Happy Friday, everyone. As you well know, Alabama hosts Texas A&M tomorrow. Previews:
Texas A&M is an offensive mess right now. Quarterback Kellen Mond couldn’t get things going against Vanderbilt and, perhaps more concerning, is that the coaching staff didn’t let him stretch the field much at all. If Jimbo Fisher and Co. can’t trust Mond after three seasons of starting for the Aggies, that is a very bad sign. Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones looked on point all night against Missouri and will pick apart a defense that doesn’t have the bodies to take all of Jones’ weapons into account. Pick: Alabama (-17)
Bama wasn’t exactly flawless in Saturday’s 38-19 win against Missouri. The Crimson Tide struggled mightily on first downs — their success rate was just 23% to Mizzou’s 36% — and found themselves steadily behind the chains. It didn’t matter because the Tigers couldn’t generate much pass pressure or even pretend to cover Tide receiver Jaylen Waddle (134 receiving yards, two touchdowns). But against a team with more oomph in the pass rush and/or more seasoned corners (an early injury meant Missouri gave 108 snaps to freshmen out wide), Alabama’s offense could have struggled.
The last two games between these two teams haven’t been close and it’s tough to see that trend changing on Saturday. Texas A&M’s defense is likely to win some battles, but can the offense generate enough points to keep pace with Alabama? How well Kellen Mond performs is likely to determine just how close the Aggies can keep this game. The Crimson Tide simply have too many weapons, while the defense should keep Mond in check to pull away for a comfortable victory in the second half.
Prediction: Alabama 38, Texas A&M 17
The game was over, but Missouri’s Shawn Robinson stepped in and hit 19-of-25 passes against the Tide secondary. Mond doesn’t have to go KJ Costello and bomb away, but he’s a good enough veteran to settle in and keep things moving just enough to make the game a battle.
A fired up A&M team will be far, far stronger than it was last week, but the Alabama running game will take over in the second half. Jones will be strong enough to keep the Tide offense moving when it has to.
Alabama 34, Texas A&M 20
No. 13 Texas A&M at No. 2 Alabama (-17)
The Crimson Tide have won the past six meetings in this series by an average of 24 points per game, and Nick Saban should be able to keep his team’s focus after some ugliness in mop-up duty against Missouri. Kellen Mond played well in the last meeting, but this Alabama defense is better. The half-point adds value.
Pick: Alabama wins 40-20 and COVERS the spread.
The Aggies showed something on defense in last week’s opener, but the offense was putrid. Kellen Mond has caused problems against Alabama with his legs, and he will provide a test for Alabama’s rejuvenated front seven. On the other side, expect DC Mike Elko to attack the backfield with some abandon with hopes of stuffing the run and making Mac Jones beat them with the reduced WR depth from last season. Don’t, however, expect it to be terrible effective.
Saban’s complaints about the team letting up won’t fall on deaf ears this week. Expect them to finish the drill, especially on defense. Let’s call it Alabama, 38-13.
Of course that is just my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.
What will be Saturday’s result?
This poll is closed
Jimbo wishes he was fishin’, Tide covers 17
Aggies are game, Tide by 10-16
Closer than it should have been, Tide by 1-9
Aggies pull the upset (FLAGGED)
Saban’s “Hey, Coach!” show was entertaining as always.
— Saban said his team was “pretty average” once the score became 35-3 and they need to play to a much higher standard than they did in the final quarter-and-a-half.
— Saban said penalties have been a “huge problem” the past two years for Alabama, when they’ve finished near the bottom of the SEC. “In the early years here, we were always first or second in penalties.” As for fixing it, Saban said it’s taught in practice each day and there are consequences for players. “I hate to be a punishment guy, but we just get so frustrated that people don’t play with the discipline we need to, we have to come up with ways to make them aware of how important it is.”
I say again, when he is harping on things like discipline, it means he thinks the team is capable of dominance.
Last, we mentioned yesterday that Marlon Humphrey got a well-deserved extension from the Baltimore Ravens. He spoke to media about it yesterday and got choked up when speaking about his father and fellow Alabama great, Bobby.
Nothing like seeing young people achieve their dreams and then reflect on those who helped shape them.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.