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40AS Non-Conference Game of the Week: Georgia at Alabama

Well folks, we're 0-for-3 in selecting games that actually turn out to be exciting. USC ruined any chances of that last week by being a whole lot better than Nebraska. But this week, we think we have found a game that may actually be close and fun to watch. But don't sue us if we're wrong...again. Here goes on #22 Georgia at #16 Alabama (AP). In case you didn't realize, we forgot to predict last week's final, and we kind of liked not being wrong. So this week we're introducing a new feature: predicting which game female ESPN play-by-play announcer Pam Ward will be calling. This week's guess seems pretty easy, it's gotta be Illinois @ Indiana.

Not necessarily-football-related reasons to like Georgia: Georgia's coach, Mark Richt, has quietly proven himself time and again to have what it takes to keep his team focused and ready through the brutal day-to-day grind that is the SEC regular season. The Bulldogs are 2-1, with their two wins coming over Oklahoma State and I-AA Western Carolina. The one loss came at home to an apprently much-improved South Carolina squad. But, beating Okie State at home really only puts the Dawgs on equal footing with Troy. This will be Georgia's chance to redeem itself after the disappointing South Carolina loss. In addition, Athens is one of the great American college towns, and Georgia girls speak with a Southern accent that could melt butter. Georgia also boasts some of the South's finest football traditions, including Sanford Stadium's field "between the hedges" and Uga the Bulldog, the greatest college mascot not named Bevo.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Alabama: Obviously with Nick Saban on the sidelines there's always the chance he might do something absolutely nuts like decapitate an assistant coach. The Tide showed the biggest difference between being coached by Nick Saban and Mike Shula against Arkansas: the winning instinct. Under Shula, Bama probably would have simply folded once Arkansas had ridden Darren McFadden to erasing a 21-0 deficit to eventually take a 4th-quarter lead. But Saban has his guys believing that they are going to win every time they take the field, and (with a little help from some questionable decisions by Houston Nutt and his staff) last week they did. Also, the fact that this game is being played in the always psycho Bryant-Denny Stadium will be a major asset to Alabama. On the non-football side, due to our roots it's really difficult for us to say anything nice about Tuscaloosa or Bama in general; the demigod status accorded Bear Bryant is creepy on an aggie tradition level. But with that said, if you ever find yourself in town, do yourself a favor and eat at the original Dreamland Ribs. There are two things on the menu: ribs and white bread. As they say: Ain't Nothin' Like 'Em Nowhere.

Why Texas Fans Should Care: Bama gets LSU at home in November and may well be the Tigers' best chance for a loss if they get past Florida October 6. If the other big game on the 6th (hint: Tulane @ Army) turns out the way we would like it to, then Bama suddenly becomes a Texas friend if they can pull the upset over LSU. Going the other direction, the winner of this game could very easily be the SEC representative to the Cotton Bowl. Not to endorse negative thinking, but should the Longhorns end up in Dallas for New Year's Day Texas fans will want to know what we're up against, and this is a great opportunity to see a possible future foe against a quality opponent. Plus, wouldn't it be nice to see the Horns face Nick Saban in the Cotton Bowl again?

The Battle of the YouTubes:
Should you run into a Georgia fan this weekend, don't say these girls didn't warn you:

Highlights from possibly the most famous instance of college football's fiercest rivalry: the 1972 "Punt Bama Punt" Iron Bowl contest. (Sorry, OSU-Michigan; Alabamians are just way crazier than you are.) Especially notice the guy in the pressbox screaming "Woo!" after the second blocked punt.