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Sunday, October 23, 2005

University of Alabama football-Week 8

Damn, I'm glad I got home early enough to catch the last few minutes of the first half. I wish I'd've been at Bryant-Denny Stadium yesterday afternoon. The final score was 6-3, with the Tide maintaining a perfect record of 7-0, but the scoreboard does no justice to what was happening on the field. It was games like yesterday's that shows exactly why the Southeastern Conference is the best conference in all of Division I-A football. This was not a game that was won by yards, but by inches. Tennessee played an excellent game, and against most other opponents, that would've been good enough, but the game was really decided on just two plays. The first play came in the third quarter, when 'Bama punted from deep inside their own territory. Tennessee's Lucas Taylor fumbled a punt around midfield and 'Bama recovered, eventually leading to the first points in the game at the close of the third quarter.

Tennessee tied things up with a field goal of their own with 11:52 to go in the fourth quarter, a play set up by a kickoff return to the Tennessee 46. The brutal fight continued until, with 5:08 left in the game, Tennessee looked to score on an excellent short pass on 3rd and Goal from the 'Bama 15. Tennessee's Cory Anderson was a scant yard or two from the end zone when 'Bama's Roman Harper got his helmet on the ball and popped it out like a cork. The ball rolled out of the end zone for a touchback and giving 'Bama the ball on their own 20. From there, a 43-yard pass to DJ Hall on 3rd and 8 and excellent time management led to the Tide's kicker, Jamie Christiansen, scoring a game-winning field goal for the second week in a row.

Tennessee falls to 3-3 (1-3 in the SEC), ending their season for all intents and purposes. The only reason they're in the top 25 is the fact that their three losses came to Top 10 teams (Florida, who had been ranked in the top 10 at the time of their meeting; Georgia, who is currently undefeated and ranked 4th in the nation, and 'Bama, also undefeated and currently ranked 5th in the nation). They face 57th-ranked South Carolina for yet another in-conference game next week, to be followed the next week by a battle against the 9th-ranked Notre Dame. The only importance of any games in Tennessee's future is to see if they can eke out a bid in a minor bowl. Their major bowl hopes died this week, and because of that, I'm very, very happy.

Alabama jumps to 7-0 (5-0 in the SEC), continuing their hopes for a national title and further illustrating why the BCS is a bad idea. Two of the top five teams in the nation are in the SEC, in different regions of the conference, and if things continue as they are, they will have to face each other for the conference title. One will emerge victorious, while the other will probably still get a strong bowl bid. Either way, if the winner is undefeated, there's still a good chance that they will be cheated out of the national title race for a second year in a row. The next two games are against the 105th-ranked Utah State and the 82nd-ranked Mississippi State, leading up to the vastly important games against LSU and the regular season ender against Auburn at the Iron Bowl. From there, they'll probably face Georgia at the SEC Championship Game, assuming things continue on their current course. At this point, the main thing that is certain is that there's still one hell of a lot of good football to come. Roll Tide Roll!!!

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