Pasquali’s Pix: Vols to survive state rival; Dawgs, Tide to roll theirs

Crimson Tide photos / Alabama junior outside linebacker Will Anderson is expected to suit up for the final time at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday when the Crimson Tide host rival Auburn.
Crimson Tide photos / Alabama junior outside linebacker Will Anderson is expected to suit up for the final time at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday when the Crimson Tide host rival Auburn.

It was vintage Will Anderson earlier this week, showing up to a news conference wearing one sock and with one big smile.

"My foot was in the hot tub, and I had to run up here and hurry up," Anderson explained, "so I didn't have a chance to put on my other sock."

As college football's rivalry week descends upon us this Thanksgiving, many of the storylines will center around Ohio State-Michigan and the other contests involving teams at the top of the playoff rankings. Alabama is seventh in the latest standings but with little chance of making the desired four-team field after being eliminated from the Southeastern Conference championship picture.

That leaves Anderson, the junior outside linebacker for the Crimson Tide, and junior quarterback Bryce Young likely playing inside Bryant-Denny Stadium for the final time Saturday afternoon when they host rival Auburn. Should the likeable duo elect to bypass Alabama's bowl game and get a jump on their NFL plans, an issue that hasn't affected Nick Saban's program to this point, this Iron Bowl could be their final college appearance altogether.

"It's been a great time here, and playing in Bryant-Denny has been fun," Anderson said. "There are so many great memories, and I want to keep those memories going."

Neither Anderson nor Young have revealed plans for 2023, with Young stating, "All I've ever focused on is the next opponent. I understand how much this game means to us as a team. This is a huge game."

Alabama made history earlier this year by returning the sport's Heisman Trophy winner and its Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, but the sequel hasn't quite packed the same punch.

Young lit up opposing defenses last season for 4,872 yards with 47 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he won't have the opportunities to match those numbers this season, as he was injured for the escape of Texas A&M and will play in his 11th game Saturday after competing in 15 a season ago. He has 2,664 passing yards this year with 24 touchdowns and four picks.

Anderson racked up 101 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks last season, and he has 46 tackles, 14 TFLs and eight sacks this year. He did snag his first career interception back in September against Louisiana-Monroe and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.

"It's been different," Anderson said. "The blocking has been the same -- they'll either double-team or triple-team -- but sometimes I've even noticed that they don't even run to my side. I just have to go out there and do my best on whatever play."

Young became Alabama's fourth Heisman winner last year and the first by a quarterback, but he never guided the Crimson Tide to a national crown. He replaced Mac Jones late in the CFP title game of the 2020 season, a 52-24 rout of Ohio State, and led Alabama to last season's Southeastern Conference championship over Georgia before losing the rematch to the Bulldogs.

Anderson started throughout Alabama's title season as a freshman, and there is no doubting these are two of the most outstanding players in Crimson Tide history looking to show out one final time in Tuscaloosa.

"Coach Saban always says, 'You're remembered by what you do in this game, and if no fans remember any other game you play in, they're always going to remember the Auburn game,'" Anderson said.


For the 26th time, the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State will be a Thanksgiving treat.

It's the second straight Thursday matchup between Lane Kiffin's Rebels and Mike Leach's Bulldogs, with the 2020 game having to take place on a Saturday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think that my family and probably our team celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday," Leach said this week. "Thanksgiving is Friday, and some may even push it to Saturday. It's not like we have to squeeze it in before the game. Some operate that way.

"Some people bring Christmas trees and presents to bowl games. We don't do that, either."

This pairing has actually taken place in seven locations around the Magnolia State through the years -- Oxford, Starkville, Jackson, Tupelo, Columbus, Clarksdale and Greenwood.


The Battle Line Trophy that outlines Arkansas and Missouri, and goes to the winner of Friday's game, weighs more than 180 pounds.

Pasquali's Pix:

Mississippi State at Ole Miss: This sure has felt all week like the final Kiffin-Leach pairing for the Golden Egg, but who knows? Rebels 35, Bulldogs 30.

Arkansas at Missouri: The Razorbacks are still seeking their first win at Mizzou. Tigers 29, Razorbacks 26.

Florida at Florida State: Only two of the past 14 meetings between these two have been decided by single digits. Seminoles 30, Gators 17.

Georgia Tech at Georgia: Stetson Bennett IV was bound to play his final game at Sanford Stadium at some point. Bulldogs 41, Yellow Jackets 10.

Michigan at Ohio State: The Buckeyes have not lost a Big Ten game at Ohio Stadium since 2015. Buckeyes 27, Wolverines 22.

South Carolina at Clemson: No member of Clemson's roster has lost a home game, either, and that's not going to start now. Tigers 33, Gamecocks 14.

Louisville at Kentucky: Kentucky's 19-game winning streak against nonconference opposition is the longest in the country. Cardinals 24, Wildcats 23.

Auburn at Alabama: Recent Iron Bowls at Jordan-Hare are beyond memorable. Recent Iron Bowls at Bryant-Denny? Not nearly as much. Crimson Tide 34, Tigers 10.

LSU at Texas A&M: Methinks Jimbo Fisher has his boys peaking at the right time. Tigers 21, Aggies 13.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt: The Volunteers closed last week's game at South Carolina on a 7-0 run. Vols 30, Commodores 27.

Last week:


Vols DBs torched.....6

Pasquali is now 233-67 overall (77.7%) this season.

Contact David Paschall at


Texas 31, Baylor 24

North Carolina 26, N.C. State 22

UCLA 27, California 16

Oregon 34, Oregon State 29

Wake Forest 23, Duke 20

SMU 28, Memphis 21

TCU 35, Iowa State 28

Penn State 30, Michigan State 7

Utah 49, Colorado 15

MTSU 42, Fla. International 13

Notre Dame 24, USC 23

Kansas State 37, Kansas 18

Washington 41, Wash. State 34

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