November 10, 2005
ATLANTA (AP) -- If ever a game was a strong candidate to end in a
scoreless tie, this would be it.
Since college football invoked overtime to prevent any ties,
there will never be another scoreless tie.
The unbeaten fourth-ranked Crimson Tide leads the nation in
scoring defense, and hasn't allowed a touchdown in their last three
LSU's scoring defense (just under 14 a game) doesn't approach
Alabama's 8.2 points allowed per game, but the Tigers still have an
outstanding defense and the way Alabama's offense has performed
recently, a shutout would definitely be possible.
The fifth-ranked Tigers could get back into the SEC West title
picture with a victory, a crown it would secure if they also took
care of Ole Miss and Arkansas down the November stretch _ games in
which LSU will be solidly favored.
Alabama remains in the driver's seat in the West, but closes
with its two toughest games of the year. Auburn will be next on the
agenda for the Crimson Tide.
LSU is a 3-point favorite, something difficult for many SEC
followers to comprehend since the Tide has dominated the series
with a 43-20-5 lead.
The Tigers have been the more dominant team in recent years,
winning four of the last five meetings, including two in a row in
Tuscaloosa. The visiting team has won six of the last nine games.
"This is a game that has been looming on the horizon for some
time," LSU coach Les Miles said. "This will be a great week. Our
kids are excited to prepare for it. "We'll be a little more juiced
about it. In our meetings the players will be quieter. At practice
they'll work at a faster pace. Their attention to detail will be
"Our team has found a way to win nine games now," Tide coach
Mike Shula said. "They're doing what you're asking of them. That
to me is the most important thing above anything else. You've just
got to find a way to win the 10th game and whatever happens after
LSU hasn't been in a game involving two teams ranked in the top
five since Billy Cannon's 89-yard punt return beat Ole Miss 7-3 way
back in 1959. The home team won that game. The home team will win
this one, too. Alabama 5-3.
Elsewhere around the SEC this weekend, with Mississippi State
having an open date:
Arkansas (plus 1) at Mississippi: These two teams have only one
conference victory between them, that going to the Rebels, who beat
Kentucky. Darren McFadden will give the Rebels plenty of problems,
but not enough to lift the Hogs over the top. Ole Miss 24-21.
No. 15 Auburn (plus 3) at No. 9 Georgia: The 109th meeting
between these cats and dogs will keep the winner in contention for
a berth in the SEC championship game. With D.J. Shockley returning
at quarterback for Georgia, the Dogs figure to be in position to
win. It must be noted, though, that the Tigers have won 17 of 26
games in Athens. This time the home field "advantage" works for
the Bulldogs. Georgia 28-24.
No. 12 Florida (minus 4½) at South Carolina: The head ball coach
gets to see the Gators from the other sideline for the first time.
Steve Spurrier makes light of his first meeting with his alma mater
where he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy and later spent a dozen
successful season as its coach. He was 12-0 against Carolina while
at Florida. Seems like nothing changes, except the winning coach in
this series. Florida 21-17.
Kentucky (plus 13) at Vanderbilt: Jay Cutler and the Commodores
will have to win their last two games to qualify for a bowl. This
week the Wildcats become victim No. 5. Will struggling archrival
Tennessee become No. 6 a week later? Stay tuned. Vanderbilt 27-13.
Memphis (plus 19) at Tennessee: The Vols (3-5) have lost four
games in a row and will have to win out to avoid their first losing
record since 1988. The key will be stopping DeAngelo Williams, the
Tiger star who leads the nation in rushing with 184.5 yards per
game. No one has rushed for 100 yards this year against the Vols,
who own an 18-1 series lead. Tennessee 21-7.
Last week's totals: 5-1 straight, 2-2 vs. spread; for year:
55-12 straight, 29-30 vs. spread.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)