Paschall: Will Saban finally win at Beaver?

Paschall: Will Saban finally win at Beaver?

September 8th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sportscolumns

Alabama coach Nick Saban talks with his team prior to their NCAA college football game against Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in this file photo from Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

LAST WEEK

Winners........................21

Weather delays..............4

Pasquali is 21-4 (84.0 percent) overall for the season.

OTHER PICKS

Oklahoma St. 34, Arizona 27

Kentucky 19, Cen. Michigan 10

Ole Miss 41, Southern Illinois 3

Arkansas 56, New Mexico 9

LSU 55, Northwestern St. 6

UConn 20, Vanderbilt 17

North Carolina 31, Rutgers 16

Va. Tech 38, East Carolina 14

N.C. State 23, Wake Forest 20

Stanford 43, Duke 12

Clemson 44, Wofford 15

FSU 69, Charleston Southern 7

Virginia 24, Indiana 21

Wisconsin 45, Oregon St. 18

Nebraska 37, Fresno St. 6

Oregon 42, Nevada 24

Texas 28, Brigham Young 23

Nick Saban has won at least once on every Southeastern Conference campus, but the former LSU and current Alabama football coach has a chance this weekend to make amends from his stint in the Big Ten.

Saban took two of his five Michigan State teams to Penn State's Beaver Stadium during the late 1990s but came away empty on each occasion. His '98 Spartans endured a 51-28 hammering at the hands of the Nittany Lions.

"There are a lot of places that have a lot of tradition that are very difficult places to play, and I don't think there is any question that Beaver Stadium is one of those places," Saban said Wednesday. "It's going to be a challenge for our players to go in there and be able to focus like we need to on what we need to do to play winning football and not be affected by external factors.

"That's always a challenge for your football team, and it will be interesting to see how our guys respond to it."

Beaver Stadium has a capacity of 106,572 and housed 110,753 during a 2002 victory over Nebraska.

Saturday will mark Alabama's first trip to Penn State since a 17-16 win in 1989. It's the 15th meeting between the two programs, and Joe Paterno has coached the Nittany Lions all 15 times.

Pasquali's Pix

Mississippi State at Auburn: The winner improves to 1-0 in the SEC, while the loser has to send a $180,000 check to some guy named Cecil. Bullies 29, Tigers 21.

Alabama at Penn State: Pairing two tradition-rich teams doesn't guarantee a classic. Case in point: Last year's 24-3 Tide snoozer in Tuscaloosa. Crimson Tide 20, Nittany Lions 9.

Cincinnati at Tennessee: The Vols haven't won their second game of the season since the Phillip Fulmer era of so long ago. Vols 31, Bearcats 24.

South Carolina at Georgia: An erratic effort by Stephen Garcia may be Georgia's best hope, though opposing quarterbacks are completing 82.4 percent of their passes against the Bulldogs. Gamecocks 24, Bulldogs 17.

Jacksonville State at UTC: Now it makes sense why Washaun Ealey transferred from Georgia. He wanted no part of Boise State. Mocs 30, Gamecocks 23.

Georgia Tech at MTSU: The Blue Raiders must rebound quickly after a tough loss at Purdue. Yellow Jackets 34, Blue Raiders 16.

UAB at Florida: One program has won three national titles in the past 16 seasons. The other is coached by Neil Callaway. Gators 42, Blazers 10.

Notre Dame at Michigan: This one always seems to be worth watching, no matter where or if the teams are ranked. Irish 23, Wolverines 21.