ITK Predictions for Alabama, Auburn for 2011

Well, we’ve finally made it. As the clock strikes midnight the offseason finally dies the gnarly death it deserves.

Never in my memory can I remember an offseason filled with more B.S. than this one. From orchestrated PR stunts involving widespread publicity surrounding one cuckoo’s actions poisoning some already dying trees, to the horrible tragedy that occured on April 27th. From an ongoing NCAA investigation that the Alabama media continues to ignore (but the NCAA seems to confirm), to fan hysteria rumors involving a clothing store (with less credability than tales of the skunk ape).

Not to mention Alabama signees who found themselves the target of obvious Auburn smear campaigns, taking this rivalry into the sewer’s depths like no other time in history.

It is finally time to play football. Thank God. It’s finally time to play some football.

On the eve of the Tide’s quest for its 14th National Championship, it’s time to lay the predictions down. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention our little sister to the southeast.

The team is loaded. I know you’ve heard that before, but this team is loaded with players who could and would be starting virtually anywhere else they play. But still, Saban’s track record of putting 1 out of every 3 players he sends to the NFL in the first round has these studs coming in year after year.

The obvious question is quarterback. Bama will play two, only one of which has had a snap of any kind in a game. But don’t kid yourself, they can both do it.

Then there is the defense. Ask Michigan State what it’s like facing this Alabama defense when motivated to perform. The 11-1 Spartans found their second loss of last year in humiliating fashion in last year’s bowl game, and this Bama squad has the horses to keep putting bodies on the field in waves. There’s a chance the Tide’s shut out record from 1961 could be challenged this season.

Then there are the wild cards. Blake Sims…how and when will he be used? Duron Carter…when will he be ready, and how will he impact the Tide offense? Cyrus Kouandjio…will he break the starting lineup before the SEC season starts, and what role will his family play in blowing the whistle on his alledged illegal recruitment by Auburn?

These are questions we’ll soon answer, but in a run down, here is all you need to know:

Kent State – W 52-0
@ Penn State – W 31-20
North Texas – W 63-0
Arkansas – W 28-20
@ Florida – W 24-18
Vanderbilt – W 45-0
@ Ole Miss – W 38-6
Tennessee – W 41-7
LSU – W 24-0
@ Mississippi State – W 27-19
Georgia Southern – W 59-3
@ Auburn – W 35-10

SEC Championship
South Carolina – W 34-21

National Championship
Oklahoma – W 21-15

There is no excuse for this Auburn team not to get at least 9 wins and go to a New Year’s Day bowl (not that they really matter anymore).

If you’ve bought into all the media propaganda, you’d think Auburn has been getting recruits from Uganda. But the cold hard fact is, however he’s managed to do it (above or below board), Gene Chizik has managed three years of solid recruiting, living inside the top five by most recruiting services.

So if you’re giving the Tigers a pass this season, you’re either deceived or in denial. If there is an excuse it’ll be because this coaching staff is a sham…without a Cam. 2011 will expose just how high school the Gus Malzahn offense is, and just how poorly coached the team is in general.

I repeat, the team is loaded with talent. LOADED. But the deciding factor will be there’s nothing to them. It’s a coaching approach as cheesy as waving towels on the sidelines to singing “Lean On Me” with their arms around each other in the post-game lockeroom.

With a once in a lifetime player, this team can go 14-0 with A LOT of luck. Without him, this coaching staff is a solid 7-5 producer. But they won’t even sniff that margin this year.

For Auburn, here is all you need to know:

Utah State – W 33-16
Mississippi State – L 41-22
@Clemson – L 34-13
Florida Atlantic – W 29-14
@South Carolina – L 38-10
@Arkansas – L 35-0
Florida – L 24-13
@LSU – L 28-9
Ole Miss – L 24-20
@Georgia – L 31-3
Samford – W 35-13
Alabama – L 35-10

Auburn becomes the first BCS Champ in history to fail to reach a bowl game the next year, and the Tiger faithful are forced to focus on an even more pitiful basketball team this December/January.

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