Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning
Before we get to the news in Alabama, spare a moment for Florida and the rest of the Southern East Coast, enduring one of the most powerful storms in Atlantic hurricane history. Category 4 storms are nothing to be flippant about, and my thoughts and prayers are with those in Matthew’s path.
Something must be said, about the University of Florida’s decision to cancel the home game against LSU scheduled for Saturday. This is the right decision, in the end, but the Florida athletic department was entirely to reactive to the situation, refusing to make the difficult decisions that the storm mandated as early as the end of last week. Waiting until Thursday to cancel the game puts the league office in an untenable position. As Butch Jones already noted, canceling the game gives Florida an advantage over Tennessee on the road to the SEC Championship Game, and rescheduling the game may be entirely impractical. Florida had the opportunity to discuss a neutral site game, if it didn’t want to move the game to Baton Rouge. Instead, it waited until the only option it was left was canceling a game, or forcing LSU to buy its way out of a home game on a short week before a trip to College Station.
For a rundown of how this decision – or lack thereof – could affect Alabama, listen to SEC Country’s latest Alabama podcast. On to the game.
The media predicts…
Despite all the talk about Arkansas being primed for the upset, it appears nearly everybody is taking Alabama.
- Mark Edwards of the Anniston Star is taking the Crimson Tide.
- The Sports Illustrated staff is all for Alabama.
- ESPN’s SEC crew is unanimous for the Tide as well.
- Local sports analyst John Longshore takes Alabama to cover, but…
- Most of the CBSsports panel is taking Arkansas to cover but Alabama to win.
- Bleacher Report’s expert panel has Alabama in a narrow victory.
Final poll numbers for y’all show 47 percent of readers think Alabama will win but Arkansas will cover, while 38 percent want Alabama and the points. The betting line has held steady at Alabama (-14).
- From Aaron Suttles at The Tuscaloosa News, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s high school coaching career was worth more than a bit part on MTV’s Two-A-Days.
- And from his colleague Tommy Deas, Arkansas has figured out how to compete with Alabama.
- From AL.com’s Rainer Sabin, tight end O.J. Howard is biding his time while Arkansas TE Jeremy Sprinkle draws all the attention.
- Matt Zenitz has a cheat sheet for Saturday’s game.
- AL.com rewinds Nick Saban’s radio show, including his hatred of accordions.
- SEC Country’s Marq Burnett has his five keys to the game and a breakdown courtesy of SEC Country’s Arkansas beat writer, Jason Kersey.
- Jalen Hurts may be talented, but he’s not accurate, writes SEC Country senior analyst Oliver Connelly.
- Connelly also offered four ways for Arkansas to beat Alabama.
- Roll Bama Roll breaks down Arkansas’s offense and defense.
Around the Capstone
- Men’s basketball landed two massive in-state commitments.
- Women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry is pleased with the start to practice.
- Soccer dropped a 2-1 decision at home against Ole Miss on Thursday night.
- Alabama softball ranks No. 11 on the national all-academic list.
What to watch
This is probably another baseball night. Maybe keep an eye on Clemson at Boston College? (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
- Noon ET – No. 20 Oklahoma at Texas (FS1). Jumping right into it Saturday with the Red River Shootout. Somehow, Charlie Strong is coaching for his job, despite Texas being officially back just a matter of weeks ago. This game shouldn’t get boring, but there’s also Auburn at Mississippi State (ESPN) to hold your attention.
- 3:30 – No. 9 Tennessee at No. 8 Texas A&M – CBS. Probably the biggest game of the day, and the biggest determining factor for the Team Who Would Be King. With the kind of season Tennessee’s having, anything could happen in College Station. No. 6 Houston at Navy also kicks off at 3 p.m. on CBSSN if you like points.
- 7 p.m. – No. 1 Alabama at No. 16 Arkansas – ESPN. This obviously is your most important game for the week, but the clash of the evolving Alabama style and Arkansas’s grind-it-out style promises to make this an interesting battle even to the neutral fan. As I’ve said all week, Alabama can’t afford another slow start.
- 7:30 p.m. – The game to watch in this slot is No. 5 Washington at Oregon. There’s a changing of the guard at hand in the Pac-12, and what better way to signify it than Washington beating down Oregon on Fox.
- 8 p.m. – Assuming nothing goes horribly wrong, No. 23 Florida State plays at No. 10 Miami on ABC. The weekend of shifting power dynamics continues: Mark Richt is rising at Miami while Jimbo struggles at Florida State.
- 10 p.m. – Arizona at No. 24 Utah (FS1). It’s not the most important Pac-12 game of the day, but it’s the most #Pac12AfterDark of them.
- 10:30 p.m. – Settle in for a nightcap of Wazzu at No. 15 Stanford on ESPN. Washington State’s not the pushover it once was, and Stanford struggles mightily when Christian McCaffrey is off the field in short-yardage situations. An upset, perhaps, is brewing. But mostly it’ll be the best game on.
As for my prediction, I’m taking Alabama and the points this week. Good luck and be safe this weekend.