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Alabama vs Duke (Season Prediction 6 of 12)


October 7, 2006
Bryant-Denny Stadium
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Series record: 1-1 (.500)

If this were basketball, I'd be a lot more excited. Alabama would be less likely to win, but it would certainly generate more buzz than this football game. Despite Duke being spectacularly awful last year, I'm at least glad Alabama isn't playing a I-AA team. When the NCAA approved adding a 12th game to the schedule beginning in 2006, Duke is who Alabama signed to beat up on. Alabama will travel to play Duke on a TBA date in the next few years. It is rumored that the game will be at a "neutral" site in Charlotte or Atlanta.

Wallace Wade led Alabama to three national titles and had quite a bit of success at Duke as well

Despite only playing each other twice, Alabama and Duke share some significant football history. Coach Wallace Wade led Alabama to back to back national championships in 1925 and 1926 (including two trips to the Rose Bowl) and another national championship in 1930 before going on to coach at Duke from 1931 to 1950. He led Duke to three of the school's eight bowl game appearances (two Rose and one Sugar) and their football stadium is named after him. Wade led Duke to a 29-26 victory over Alabama in the 1945 Sugar Bowl. The game was supposedly an epic struggle and I imagine it must've been a heck of a game if the Bryant Museum is releasing a loss on DVD as a part of its Crimson Classics series. Given the fact that Alabama has won over 750 games, releasing a loss is kind of unfathomable, but I will watch it when it's released to see what the stir is about.

Despite the program cover being heinously racist towards Japanese people, this was supposedly a fantastic game

Their other meeting, a 1972 game in Birmingham saw the Tide win 35-12. The 2006 game really shouldn't be much of a contest, though the players certainly shouldn't look past it. Duke was a dismal 1-10 in 2005; their only victory being a 40-14 drumming of the Virginia Military Institute. Duke was outscored by their opponents 408-177. Wow. I'm not even sure I have words to describe that.

To make matters worse, Duke's starting QB, David Asack was recently suspended for the 2006 season due to plagiarism. Three other players were also recently dismissed from the program for undisclosed reasons including the projected starting right guard Joe Suder and two second string players (strong safety Andreas Platt and wide receiver Deon Adams.) Losing Asack means Duke is only returning 10 starters from last year's team.

This one should be an absolute track meet and will be a nice breather after the road trip to Florida and before getting Ole Miss at home and then having to travel to Tennessee.

Predicted record after this game: (4-2)

Earlier Predictions

Fun fact:

Ravi Shankar & Anoushka Shankar are playing the same day in Birmingham. Hopefully this will be a day game so I can go to both.