This Is Not 2010 Edition Of Tide

Nick Saban

There have been many comparisons of the 2010 situation for Alabama football, but the differences are greater than the similarities as Bama readies for its sixth game of the 2012 season.



Alabama will play at Missouri at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday in a Southeastern Conference game that will be televised by CBS.

As in 2010, Alabama is undefeated at 5-0 and has a 2-0 SEC record. As in 2010 the Crimson Tide is ranked number one in the nation and going on the road. As in 2010, Bama is coming off a national championship season. But in 2010 the Tide was going to a different Columbia – Columbia, S.C., to meet the nationally ranked Gamecocks. Everyone recognized that as a trap game, coming after a road trip to Arkansas and an emotional home win over Florida. This year's Bama is coming off an open date.

In 2010, South Carolina's Stephen Garcia had the best game he had ever had or would ever have and the Gamecocks defeated Alabama, one of three losses for the Crimson Tide that season.

This week is no comparison. Missouri is 3-3, including 0-3 in SEC games, and coming off a home loss to Vanderbilt. Moreover, the Tigers lost more than a game. Missouri will be without starting quarterback James Franklin and the offensive line has injury issues.

Like many of Bama's early 2012 games, this looked like a severe test in the pre-season; now, not so much. Bad weather is said to help the underdog, and there could be wind and rain. Faurot Field, though, has an artificial surface, which minimizes the affect.

Alabama came into the season with losing records against two opponents, 1-2 marks against Michigan and Missouri. The Tide evened the record against the Wolverines in the opening game and will do the same against the Tigers Saturday. Tide Coach Nick Saban is a former Kent State teammate of Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel and the two are friends, but sometimes it can't be helped. Alabama 42, Missouri 0.

We're off to another week of Flawless SEC Predictions. Okay, last week wasn't flawless, but who knew Arkansas could beat Auburn in Auburn? Well, maybe Mississippi knew. The Rebels have the Tigers for homecoming this week. We also missed the Florida win over LSU. It was a rare week when all three SEC Tigers lost, but at least we had picked the upset of Vanderbilt over Missouri.

So do we see more losses for Tigers this week? Yes (obviously) and no (with some trepedition).

The headline game of the week in the SEC and in the nation is in Baton Rouge, where it could be hot. LSU said that the heat in Gainesville last week contributed to the loss. Things could get hot for The Hat if the Tigers lose two in a row when LSU hosts South Carolina (7 p.m. CDT, ESPN). One naturally thinks of LSU when it comes to defense, but South Carolina is playing pretty good defense, too. And the Gamecocks get the edge in coaching and quarterback play. Still, we'll get on the Tigers' back one more week. LSU 23, South Carolina 20.

Auburn is in search of revival, hoping that some semblance of 2010 returns. It could be, though, that not even prayer is going to help a team with no offense and little defense against Ole Miss in Oxford (11:21 a.m., SEC Network). The Rebels may look longingly back to 2010, too, since that was the last season they won an SEC game (1-7 that year starting a streak of 16 SEC losses). Napoleon said God fights on the side with the most cannons. Most agree that God doesn't care who wins a football game and that Ole Miss has better artillery. Ole Miss 28, Auburn 7.

Florida is coming off a huge win over LSU that has propelled the Gators into the national conversation. Coach Will Muschamp had the task of turning attention from the win last week to this week's game at Vanderbilt (5 p.m. ESPNU). Vandy has played some pretty good games this year, a close loss to South Carolina and a win over Missouri. But pretty good won't get it for the Commodores. Florida 31, Vanderbilt 7.

Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley had hip surgery and will coach from the press box at Mississippi State Saturday (8 p.m. ESPN2). Could Dooley's coaching be any worse from upstairs than it is on the sideline? Probably not, but it won't be any better, either. The knock against Mississippi State as the Bulldogs have started the season 5-0 is that Mississippi State hasn't played anyone. That observation continues after this week. Mississippi State 31, Tennessee 24.

Texas A&M was scheduled to open the season against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, but the game was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac weather concerns. Who would have dreamed that when the two finally got together this weekend (8:15, ESPNU) that both would be averaging over 500 yards of offense per game. It's hard to go against Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel. Texas A&M 42, Louisiana Tech 31.

In a battle of lame duck coaches, Arkansas under John L. Smith hosts Kentucky under Joker Phillips (6 p.m. Fox Sports). The Razorbacks have momentum with a win over Auburn, and the Hogs also have offensive threats in quarterback Tyler Wilson and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, even though tailback Knile Davis has gone into a shell. Kentucky has the knowledge that basketball season is getting closer. Arkansas 31, Kentucky 14.

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