Happy Friday, everyone. It’s homecoming in Tuscaloosa and Al.com has you covered for everything from parking to event schedules and even accommodations for those with sensory needs. Game previews:
The only way to beat Alabama is to give their opponent too many points. The Tide is rolling, but is just 3-4 against the spread.
Alabama has hit the over in four of seven games, averaging 48.7 points a game and 514 yards of offense.
Alabama has won the last 11 meetings and scored 41 or more points in seven of them.
Alabama 48, Arkansas 7
PREDICTION Alabama 35, Arkansas 13 Arkansas has not won an SEC game since midway through the 2017 season. Times are tough in Fayetteville and it’s not going to magically get better simply because the starting quarterback for No. 1 team in the nation isn’t playing. There are too many other bullets in that offensive gun for Alabama.
I don’t know that Alabama is going to hit 50 in this one, just because I expect them to play a lot of ball control and the forecast calls for steady rain starting today and running into the game. Hopefully the defense continues to show some growth this week. Call it 38-10, hope for no injuries in the mud, and get into the bye week ready for the most hyped November game in a few years.
Of course, the next two weeks will be filled with discussion of the most scrutinized ankle in college football history.
“These things are hard to predict, but we want him to be three or four days non-weight bearing, and then he can sort of go as tolerated relative to his rehab,” Saban said on Golic and Wingo. “He was back on the field in 12 days before the last one. This one doesn’t seem to be quite as serious as the last one, and it’s not his plant foot to throw.
“So hopefully, in a couple of weeks, we’ll be able to have him back on the field. Now, how capable he’ll be and how close to 100 percent he can get just kind of remains to be seen.”
The kid’s gonna play, y’all. He’s been nicked up more than he’d like, but his toughness is not in question and his ability to play will be 100% about pain threshold. You may recall this from a year ago:
And that was with a bum knee.
Meanwhile, we have Mac Jones, and Lane Kiffin seems high on him.
“It’s crazy we all have insight on all of these quarterbacks who haven’t been there and I kind of compared him to (Georgia junior) Jake Fromm,” said Kiffin, now Florida Atlantic’s third-year head coach, Tuesday during “The Paul Finebaum Show” on SEC Network. “I said, ‘OK, here’s a game manager in a good way.’ (Jones) really understands the game, knows where to get the ball. Very smart kid. Comes from great family and really loves the position and learning the position.
Mac will get his shot to audition for the 2020 job tomorrow.
ESPN’s FPI model seems to be much higher on Alabama than the Tide’s own fans.
ESPN’s computer model believes that Alabama has control of the game. The computer model gives the Crimson Tide a 71.0 percent chance to beat the LSU Tigers.
That is a pretty hearty number, folks. It’s primarily driven by - gasp! - Alabama’s superior defense. Uncharacteristic penalties last week notwithstanding, the unit is led by its veteran secondary.
“We’ve done the same thing all the way around,” Saban said. “I think it’s just player awareness of being able to take shots when they get shots. When you look at it, you have certain players that attack the ball and are confident of being able to do it and know when to do it, and you’ve got other guys that are a little more cautious about it, and we’ve just got to keep on working on it so they get more comfortable with it.”
Three players are responsible for 15 of UA’s 27 pass breakups: Shyheim Carter (six), Patrick Surtain II (five) and Trevon Diggs (four).
We have plenty of time to talk about that game, but thus far Alabama’s nickel and dime backs have looked far superior to LSU’s, which is huge with the Tide’s depth of talent at WR.
Last, USA Today thinks Ohio State may go down this week.
Enter Wisconsin, a team with a more-than-capable offense and whose defense is the best in the country but just decided to stay in Madison last weekend while the rest of the team lost to Illinois. If the team that lost shows up against Ohio State, forget all of this because it’s going to be another atrocious blowout for the Buckeyes. But if the Badgers’ defense — the one that has four shutouts this season and leads the nation in basically everything (7.6 points/game, 193.9 total yards/game, 135.4 passing yards/game, 58.4 rushing yards/game) — returns, Ohio State will have to adjust to its first real test of the season, and we’re thinking it won’t work out.
I don’t see it, but we’ll be watching.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.