Weird question: does Alabama actually play better away from home?
I'm basing this on absolutely no facts or figures whatsoever. I'm basing this on nothing, actually, except what I can remember off the top of my head.
And what I remember off the top of my head is Alabama playing better away from Tuscaloosa.
For the last 10 years or so, I recall 'Bama hosting big games at Bryant-Denny. How many of those games do I remember winning? Three, actually. Here they are:
• 1999: Alabama 19, Mississippi St. 7. The Bullies were undefeated and ranked seventh, I think — this game cemented the SEC West for Mike DuBose's team, a sentence that's so ridiculous, I can't even read it without chuckling.
• 2005: Alabama 31, Florida 0. Needs no explanation.
• 2005: Alabama 6, Tennessee 3. Arguably the high point for the Mike Shula era. Actually, I don't even really think it's arguable.
What else is left? Alabama hasn't beaten Auburn at home since 1998 (and that was in Birmingham). Alabama hasn't beaten LSU at home since '99. Georgia's won twice in Tuscaloosa this decade. Tennessee won here in '01 and '03. Hell, even Mississippi State has won here this decade.
On the other hand, here are the list of impressive road wins in that same span:
• 1999: Alabama 40, Florida 39
• 2001: Alabama 31, Auburn 7
• 2002: Alabama 31, Arkansas 12
• 2002: Alabama 34, Tennessee 14
• 2002: Alabama 31, LSU 7
• 2005: Alabama 37, South Carolina 14
• 2005: Alabama 13, Texas Tech 10 (Cotton Bowl)
That trend has carried over into this season — Alabama's best performances have come against Clemson, Arkansas and Georgia, all of them on the road. They've stumbled at home in flaccid victories over Tulane, Kentucky and Ole Miss, and didn't exactly blow the doors off Western Kentucky, either.
Does that mean anything for this Saturday in Knoxville? I have no idea.
My dad contributes the following, however: "If we play well this weekend, I say we wear white every week." So there's that.
Anyway, I owe you some links, so here they be:
— For Alabama-Tennessee week, there's nowhere better to be than the 3rd Saturday in Blogtober. Here's their retrospective on the history of the game.
— Everybody breathe with me here: Terrence Cody's going to be OK, in a week or two. Won't have him this week, though, and that's a concern.
— Per Deadspin: no babies in Neyland. Just saying.
— One more note from last Saturday: somehow, Mike Johnson got tabbed SEC OL of the Week, despite doing a pretty poor job from what I could see in Section E. Whatever
— From elsewhere in the sports world: Dr. Sat. takes on the country's disillusioned: Peter King warns of labor strife down the road; and, of course, Couch Slouch talks bowling.