From the Other Sideline – Alabama

Ell (Twitter) is a 1998 graduate from the University of Alabama. He and a couple of friends run the Bama Sports Report where they try and keep the discussion civil and the analysis sharp. No one at the Bama Sports Report has ever called the Finebaum Show. Note: this was his version of his bio. I can not confirm or deny any of these claims.

1. First off, do you own one of those houndstooth baseball hats? If not, good. If so, those things are hideous you know?

No, I don’t own any of those houndstooth baseball hats. I don’t think they’re necessarily hideous – I’ve made plenty of poor fashion choices myself – but you wouldn’t ever catch me dead in one. Plus, in all seriousness, I have a gigantic head. Generally, only visors fit me. But even if they did fit… no.

2. Aside from stopping Cam, what is the Tide’s major concerns for this game?

Aside from stopping Cam, the most pressing concern for the Tide is post-victory dinner plans. Auburn goes as Cam goes. It’s no secret really. Michael Dyer and Darvin Adams are nice pieces to have on offense, and Nick Fairley is a beast. But mostly, if Cam is stopped (or, more realistically, contained), Alabama wins.

3. Who are two generally unknown players that Auburn should look out for and why?

CJ Moseley at linebacker is a true freshman and already terrifying. His playing time has been slowly increasing all season, and he’s in the regular rotation now. I don’t know if he’s unknown on the Plains, but after Saturday, he won’t be for sure.

On the offensive side of the ball, I’d expect someone from the group of receivers that aren’t Julio Jones to step up and make themselves known. Most folks know Marquis Maze, but Darius Hanks, Kevin Norwood or Kenny Bell are the candidates to step up and make themselves part of Iron Bowl history Friday against a porous Auburn secondary.

4. Where do you expect the teams to struggle/excel against each other?

I’m fearful that Cam Newton will find much success running the ball. If Newton can run effectively, that will open up a Pandora’s Box of terrifying offensive options for the Tigers.

I’m nearly as equally fearful Alabama will find it throwing the ball. The best passing yardage day that Greg McElroy had all season came in a loss at South Carolina. Alabama needs to run the ball successfully, keep Auburn off the field and score points to win. If the passing game clicks, the coaches seem to fall in love with it. To the Tide’s detriment.

5. What are the best and worst case scenarios for Alabama on Friday?

Best case scenario is Cam Newton ineligibility! Sorry, I had to throw that in just for pure meanness.

Actually, the best case is that Alabama is able to contain (at some level) Cam Newton, the Bama offense has a big day on the ground and throws the ball well to boot. If that happens, big win for the Tide, and happy happy tailgating post game.

Worst case scenario is Cam runs wild, McElroy throws a couple of picks to the otherwise hapless Auburn secondary and Ingram and Richardson aren’t able to get anything moving. Mostly, Newton running wild in our secondary is my nightmare. Like seriously, wake up with cold sweats screaming nightmare.

6. What is your prediction/analysis for the game?

I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen Friday. I have a sneaking feeling that we’re not going to see a 10 point game. It’ll either be a VERY tight game (inside of 4 points) or a huge blowout by someone. If it’s not inside of one score, it’s not going to be inside of 3 scores.

Both teams have played games this year that lead me to believe they’re capable of being blown out. The South Carolina game for the Tide, and the Mississippi State game for Auburn.

The flip side is they’ve both played games that make it look like they could do the blowing out as well. Tennessee and Mississippi State for Alabama, and well, everything else for Auburn. Did I mention that the offense scares me?

7. Who is your favorite Auburn player and coach and why?

Although I’d love to say Eric Ramsey and Terry Bowden and leave it at that, I won’t.

You have to be a communist not to like Bo Jackson. He’s always seemed like a  great guy, and obviously an unbelievable athlete. On top of all that, the most memorable thing he did in the Iron Bowl is run the wrong way, so I don’t have any reason to detest him.

I never liked Pat Dye when he was at Auburn, but I do have some grudging respect for him now when I listen to him on Finebaum. As opposed to the former coach that Tide fans have on the show, he actually watches football and likes it. Gene Stallings has always been a malcontent, now that he doesn’t even watch the games, he’s nearly intolerable.

And any guy who can drink as much as Pat Dye clearly does and live as long as he has earns my respect (again, sorry – had to throw a shot in there).