ€™t pass protect and couldnâ€™t hold a lead in the fourth quarter because it couldnâ€™t run the ball. The toughness problems should be handled. And unless Fulmer works some miracle, Tennessee will be much the same team that lost its bowl match-up and struggled to beat Alabama. Tennesseeâ€™s offense was better last season; however, Iâ€™m not convinced Tennessee has recaptured its magic. Besides, Fulmerâ€™s washed up as a coach. His last SEC championship was further away than Mike Duboseâ€™s. BTW, some point to the Miss St. loss as when Shula really landed on the hotseat; however, many people will tell you it was the Tennessee game, lost in typical Shula fashion which sped an end to Shulaâ€™s career. Win.
â€¨Nov. 3: LSUâ€”LOSS. LSU will be the class of the west. They should compete for the division despite needing to replace many cogs on offense, including their QB.
â€¨Nov. 10: at Mississippi Stateâ€”Win. Saban wonâ€™t lose (many) games to pathetic teams.
â€¨Nov. 24: at Auburnâ€”Tommy Tuberville is overrated as a coach. However, Auburn has plenty of depth and despite one of the worst coaching jobs in memory (against Alabama in Tuscaloosa) Tubervilleâ€™s team found a way to win. The game will be close, and who knows what could happen if a few breaks go the Tideâ€™s way (think blowout win, because Tuberville has a way of laying down for big rivals), but all things being equal, Auburn should extend its streak. LOSS.
Iâ€™d anticipate a 9-3 record if everything went well. What concerns me about predicting a win in the Tennessee game is the interior defense. If Alabama canâ€™t stop the run, and control the line of scrimmage, then Alabama wonâ€™t beat Tennessee and will have a difficult time staying on the field with Arkansas. IF the defense doesnâ€™t improve, then 6-6 would be a projection.