Tag Archives: Vanderbilt

A final score prediction from a complete amateur

My pride is on life support. After starting the season with freakishly accurate score predictions, my crystal ball went hazy. The first two games of SEC play have humbled this once-cocky sports scribe. So I offer this seemingly-educated guess for today’s game with Vanderbilt. Take it with a grain of salt:

No, this isn’t the Vanderbilt of the last two seasons. It also isn’t the Commodore program of 1947-59 that lost just two of 12 games with the Tide. New coach James Franklin has the team headed in the right direction with a 30-7 pounding of Ole Miss last month. It dominated the Rebels and only a late turnover prevented a shutout.

That was impressive, but Vanderbilt is far from positioned to beat the second-ranked team on the road. The talent disparity is just too much to overcome the spunk and energy of an emerging program. It won’t be close for very long and Alabama should get a chance to throw some young talent out there for the second half.

Alabama 41, Vanderbilt 3

My increasingly poor picks from previous weeks:

Opp: prediction……actual … difference
Kent State: 45-7 ……….. 48-7 … 3 points
Penn State: 24-10……..27-11 … 4 points
North Texas: 52-3……..41-0 … 14 points
Arkansas: 27-17 ………..38-14 … 14 points
Florida: 27-20 …………..38-10 … 21 points
Vanderbilt: 41-3 ……….???

Just how improved is the Tide o-line?

The chirping boo birds were not so silent in their complaints of the Alabama offensive line after Week 1. Sacks, tackles in the backfield, miscommunications. A lot’s changed, players and coaches said. Here’s my game day feature:

TUSCALOOSA — Absent from glamour, the life of an offensive lineman is rarely rewarded but easily criticized.

The latter was the case after the first week of Alabama’s season. The rushing game was ineffective against a Kent State team far less talented than those in the SEC.

The Crimson Tide quarterbacks also were roughed up a few times.

Head coach Nick Saban wasn’t happy.

In the weeks since, Saban and his linemen agree the improvement has been enormous.

But how exactly do you quantify such progress? There is no spot for the line on the box score in Sunday morning’s paper, after all.

“We had a lot fewer negative plays,” Alabama left tackle Barrett Jones said. “That’s something you can see. Usually when there’s a negative play, it’s (because) someone missed an assignment or something happened along the front when we weren’t communicating or didn’t carry out our technique or something.

“We’ve had very few negative plays in this game. We had maybe some plays that were stopped for short yardage, but not many plays that were moving backwards. That’s something we’ve really improved on.”

Click here to read the rest.


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Saban talks Vandy, recruiting, emotions on SEC call

Alabama coach Nick Saban went only about seven minutes on today’s SEC media teleconference. Not as many questions as last week when it was closer to 12 minutes I believe. Here’s what was said:

  • Alabama respects Vanderbilt.
  • The Commodore defense is very opportunistic and their interception total is impressive.
  • On recruiting in Texas, Saban said Alabama dedicated another coach to the state last year before the Texas A&M expansion came up. I think he said this on an earlier teleconference, actually.
  • Back to the Vandy defense, Saban said the secondary does a good job of disguising looks and making it difficult on opposing offenses. (More on this in print later in the week).
  • There is a difference between emotional teams and those with competitive character, Saban said. Emotional teams have too many highs and lows that shouldn’t happen for top teams.


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Vandy coach: Alabama looks like an NFL team

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said he had a few conversions with friends coaching in the pros this week.

It sound like he expects Alabama, his Saturday opponent, will produce a few players who’ll see that next level.

“A couple of my NFL buddies called me last night and I said (Alabama’s) defense looks like an NFL team,” Franklin said. “Their offensive line looks like an NFL team. Their running backs look like an NFL team. They’re impressive. I think coach Saban’s done a great job of recruiting, of coaching. They have great schemes and fundamentals. Our guys are really excited.”

The Commodores come to Bryant-Denny Stadium for homecoming at 6 p.m., Saturday.


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Vegas doesn’t like Vandy on Saturday

Alabama was a little more than a field-goal favorite to beat Florida last Saturday. Of course it settled on a more healthy, 28-point margin in Gainesville.

That sports books in Las Vegas expect more of the same when Vanderbilt comes to town for homecoming.

As of midday Tuesday, the Crimson Tide is anywhere from a 28 1/2 to 30-point favorite to move to 6-0 this Saturday. This not your big brother’s Vanderbilt with a 3-1 record, but it isn’t your great-grandfather’s Commodores either.

Remember Vandy has just one win over the Tide since 1970 — that coming in 1984.

Click here to see all the various betting lines on VegasInsider.


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Avoiding the Arkansas/Florida hangover

Associated Press photo

Handling success was quite an issue for Alabama football last season. It was a year ago this week when the Tide went from undefeated defending champs to a staggering giant. This is what I wrote about the issue for today’s paper:

TUSCALOOSA — A video hit the Web on Monday afternoon of Alabama’s postgame locker room Saturday night. Fresh off a convincing 38-10 beating of Florida came a spirited singing of “Yea, Alabama.”

Moments earlier saw one of the louder celebratory exits from an opponent’s home field.

Emotion was thick.

Now what?

Coming off consecutive poundings of opponents ranked in the top 15 at the time, No. 2 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) faces three straight challenges of a different variety. Top-ranked LSU won’t visit Tuscaloosa until Nov. 5, so until then, the blinders are in place.

Vanderbilt (3-1, 1-1), up first Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium, has the only SEC win among the three teams remaining on Alabama’s October schedule. A road game at Ole Miss (2-3, 0-2) comes Oct. 15, followed by a visit from Tennessee (3-1, 0-1) a week later.

After crushing Arkansas 38-14 and beating Florida by four touchdowns, Alabama players have a chance to show they’ve learned how to handle success better than a year ago.

Click here to read the rest.


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Can Alabama recover in time for Ole Miss?

By the time Alabama meets Ole Miss at 3 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum, less than 48 hours would have passed since the final buzzer at Vanderbilt in a 81-77 loss.

So can the Crimson Tide have their sea legs back in time? Vote, it’s the American way.

Video of Vandy ending, 360 view of Memorial Gym

In case you missed it, Alabama lost an controversial 81-77 game at Vanderbilt last night. Quite a game in quite an environment, I must say.

But the ending was muddled by some borderline officiating. Check out this video of Anthony Grant giving referee Tim Higgins a piece of his mind after a timeout wasn’t (pardon the pun) granted.

Click here to see the questionable call that preceded it when JaMychal Green may or may not have stepped on the endline.

So what  does this mean for the potential for an at-large bid to the NCAA? It certainly would have been one of those signature road wins the committee likes. Click here to see an example of the sheet the NCAA uses when deciding the field of 68 courtesy of the stat junkie godsend Basketballstate.com.

Finally, check out this 360-degree view of Memorial Gym that I snapped after the game last night. Just click on the photo to enlarge it, then scroll to the right to get the panoramic effect.

There's nothing an iPhone can't do.

More panoramic photos found here.

Panoramic photos updated Feb. 11, 2011

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Alabama loses tough one at Vandy

Anthony Grant disapproves of officiating. (AP photo by Mark Humphrey)

There was no late-game magic for Alabama this Thursday night.

Vanderbilt grabbed an 81-77 win from the Tide to end its five-game winning streak that capped nine wins in 10 games.  It was the most  points Alabama scored in SEC play and second most overall with Providence’s 83 keeping the title.

The loss means the Memorial Gym losing streak extends to 11 games with the last win coming in 1990.

The end included a touch of controversy as JaMychal Green was called for stepping on the end line with 6 seconds left. Replays appeared to show he did not touch the stripe and coach Anthony Grant went bonkers.

What did he have to say about it after the game? You’ll have to buy a newspaper for that answer.

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You’re looking live at Memorial Gym

The coolest gym in the SEC

We’re 28 minutes from tipoff in snowy Nashville as Alabama tests its 7-1 SEC record and looks to end a 10-game losing streak in this building.

I will update as much as possible on Twitter. Just click here for that.

Alabama sets A-Day, homecoming dates

It’s never too early to mark the calendar for those all-important football dates. Alabama released two of note this afternoon.

A-Day is set for Saturday, April 16. Kickoff is tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m., but that could change if ESPN comes back to televise its third straight Alabama spring game.

Homecoming will be Oct. 8 when Vanderbilt comes to Bryant-Denny Stadium.