Saturday, December 29, 2007

Independence Bowl Preview

Colorado vs. Alabama Dec. 30, 8 p.m. ESPN
Shreveport, La.
Line: Alab - 3.5, 51.5

Alabama Crimson Tide (6-6, 4-4)
Did you hear Alabama hired Nick Saban last off season? Despite his $4 million dollar salary, he did not better than Mike Shula only matching the 6 wins from last year. Some would consider this season even more disappointing considering the 4 straight losses down the stretch after the Tide were in contention for the SEC West. Back to back 6-6 seasons get you a return trip to Shreveport.
Best Win: vs Tenn 41-17
Worst Loss: vs La-Monroe 14-21
Record vs Bowl Teams: 3-5
Schedule Strength: T-10th
HC Saban Record in Bowls: 4-5

Colorado Buffaloes (6-6, 4-4)
In Dan Hawkins second year, the Buffaloes are bowling again. Colorado played a difficult non-conference schedule and only became bowl eligible on the last week of the season.
Best Win: vs Oklahoma 27-24
Worst Loss: @ Kansas St 20-47
Record vs Bowl Teams: 2-4
Schedule Strength: 30th
HC Hawkins Record in Bowls: 2-2

Alabama Offense:
This unit should try not to mess it up this game like they have down the stretch. RB Terry Grant is the main horse in the backfield, but he had a better first half of the season than second half. QB John Parker Wilson is not enemy #1 in Tuscaloosa, but he is close to it because of his turnovers in key spots. Wilson will throw it all over the field and he does have some big play WRs in Keith Brown and DJ Hall who need to step up this game.

Colorado Defense:
You wouldn't know Colorado was fielding a defense by the way they rank. The Buffaloes opponents average over 4 ypc on the ground and Colorado ranks 101st in pass defense. Still, this defense is used to playing passing teams and could take advantage of poor play by Wilson.

Colorado Offense:
RB Hugh Charles is the horse the Buffaloes ride. Charles finished the season strong with a 169 yard performance in the final regular season game. Quarterback Cody Hawkins, Dan's son, is getting better, but has still thrown 15 INTs on the season.

Alabama Defense:
Despite the troubles on offense, the Crimson Tide defense fielded a good unit this year. The defense has 19 picks on the year and could harass Hawkins with their 3-4 defensive scheme. The run defense is led by DE Wallace Gilberry who has over 20 tackles for loss on the year.

I think this swings way in the favor of Colorado. Saban is looking to next year as rumors are discussing who he will 'invite" back and who doesn't fit his system and will move on. After the LSU game, this Crimson Tide team came out very flat the next two games. After all the turmoil Colorado has been through the last 5 years, they are glad just to be here.

Alabama has more talent and the better X's and O's coach, but Hawkins is more focused on this game and cares more about finishing this season; Saban wants to move to Spring Practice and all the hype that will bring again with a highly ranked recruiting class coming in. Colorado stubs its toe a few times, but overcomes those with emotion to win this game.

Colorado 31 Alabama 27
Colorado Wins, Covers, Over

The $4 Million Kiss

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