A look around the SEC

Take a team-by-team look at the SEC.

Originally Published: November 10, 2004
By Chris Low | Special to ESPN.com
Will Alabama continue its success in Baton Rouge? Can Auburn do enough to impress the voters? How will the Vols cope with the injury to Erik Ainge? Our SEC notebook addresses those questions and much more.

Alabama

  • Alabama's official home field is Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the Crimson Tide's unofficial home over the years has been LSU's Tiger Stadium.

    Alabama (6-3, 3-3) has enjoyed uncanny success in Baton Rouge and gets a chance to continue that trend this Saturday. The two teams have played every year since 1964. In all games played in Baton Rouge, Alabama is 23-6-2.

    When LSU won 30-28 in 2000, it was the Tigers' first win over the Crimson Tide in Baton Rouge since 1969. The visiting team has won six of the last eight meetings in this series.

    "We know we are in for a big challenge, going into the defending national champion's stadium," said Alabama head coach Mike Shula, whose team qualified for a bowl game with a 30-14 victory over Mississippi State last weekend. "If you get another win, you've got a chance to play later (in bowl game), and our ultimate goal is to play on New Year's Day."

  • The numbers might not be eye-popping, but LSU head coach Nick Saban thinks Alabama quarterback Spencer Pennington has improved.

    "I think he's made some outstanding throws, and I think they've gotten consistently better in their ability to throw the ball and make some big plays downfield," Saban said.

    Pennington probably had his best game last week against Mississippi State. He completed 9-of-15 passes for 119 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

    Shula also thinks Pennington has improved, but the Tide are still going to be pretty conservative about what they ask Pennington to do. Tailback Kenneth Darby, after taking over for the injured Ray Hudson, is playing as well as any running back in the league.

    Darby had a career-high 200 yards on 36 carries against Mississippi State and is now second in the SEC with 933 yards and seven touchdowns. He's averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

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