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September 25, 2008
Nick Saban had Alabama sitting at 6-2 with four regular-season games left last year, and it seemed as if the rebuilding of the Crimson Tide was way ahead of schedule under its $4 million coach. Four straight losses put the return to glory on hold.
At 4-0, Alabama is again looking like a team primed for a breakout season. A trip to Georgia on Saturday should determine how seriously the Tide should be taken.
Saban's team went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa last season, before losing 26-23 in overtime. Take down Georgia between the hedges at Stanford Stadium, and the Tide can start dreaming of a national title run.
If Alabama pulls off the upset, it'll likely be behind a dominant performance from its defensive line. Terrance Cody and Co. have been pushing around opponents, while Georgia has been tinkering with its offensive line, trying to find the best combination.
TCU also has a chance for a season changing victory. The Horned Frogs moved into the AP Top 25 this week for the first time this season. Just in time for their trip to Norman to play Oklahoma.
The Sooners haven't lost a home game since 2005 -- when TCU beat them.
The other game on the slate matching ranked teams is in the Big Ten. Illinois visits Happy Valley to face Penn State, which has yet to be challenged during a 4-0 start. The Illini beat the Nittany Lions in Champaign last season.
North Carolina State (plus 8?) at No. 13 South Florida
Navy (plus 16) at No. 16 Wake Forest
Weber State (no line) at No. 17 Utah
Last week: 15-4 (straight); 5-11 (vs. points).
Season: 67-12 (straight); 32-33 (vs. points).