Bama Sports Report has a great article up about last night's exhibition game against Augusta St. It was an ugly game that I actually followed online all night. This team has a ways to go. The Tide won 61-55. Of course, Augusta St isn't a crappy team, so that helps, but we still should have destroyed these guys. Coach Grant is gonna need a lot of fan support this year, same way Coach Saban did. Gotta tear it down to build it up.
Ok, now on to Mississippi State.
Alabama opened in Vegas as a 14 point favorite. That dropped to 13 almost immediately, and now is down to 12.5 in some places.
Bama is 7-1 against the spread in their last 8 road/neutral site games. The only loss against the spread was last year at LSU in Baton Rouge. We all understand that one. In that span, we've covered against Clemson, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, and Ole Miss. Not too shabby competition. We didn't happen to lose any of those games either. Bama is 6-3 against the number this year, and Mississippi St is pretty good as well at 5-3. However, Miss St is 1-4 at home so far this year, with their only home win coming in the opener against Jackson St. In 7 of the last 9 years, this game has gone under the total. Could happen again this Saturday.
As far as stats go, here's the comparison --
Bottom line is this - Mississippi State is on the verge of being a really good team. The way to beat them is the way to beat other teams - do what you do, and do it correctly, and take advantage when the other team screws up. Wait for Tyson Lee to throw an interception. Wait for Anthony Dixon to drop the football, or one of their kick returners or something. Let them shoot themselves in the foot, and this could be a rout.
My guess is that the coaching staff will be very vanilla again in their schemes. As long as we execute and don't make mistakes ourselves, this should be a relatively simple game. Take the Tennessee game, for example. We've got the football with 3 minutes left at midfield and we're driving. As long as Ingram holds on to the football, we win by a final of something like 12-3, 15-3, whatever. Instead, we have to sweat out a nail-biter at the end. All because of one screw up. Don't make mistakes and we win this game by 3 touchdowns.
¶ 9:47 AM