Independence Bowl Preview: Alabama vs. Colorado

PetroSun Independence Bowl
Dec. 30, 5 p.m. PST
Alabama (6-6) vs. Colorado (6-6)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Payout: $1,100,000
Spread: Alabama – 3.5

2007 didn’t go the way Alabama had hoped when they signed Nick Saban to that monster contract under a cloud of scrutiny nearly a year ago. Losing the final four games of the season is inexcusable at Alabama, losing to Louisiana-Monroe usually brings out the pink-slip. The Crimson Tide will get measurably better under Saban eventually but right now their 6-6 record has some enraged. Losing to Colorado can’t happen. Two consecutive losing seasons for the Tide and I’m afraid the state might implode.

With a month to prepare, who would you rather have coaching your team than Nick Saban? He’s got a talented team that oddly didn’t show up down the stretch. It’s almost as if the close loss to LSU unraveled the team. If the team is back on track, they’re one of the best teams in the SEC and there’s no reason they can’t blow Colorado out of the water.

When the Alabama offense was clicking early in the year, it was a thing of beauty. Quarterback John Parker Wilson and wide receiver DJ Hall put on an aerial show while freshman running back Terry Grant opened the season with 400 yards in his first three games. They should have had plenty of time to think about what they were doing wrong to regroup and bring back the magic they had in the early season. Colorado’s defense has talent but it won’t be nearly consistent enough to keep Alabama out of the end zone. It will be too easy for the Tide to scheme around linebacker Jordon Dizon and cornerback Terence Wheatley. Defensive tackles George Hypolite and Brandon Nicolas need to be disruptive in the backfield if they’re going to have any chance in this game.

Colorado hasn’t been relevant for a while, but they’re getting there once again. Head coach Dan Hawkins is rebuilding the program from scratch. His offense will be one of the best in the Big 12 in the near future. His son Cody, just a freshman and only 5’11, is the quarterback. By the time he leaves Colorado they will be contending for the Big 12 crown. He has been asked to throw the ball a lot this season and it has seen mixed results. Against an athletic Alabama secondary the windows will tighten up and he has to be concerned with turning the ball over.

Ball security will be important for a Buffaloes team that looks slightly overmatched. If they can establish the run and keep the ball in the hands of running back Hugh Charles, maybe they can wear down the Tide defense. He’s really only seen significant action in nine games this year and has run for 989 yards and 8 TD’s. The Tide will most likely stack the box against him and force Hawkins to pass. If he throws any interceptions the game will rest with the Alabama offense.

There’s really no telling how they will react after the late season collapse and long layoff but when the Tide are on their game they can play with the best of them. The bowl season is almost a separate entity from the regular season so we may see a completely different Alabama team from the final few weeks of the year. Remember they only lost by a combined 10 points to Georgia and LSU, the conference’s two BCS bids. While Colorado definitely has a chance to put up some points on offense, if their defense can’t come through with a stellar all around performance, Alabama will roll.

Prediction:
Alabama 35 – Colorado 24

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2 Responses

  1. How many damn bowl games are there??

    I’m almost all bowled out here.

    Cam T

  2. 32 buddy, get used to it.

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