Trojans will have difficult time with improved JSU

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Sports Columnist

Troy State-Jacksonville State, Alabama-Auburn, Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina, Ohio State-Michigan, Oregon-Oregon State. What a weekend for college football!

It’s the week for all the big rivalries and none can be any bigger then the two we have right here in the state of Alabama.

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It’s Alabama and Auburn and Troy State-Jacksonville State. Two huge rivalries, one to be played in Tuscaloosa and the other in Jacksonville, Alabama.

Troy State, ranked third in the country with an 8-2 record and first place in the Southland Football League with a 5-1 mark, battles arch-rival Jax State at Paul Snow Memorial Stadium in Jacksonville Saturday night at 7 p.m. The game will be televised live locally on Troy Cablevision’s Channel 52.

Fresh off a 20-16 victory over McNeese State, the Trojans have already clinched at least a tie for the SFL championship and an automatic birth in the NCAA Division 1-AA playoffs that begin Saturday, Nov. 25. The Trojans win the automatic bid even if they lose Saturday at Jacksonville State, due to the SFL’s tie-breaker rule. A victory over the Gamecocks Saturday gives Troy State the outright SFL championship and their third ring in five years.

The Gamecocks, under new head coach Jack Crowe, have won two games in a row to up their record to 4-5 on the season. Victories over Louisiana-Lafayette on the road last week 28-14 and Northwestern State 28-24 the week before gives the Gamecocks a lot of confidence coming into the Troy game.

Three of the Gamecocks loses were by a total of 13 points. Sam Houston, 26-23, Southwest Texas on the road 28-24 and Stephen F. Austin 27-21, were all games that the Gamecocks could have won.

Led by quarterback Reggie Stancil and running backs Herman Bell and Rondy Rogers, Jax State’s going to make the "Battle for the Ole’ School Bell" a tough one for the Trojans.

A victory here gives Larry Blakeney and his team the final straw in what has been a magnificent run after back-to-back losses to South Florida and Northwestern State on Oct. 7 and 14. Blakeney’s players went back to work with their backs against the wall, winning five straight and hopefully six in a row after Saturday.

A victory Saturday assures the Trojans of at least one playoff game at home and possibly a top four seed, which means you get to play every game at home until you lose. That’s what Blakeney and his team wants.

Jax State will be playing to knock off their hated rival and the Trojans will be hungry for that outright SFL championship rin and home field advantage in the playoffs.

The Trojans have dominated the Gamecocks in recent years, winning the last five games in a row since the two teams started back playing each other again in 1995. This game is always a tough match-up, especially on that wet field in Jacksonville. Our Trojans better be ready!

TSU 28 Jax State 21

This Alabama-Auburn football game Saturday is the most one-sided game I can ever remember between the two teams.

Alabama’s going through one of its most miserable seasons in its storied history. Back to the glory days of "Ears" Whitworth, this Alabama team is one of the worst ever at the Capstone.

Last week against Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide looked like boys playing against grown men. They look like they have thrown in the towel and can’t wait to end the misery. They look like they are ready for the season to be over with.

How in the world do any of you think Alabama will have a chance to win Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium? I’ve been a huge fan of this game for 45 years and never have I thought Alabama would not win or have a chance to win. Never!

This year is much different than the rest because this Alabama team is playing with no heart. The red jersey, the great tradition and playing Auburn for the first time in 98 years in Tuscaloosa, will have no bearing on this game. They’ve thrown in the towel!

Auburn 31 Alabama 10

My crystal ball has Florida State 38, Florida 31; Clemson 24, South Carolina 21; Michigan 20, Ohio State 17; Oregon 28, Oregon State 24; Cincinnati 35, Southern Miss 31; UCLA 45 Southern Cal 38; Washington State 42, Washington 38; Georgia 31, Ole Miss 20.

Have a great weekend!

Go Trojans!