Friday, December 28, 2007

Independence Bowl Preview

Most previews you will see out there will talk about how last year it was three straight losses, Shula, and the Independence Bowl. Followed by, this year four straight loses, Saban, and the Independence Bowl. They say $4 million dollars and a year later, the Tide is stuck in the same place. I think there is a a lot of difference.

If you haven't been following recruiting, the Tide has jumped to the number two spot on the Team Recruiting Ranking. Big commitments have made their decision, and there are still a few to come. Some discipline problems have been taken care of. And, if you looked at yesterdays post, some relaxing and enjoying the bowl atmosphere is upon us.

With all that said, let's begin the preview. Colorado will line up against the Tide in the 32nd Annual PetroSun Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Crimson Tide (6-6) will try to avoid their first back-to-back losing seasons in 45 years, while Colorado (6-6) looks to avoid doing the same for the first time in 22 years. Looking at those records, you might think that the match up is quite even. The team averages and ranks below make it almost seem like identical.

The Tide's offense had played well through the first nine games, averaging 31.8 points and 395.9 yards while committing only 11 turnovers. But in its last three games, Alabama scored just 12.0 points, averaged 302.7 yards and turned the ball over seven times. John Parker Wilson was one of the main culprits for the Tide's inconsistency with throwing 5 picks and only 1 touchdown in the last three games.

The Buffaloes were expected to be rebuilding for a second consecutive year under coach Dan Hawkins, and that appeared to be the case following a 1-2 start. But then Colorado ran off three impressive victories, including what was thought to be a program-defining 27-24 upset of then-No. 3 Oklahoma on Sept. 29. Redshirt Freshman, Cody Hawkins looks almost similar to JPW with just a slight bit of more yards, 4 more td's and int's. Hughe Charles will be the ground game while Scotty McKnight will be Hawkins main go to guy.

Obviously, the Buffaloes don't have a receiver as good as D.J. Hall and probably not a db to cover him. We are going to need the offense to come out and establish a running game. JPW, is going to have to make smart throws and just be consistent. The defense is going to have to come out and make it known that they are playing an SEC team. We need to get to the football quick and have as many four and outs as possible. Last I heard, Arenas said he was about 80%, that's good enough for me.

Alabama is no stranger to playing in Shreveport. Aside from their 2006 Independence Bowl loss, the Tide also played in the bowl in 2001, knocking off Iowa State 14-13. Colorado and Alabama have met twice, both in bowls. The Buffaloes won the 1969 Liberty Bowl 47-33, while the Tide won the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl 30-25. This will be the ninth Big 12-SEC match up since the Independence Bowl aligned with those two conferences in 1998. The SEC took the first six meetings before Missouri and Oklahoma State won the last two in Shreveport.


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