(Source: Rick Karle/WBRC)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) –
The following is a commentary blog from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
The leaves have turned color and a new president will be elected early next week.
But while changes continue to surround us, one thing will remain the same come Saturday: The Tide and the Tigers will win their big SEC football games.
How do I know? I put a call into Karlac the Magnificent, who somehow in his all-seeing, all-knowing way, continues to correctly pick winners as well as precise scores.
So with a tip of the hat to the late Johnny Carson, allow me to totally rip off his shtick and give you Karlac’s correct answers to the following questions:
The Answer: Les Miles
The Question: How far would the Crimson Tide have to travel if this game was held in Tuscaloosa?
Yes, this big game will be held in Baton Rouge, and the Tigers will be coached by Big Ed Orgeron, who has no plans to be an opera singer.
This guy’s rough and raspy voice echoes his football philosophy: Games are won with great players and an undescribed toughness.
It looks like this one could leave a mark on players from both teams. It’s a good thing that Karlac has a photographic memory, as he can tell you all about past trends while somehow arriving at an exact score.
Here’s what he wants you to know:
This Alabama-LSU rivalry has been a series of streaks- in fact since 1997, the series stands at 10-10. Take a look:
- 2012-2015: Alabama (5-0)
- 2010-2011: LSU (2-0)
- 2008-2009: Alabama (2-0)
- 2003-2007: LSU (5-0)
See what I mean? And speaking of streaks, Nick Saban is certainly enjoying one of his own.
Not only has he beaten the Tigers the last five years, but look at what he’s done as he’s led the Crimson Tide to the nation’s longest win streak:
- A nation-best 20 straight wins, the longest win streak in the Saban UA era
- The current streak is the third longest in UA history (Bryant and Stallings tied at 28 straight)
- Bama has outscored opponents 738-276 over the course of the win streak
Can the LSU Tigers possibly stop the streak? Well sure, but here’s why Karlac says it won’t happen:
Ed Orgeron took to the podium this week to accurately say that the key to the game is his offensive line giving quarterback Danny Etling time in the pocket.
Karlac’s memo to Big Ed: Good luck with that! While Etling is completing 60 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1129 yards and 7 TD’s the new-look Bama defensive secondary is going to have a field day.
Minkah Fitzpatrick will pick off an Etling pass from his new safety position and return it for a score.
Jonathan Allen will actually be wearing a Superman cape when he flies through the air in the second quarter to sack Etling, resulting with the blitzing Marlon Humphrey scooping and scoring from 32 yards.
But what about star LSU running back Leonard Fournette?
After rushing for a meager 31 yards in Tuscaloosa last season, this young man has been waiting a full year to show the world that he has what it takes against the nation’s to rush defense.
While Fournette has burst back upon the scene after an ankle injury with a superb 284 rushing yards against Ole Miss, it’s not going to happen against the Crimson Tide.
The only person in America who may have a worse weekend is Anthony Weiner: Karlac says that Fournette will rush for 88 yards and a score as the Bama “D” will hold LSU to 98 rushing yards.
Why Karlac’s praise of the Crimson Tide defense? Take a look at the SEC’s sack leaders, where three Bama stars stand in the top ten:
- 1st LSU’s Arden Key (8)
- 2nd Bama’s Tim Williams (7)
- 4th Bama’s Jonathan Allen (6)
- 9th Bamas Ryan Anderson (5)
While Ed Orgeron has done his best to open the LSU playbook, Karlac cannot see stud receiver D.J. Chark seeing many balls thrown his way.
The Bama interior line will pressure Etling so effectively that the Tigers will turn one dimensional.
That will make it easier for Bama to shut down Fournette and leave the LSU coaching brain trust scratching their collective heads.
And the Alabama offense? Look for Damien Harris to run for 123 yards and a score, Bo Scarbrough for 56 yards and a score, and Jalen Hurts 99 yards and a score.
Adam Griffith will add a 43 yard field goal and the nation’s #1 team will roll.
The final: Karlac says 31-17 Alabama
The Answer: Brick House
The Question: What will the Commodores be facing Saturday morning?
With all due respect to Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb and quarterback Kyle Shurmur, the Auburn defense will be making life miserable for the ‘Dores.
The one concern for Auburn DC Kevin Steele is the Tiger’s pass defense.
Last week against Ole Miss, Auburn surrendered 465 passing yards and three TD’s as Chad Kelly threw it 59 times.
The good news: Kyle Shurmer? I know Chad Kelly, and you, my friend, are no Chad Kelly (sorry, I have politics on my brain).
Karlac insists the Tigers will hold Vandy to 111 rushing yards and no scores (Auburn has gone five straight games without allowing a rushing touchdown).
Tre’ Williams will have a scoop and score, and Montravius Adams will sack Shurmer three times.
The Auburn offense? The nation’s third-leading rushing attack will continue to roll.
Karlac says the Tigers will rush for 411 yards, thus improving the SEC’s top ground game to nearly 315 rushing yards per game.
And tailback Kamryn Pettway? “The Diesel” will rush for 241 yards, this topping his career mark set a week ago.
And why not? He’s been topping his previous marks for the last month- take a look:
Rushing Yards Per Game for Pettway:
- 169 vs Miss State
- 192 vs Arkansas
- 236 vs Ole Miss
- ??? vs Vanderbilt
Do the math, my friend: Pettway has chalked up 597 yards in his last three games- that’s an average of 199 yards a game.
Pettway leads the SEC in rushing and shows no signs of slowing down.
And the under-appreciated Sean White? He happens to be completing nearly 70 percent of his passes while leading the SEC in pass efficiency.
His 13 yard scamper for a first down last weekend in Oxford reminded opposing DC’s that despite any shortcomings he does have, his running ability is indeed capable of absorbing an additional tackler.
So how does this one play out on offense?
Pettway will score twice. Kerryon Johnson will find a pylon out of the Wildcat formation for a second quarter score, and Tony Stevens will return from injury with a TD catch.
Throw in a late fourth quarter score from “Aubie” and the Tigers will roll.
And one more thing: If there is any doubt that Gus Malzahn wins when his offense clicks, take a look at his career record vs points scored per game:
- When scoring 20 points of more Malzahn is 32-6
- When scoring 30 points or more Malzahn is 27-5
- When scoring 40 points of more Malzahn is 16-2
Karlac says that Malzahn may as well visit Waffle House for breakfast on Saturday as he can carbo load before the 11 a.m. kick.
This one’s going to be a blowout, as the Tigers ground game will roll. Does Lionel Ritchie sing “Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over"?
The final: Karlac says 35-13 Auburn
I hope Karlac didn’t spoil your weekend by telling you what exactly will go down on Saturday. Just do your best to enjoy the game.
Oh, and do you want to know who will be voted in as president next Tuesday? Karlac told me something about hanging chads…
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