It wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always pretty — not with A&M determined to hem up the Tide ground game and bevy of swings, and rubs and picks — but the pass rush, Tua Tagovailoa and improbable hero Hale Hentges had a fantastic outing. There is plenty to work on, and that’s the best kind of win for Saban.
This isn’t Sumlin’s A&M that’s for sure. The No. 22 Aggies will likely fall out of the Top 25, but they are going to be a player in the rest of the conference schedule.
Soak up the win, boys and girls. And feel free to use this for your evening schedule and viewing guide. There’s a lot more football left on tap. Here’s what to watch, why to watch it, how to do so...and one game to absolutely avoid if you want to preserve your sanity.
Below is the evening schedule (all times Eastern.)
|McNeese at #25 BYU||6:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|North Texas at Liberty||6:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Army at #5 Oklahoma||7:00 PM||Fox Sports PPV||SoonerSports.tv|
|Louisiana Tech at #6 LSU||7:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#14 Mississippi State at Kentucky||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Tech at #15 Oklahoma State||7:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Rice at Southern Mississippi||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Texas State at UTSA||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|UNLV at Arkansas State||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Coastal Carolina at Louisiana||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Troy at UL Monroe||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|NC State at Marshall||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Florida at Tennessee||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas at #9 Auburn||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#24 Michigan State at Indiana||7:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|New Mexico State at UTEP||7:30 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|#7 Stanford at #20 Oregon||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|East Carolina at South Florida||8:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Southern at Houston||8:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|South Alabama at Memphis||8:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|#18 Wisconsin at Iowa||8:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Arizona State at #10 Washington||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Air Force at Utah State||10:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Eastern Michigan at San Diego State||10:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Duquesne at Hawai'i||11:59 PM||Spectrum Sports PPV||WatchStadium.com|
Why to Watch:
NCSU (-5) at Marshall 7:00 CBSSN — The Thundering Herd can legitimately light it up. Observers were worried about the Wolfpack’s defensive line this season, but it’s the secondary that has been picked on quite a bit already...and a road game too? This could be closer than the names on the helmets suggest, and perhaps even an outright upset.
Arkansas at No. 9 Auburn (-29.5) 7:30 SECN — If you’ve not seen the Razorbacks play this year, and buried on the Ocho, that’s very possible — you should, if out of morbid fascination only. This team is truly abysmal. You get the feeling these two high school coaches are gonna’ high school it up on the Plains. And, if Auburn loses, improbable though it be, it will be hilarious.
No. 24 Michigan State at Indiana (+5) 7:30 BTN — The Hoosiers have come so tantalizingly close to springing a major upset these last few years. If IU truly is due, then the Spartans looking for answers in the secondary seem as good a target as any. Michigan State has looked really bad this year, y’all.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon (+2.5) 8:00 ABC — Heisman-flop-to-date Bryce Love finally returns after a maybe suspension/maybe injury, no longer leaving the Tree a pass-first team. But, as ineffective as he’s been that could still happen...in Autzen Stadium...at night...against the first competent offense it’s faced. Yuck. Then again, this is the first actual team that Oregon has played all year. Mario Cristobal’s offense has looked good pasting Bowling Green, San Jose State and Portland State, but the Cardinal are an order of magnitude better. The Ducks defense still looks shaky as all get-out too, so even a limited Stanford offense may have success. Nevertheless, this is a big time elimination game in the P12 North.
No. 18 Wisconsin at Iowa (+3) 8:30 FOX — How many more suspensions and injuries can an already-thin Badgers team take and still be competitive? The preseason playoff darlings have all-but written themselves out of the picture with their inability to develop a competent passing game — a weakness that was exploited to great success by BYU. That much ballyhooed offensive line has looked uncharacteristically soft too. Need we mention Iowa City night games are one of the spookiest roadies in the Big 10: a place where dreams die as frequently as Kirk Ferentz plays for the punt. When Iowa (Iowa) has the more dynamic offense, and they do, you get the feeling Wiscy could be in trouble if it needs to cobble together drives on a consistent basis. It seems as though Wisconsin’s best chance is to take control early, hope the defense hangs on, and then prevent the Hawkeyes from nickel-and-diming them to death for a win that looks improbable based on the box score.
Arizona State at No. 10 Washington (-17.5) 10:30 ESPN — As wide open as the P12 is, especially in the South, anything can happen and is likely to. There is a decent coin’s-flip chance that this is a preview of the P12CG — or that the Sun Devils realize they’re playing way over their heads and begin a season-long collapse. With #Pac12AfterDark, you never really know. Myles Gaskin has carried this team to-date. Since Alabama broke him, Jake Browning just hasn’t been the same. And the Huskies may very well need him to come out of his cocoon tonight. #AlabamaEffect
This Evening’s Unwatchable Filth
Florida at Tennessee (+3 1⁄2 ) 7:00 ESPN — These teams (and that definition is used lightly) are both in the bottom 20 of offense. They should make the field reek to high hell tonight. Guarantano vs. Franks? That’s the actual quarterbacking battle tonight. Woof. The primary difference is that Tennessee’s defense has looked competent at times. Do the Vols have enough firepower in their water pistol offense to take advantage of the SEC’s worst linebacking corps though?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This rivalry used to be appointment viewing, and now you’d have to pay a sane person to watch this trash. This stinker is generating tons of gallows humor on both campuses; so, at least they’re self-aware of the fact that it’s going to be awful. Usually the WLOCP is one of the least watchable SEC games of the year. The Cocktail Party will look like 2005 Rose Bowl compared to this one — and I write all of this knowing New Mexico State - UTEP are playing tonight.