GameDay: All is quiet with the Tide on a bye, but some good games go on

In an anomoly, Alabama gets a bye the 2nd week of the college football season. Normally the break would tick me off. Afterall, we wait 9 months for football season to get here, and as soon as it does, bam! We get one game and have to wait.

But this year is different. Rarely does Alabama get a season-turning marquee game in the third week of the season. That game is usually reserved for the 1st weekend in November, with fans that smell like corn dogs yelling how they’re glad Nick Saban isn’t there anymore.

What’s more, rarely does the Tide have question marks at the point of attack on offense. Last week’s game provided more questions than answers on offense, with a brand new line facing an experienced VaTech defensive unit that will be among the best two or three Bama will face this season.

And rarely does the Tide have a revenge game to prepare for. Let’s face it, when you’ve only lost seven games in the last five years (three of those in 2010), these don’t come around very often. Afterall, we’re not Auburn, where dropping 9 in one year is commonplace.

I’m not a betting man, but history suggests that Bama will come out next Saturday in College Station like it’s been shot out of a canon. If you think preparation for this game really begins this coming Monday, as Alabama head coach Nick Saban said this week, you believe Cam Newton went to Auburn for free.

Next week will be epic; this weekend is the calm before the storm.

Last week I was 6-1, correctly calling:

• Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Predicted Bama 37-13, actual 35-10)
• Georgia vs. Clemson (Predicted Clemson 37-34, actual 38-35)
• Washington State vs. Auburn (Predicted Auburn 31-27, actual 31-24)
• Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky (Predicted WKU 41-30, actual 35-26)
• UAB vs. Troy (Predicted Troy 21-10, actual 34-31 in OT)
• TCU vs. LSU (Predicted LSU 30-14, actual 37-27)

And the lone loss:
• Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas (Predicted the upset, ULL 24-20, actual: Hogs 34-14)

This week there will be mild upsets, with two SEC teams falling to teams from the Sun Belt. And Lou Holtz will spit all over himself in talking up a game that used to mean something, but doesn’t anymore.

Western Kentucky @ Tennessee
Playing the role of Jessica Dorrell, Butch Jones will be at the wrong end of Bobby Petrino this Saturday. Vol fans are excited about their new coach and regime, primarily because it’s being led by a man not named Kiffen or Dooley. It is, however, being led by this guy…

Yep, that’s Tennessee head coach Butch Jones

Though ole Butch probably still knows how to play that thing, there won’t be much horn tooting in Neyland Stadium. Bobby Petrino is a good coach, and could take a group of nuns and make them contenders. And as the Hilltoppers top their second SEC team in successive weeks, I’ll watch chuckling, though glad both Auburn and Tennessee were too smug to take him when they had the chance.

Western Kentucky 38
Tennessee 28

Arkansas State @ Auburn
Down on the Plains Magic Malzahn continues to seek to find the cure to cancer, world hunger and peace in Syria through his mythical “Gus Malzhan offense®”. Most delusional Auburn fans (aren’t they all?) believe his brand of high school football is a magic elixir that can’t be overcome. Look for the Red Wolves to do just that, though look for more officiating mysteries to surface in the game in favor of the home team.

Arkanasas State 34
Auburn 29

South Carolina @ Georgia
Speaking of fanbases who have been snowed, Steven O. Spurrier owns Mark Richt…as do most coaches in big games against him. Everybody but Georgia fans know Richt’s ship has sailed, and that the milquetoast head coach isn’t the man he projects himself to be. I’m not saying he isn’t a good man. I am saying that a team’s play is a direct reflection of their head coach, and Georgia year in and year out is the most penalized and arrested team in the SEC. And antics where player celebration is celebrated…even sometimes planned…doesn’t suggest a regime built on the personal discipline that gets your team through tough games. Which is why the Gamecocks makes it four in a row.

South Carolina 29
Georgia 26

Notre Dame @ Michigan
Notre Dame vs. Michigan. Ah, the sound of it is magical rolling off the ole tongue. But there’s nothing magic about this game anymore as the ‘rivalry’ plays out in its last days. Look for Notre Dame to win, and Lou Holtz to immediately award them the national championship before the commercial break.

Notre Dame 17
Michigan 14

Florida @ Miami
Miami is a football program that begs for tight shots during its games so no one watching at home can see the throngs of empty seats in its stadium. I’m serious. You can fire a water balloon into the seats with a better than average shot that no one gets wet. Gator fans travel south better than they do north, so that fact will be different tomorrow with a preverbial home game for the Gators in Miami.

Florida 34
Miami 19

Texas @ BYU
Mack Brown may be the only coach in America more successful at pulling the wool over his fanbase’s eyes better than Mark Richt. Brown takes his underachieving Longhorns (every year, not just this) into Provo, Utah to face the fighting Mormons. With Texas’ superior talent, there is no way this should be a game, but somehow the Longhorns will make it one.

Texas 33
BYU 32

Sam Houston State @ Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel gets one more hall pass before facing the Tide next Saturday. Look for him to act like an ass with cameras rolling. Not sure if it’ll be another personal foul, but the safest bet on the planet is that he’ll do something stupid to make people talk about him.

Sam Houston State 20
Texas A&M 63

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