Ducks and Turkeys

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Ducks and turkeys are the theme for Auburn and Alabama this Thanksgiving week.

Coach Tommy Tuberville of Auburn, basking in his team’s 17-7 domination of Alabama, took some of his assistants, who did a masterful job of preparing for Alabama, up to Arkansas to shoot at ducks.

What’s left for those coaches is recruiting and waiting to see which bowl will get the 8-4 Tigers, knocked out of the Southeastern Conference title game against Georgia by Louisiana State’s victory over Mississippi.

Those ducks had better hope the Tiger coaches have poorer aim than they had against the Crimson Tide, which at least scored a touchdown to end a three-game drought against Auburn at Tuscaloosa.

Meanwhile, Alabama, which the Tigers turned into turkeys Saturday in perhaps the Tide’s worst showing yet under coach Dennis Franchione, flies across much of the Pacific Ocean for its &uot;bowl game&uot; against 9-2 Hawaii, which won its game and perhaps the post-game fight against Cincinnati.

While Auburn is celebrating and the Tide’s are wondering what hit them, Georgia won’t know until Friday night whether its opponent for the SEC championship will be LSU or Arkansas, depending on their game at Little Rock.

This week’s schedule involving SEC teams begins Thursday night when Mississippi State travels to Oxford to play Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, which might more appropriately be called the Egg-On-Your-Face Bowl, considering the records of those teams.

Last week I was 4-1 on my picks, missing badly on the Auburn-Alabama game, although I had plenty of company there.

The season record going into the final week of the regular season is 72-19.

Alabama at Hawaii &045; Will the Warriors be laying or lei-ing for the Tide and, if Alabama wins, will there be another fight?

Some of the Tide players are saying that a victory in Honolulu will make their season bright, but don’t believe it. Nothing can erase the way Auburn turned Alabama into cup cakes to win bragging rights for the next year.

The Tide will end its non-bowl season with a victory and a 10-3 record.

Mississippi State at Mississippi on Thursday night &045; Does anyone outside the Magnolia State care about this year’s Egg Bowl?

Ole Miss can wind up with a 6-6 record by winning while the 3-8 Bulldogs, with a loss, will join Vanderbilt as the only team without a conference victory.

The Rebels will add to Jackie Sherrill’s woes.

Louisiana State and Arkansas at Little Rock on Friday night &045; The winner here will become a non-worthy opponent for Georgia.

Both the Tigers and the Razorbacks have suffered lop-sided losses en route to this juncture, and last week LSU defeated Ole Miss by only one point while Arkansas could turn back Mississippi State by only one touchdown. I’m going with Arkansas in its home state.

Florida at Florida State &045; There is no love lost in this in-state rivalry, but some of the bitterness left when Steve Spurrier forsook the Gators for the National Football League.

Since the game is at Tallahassee, the Seminoles are the pick.

Georgia Tech at Georgia &045; Another intrastate game and this one could be ripe for an upset, with the Bulldogs perhaps pointing to their SEC championship game.

Between the hedges, however, the Bulldogs will prevail.

Kentucky at Tennessee &045; The Wildcats, like Alabama, are ineligible for a bowl despite their winning record while Tennessee will be going bowling no matter the outcome.

The Vols manhandled the conference’s two worst teams since being run out of their stadium by the nation’s No. 1 team, Miami.

The Vols are running the ball well and this will give Jared Lorenzen less time to pass. Tennessee will win.

Meanwhile, six of the 12 SEC teams will be in bowl games.

We’ll have to wait and see which ones.

(Hoyt Harwell is a retired Associated Press Correspondent who covered major sports in Alabama for 26 years. Harwell lives in Hoover. (e-mail: