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Week 3 in College Football: Elephants, Black Bears, and Banana Pudding

Marquee Matchup: #2 Alabama vs. #15 Ole Miss, 9/19, 9:15PM ET on ESPN  Last year I experienced ESPN's "College GameDay" for the first time in a town that's very near and dear to my heart: Oxford, Mississippi. I can remember it like it was yesterday, and rightly so—I stood in one spot for 5 1/2 hours, I didn't bring near enough liquor, and Katy Perry flung corn dogs in my direction. It's been a hot minute since I've seen The Notebook, but hearing Katy Perry lead the "Hotty Toddy" chant will forever be the Noah to my memory's elderly Allie.

"Hey, Katy. We'll always have that Saturday in The Grove, right? Hotty Toddy." Photo: Gary Miller/FilmMagic

The game itself was fun, too. I didn't rush the field after Ole Miss beat Alabama for the first time in a decade, but I was just as giddy as all those on-field revelers. And for the rest of my life I'll remember standing next to my brother and my friend Wettlin, watching the goalposts come down. It's moments like those that make college football so special, folks.

Post Ole Miss-Alabama game. I'm the loose-jowled fella on the right not enjoying college football in the slightest. Photo: Mary Margaret Kemp Moore

This week, my Rebels travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium to try and beat Alabama at home. The last time that happened? 1988. I was three years old. I've got it on good faith from my mother that I wasn't even really talking much at that point... lot of drool, though.

Drool aside, one does not simply walk into Nick Saban's house and beat him for a second consecutive year. He's the best in the business for a reason. Pipe down, Urban Meyer!

Ah, the Black Bear mascot. 27 years living in Mississippi...never saw one bear. The kids seem to like him, though, so there's that.  Photo: Getty ImagesSport

So, who you got? The Crimson Tide, the team chockfull of future NFL talent in their front seven (defensive lineman and linebackers to the layman), arguably the best running back tandem in college football, and five-star recruits at every other position? Or the underdog Rebels, the team with an overly—and arguably justifiably—scrutinized but electric transfer quarterback in Chad Kelly, one of the best wide receiver groups in the nation, and a defense that's as nasty as any in the country? In the spirit of blog series autonomy, I'm going to say that Ole Miss wins an extremely physical, nail-biting, instant classic. Not to worry, though... if I'm wrong I'll be in Tuscaloosa to experience the gut-check to my feels firsthand, live and in technicolor. My Prediction: Ole Miss 24, Alabama 21

Roasted Banana Pudding It doesn't get more Southern than banana pudding. As someone who has lived most of his life in Mississippi and Alabama (so sheltered, I know), I feel like I'm qualified to say that. My Granny used to make it at every family gathering, and you best believe it will be out in force among all the tailgating spreads in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Whip up some pudding—the night before game day—send us some photos, and let us know which games you'll be watching and who you're routing for in the comments section below. Cheers, and Hotty Toddy!

Roasted Banana Pudding. Photo: Oxmoor House

5 ripe unpeeled medium bananas (about 2 pounds) 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk 2/3 cup sugar, divided 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon butter 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 (12-ounce) container frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed and divided 45 vanilla wafers, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place bananas on a jelly-roll pan covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove 3 bananas; cool completely. Peel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Bake the remaining 2 bananas at 350° for an additional 20 minutes. Carefully peel and place the 2 bananas in a small bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth.

3. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer (do not boil).

4. Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Gradually add hot milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Fold half of whipped topping into pudding.

5. Spread 1 cup custard evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of remaining custard over banana. Repeat procedure with 20 wafers, banana slices, and custard. Spread remaining half of whipped topping evenly over top. Crush remaining 5 wafers; sprinkle over top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.

SERVES 10 (serving size: about 2/3 cup) CALORIES 295; FAT 5.6g (sat 2.1g, mono 1.7g, poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 3.9g; CARB 56.6g; FIBER 2g; CHOL 46mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 165mg; CALC 73mg

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