gtpdd Game Preview: South Alabama

Tomorrow night at 6:00 PM Central, the Bulldogs take on the University of South Alabama Jaguars in Mobile, Alabama. But before you watch the game, you need to know a few things. That’s where we come in!

How to Watch

Tomorrow night’s game is on ESPN’s new streaming service ESPN+. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a premium service that costs $4.99 per month. It doesn’t require any other subscriptions or services, though, so that’s not too bad.

***PSA: If you sign up before 9/2, you get a free 30 day trial. Usually ESPN+ only has a 7 day free trial. So this way, you get a full month free instead of just one week***

Other People’s Predictions

It wouldn’t be fair to say that we know what’s going to happen this weekend. Let’s start off by including what everyone else says will happen this weekend so that we don’t look as dumb if we’re all wrong!

  • ESPN FPI: Tech has an 82.6% chance to win
  • Massey: Tech has a 72% chance to win. Score prediction of 28-21 Tech
  • Vegas (OddsShark): 34.8-17.4 Tech
  • BleedTechBlue: 27-10 Tech
  • Creg Stephenson, AL.com: 27-13 Tech

Previous Record

Last year’s South Alabama team won as many games as Tech’s bowl win streak, and lost a J’Mar Smith jersey’s worth of games (AKA 4-8, for people not so great with numbers). Tech finished up 7-6, or the final score of a soccer game that’s exciting for a change.

What to Watch For

In this game, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the matchup between Tech’s wide receivers and USA’s defensive backfield. Tech fans have a lot to be excited about this year when it comes to people who catch passes. 2017’s leading receiver Teddy Veal is back and poised for a huge year. Alfred Smith is back to full speed after missing last season due to injury. Adrian Hardy is ready to step into the spotlight as a true receiving threat. Electrifying true freshman Smoke Harris is looking to make an immediate impact in the Bulldogs’ offense and on special teams.

While Tech fans have good reasons to be excited, the Jaguars actually have a pretty stout defensive back corps that returns a lot of talent from last season. The core group of Darian Mills, Nigel Lawrence, and Tobias Moss returns after defending 24 passes and forcing four turnovers in 2017. Add in cornerback Jalen Thompson, who missed 2017 for academic reasons, and you’ve got what could be a pretty decent unit in 2018.

I think this matchup could be the key to determining how close this game ends up. If J’Mar and the Tech receivers get into a rhythm, Tech’s offense will fire on all cylinders. If the Jaguars’ backs can force J’Mar to make some mistakes early in the game, his confidence might be shaken enough to throw off the whole offense.

Random Factoid

Although South Alabama’s football program started just ten years ago, Ladd-Peebles Stadium has been hosting college football games since its construction in 1948. And while we all know about the Senior Bowl and the GMAC Go Daddy Dollar General Bowl, let’s take a further look into the past.

From 1948 to 1968, the University of Alabama played one game per year down in Mobile. Because of this, legendary college football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant coached several games at Ladd-Peebles, including his very first game as Alabama’s head coach in 1958 (the Crimson Tide lost that game to LSU, 14-3). Bear Bryant’s final record in Mobile was 8-1, with 5 victories against Tulane and 3 against Southern Miss.

Since Alabama beat Tulane 5 times in L-P Stadium, we have to use the transitive property (and a bunch of other definitely real math) here and say that USA has the advantage against Tech Saturday. Alabama and South Alabama are both from Alabama, while Tech and Tulane are both from Louisiana. So that means the ghost of Bear Bryant will actually be coaching the Jags tomorrow evening.

Hot Taeks

Evan: South Alabama will not be able to run on Tech tomorrow. Last year they had 98 yards. This year they won’t sniff 50. Book it.

Nathan: Tech will win, but J’Mar will throw more interceptions than TDs. Bonus hot taek: Ladd-Peebles will surprisingly not fall down while the game is being played.

Josh: Teddy Veal will not be the leading receiver in the game. The commentators will spend a significant amount of time talking about Dancy and his battle to overcome cancer the second he touches the ball for the first time.

Matt: Skip will have the team listen to “Do-Rags and a .45” by Ted Nugent for pregame motivation.

Final Predictions

Evan: Tech will take some time to get going offensively tomorrow evening in Mobile, but once they do, they’ll put the Jaguars deep in the rear-view mirror.

I do have to give a shout out to my dude Michel Chapuseaux, who’s being honored tomorrow evening as a part of the inaugural team at South Alabama. I’ll be attending the game with my girlfriend’s two USA alumnae sisters, one of whom is married to Michel. You’d think that my potential future relationships with these three might make me subdue my Tech fandom a little during the game, right?

WRONG.

Tech wins, 45-17

Nathan: This game is going to be closer than most people think. South Alabama is a Sun Belt team coming off a losing 2017 season, but they are a force to be reckoned with. J’Mar looks improved in camp, but it will be interesting to see how he competes against what should be one of the better secondaries Tech will play all year.

Tech wins, 24-17

Josh: The game will start off slow for both teams, but Tech will blow the game open with a deep TD pass from J’Mar. Amik will have an interception, and Ferg will kill a man.

Tech wins, 34-17

Matt: Skip will call nothing but QB draws, Blake Baker and the defense will be kneeling on the sidelines for the duration of the game, the entire O-Line will develop gout, and J’Mar will transfer to USA during halftime and lead the Jaguars to victory.

Pssst! Also, make sure to get your picks in for the first edition of this years gtpdd Contest! You’ve got until right at kickoff to get your picks in on the Contest Page.

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