News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Alabama (1-0) at Vanderbilt (1-0)

When: Saturday, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.

Line: Alabama by 31/2.

TV/radio: The game will be broadcast on WZDX-54. The radio broadcast can be heard on AM-1400, AM-730, AM-770, FM-93.3 and FM-92.5.

Players to watch: Against Western Carolina, we saw what tight end Nick Walker could do, leading Alabama with five catches, including one touchdown reception. Walker will have a little more motivation Saturday when he faces his cousin, Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson, in front of three buses of people from Brundidge, Walker and Nicksonís home town.

Vanderbilt wide receiver Earl Bennett, a junior, isnít the biggest or more athletic player on the field, but heís only 35 receptions away from breaking the SEC record that former Kentucky wide receiver Craig Yeast set in four seasons.

Key matchup: Bennett versus whatever kind of defense Nick Saban wants to play. The Alabama coach is known as a defensive guru and he will be put to the test against Bennett, Nickson and the rest of Vanderbiltís offense. Saban has been quick to criticize his defense since he has been coach, and it will be interesting to see what he does against his first real offensive challenge at Alabama.

Weather: Partly cloudy and 87 degrees at kickoff with scattered thunderstorms in the area.

Last meeting: Alabama 13, Vanderbilt 10; Sept. 9, 2006.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 35, Alabama 31. This merits an explanation. Vanderbilt lost 13-10 last season at Alabama and is bringing back 18 starters this year. Saban makes Alabama a better team, but the Commodores actually have the talent and depth to win this year.

Josh Cooper,

Daily Sports Writer

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