clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

The Alabama players are all saying the right things... But maybedon’t expect this game to live up to the hype

NCAA Football: Utah State at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Want to feel old?

Although he lived in Pasadena, Calif., where the 2010 BCS National Championship Game was played, Young was only eight years old the last time the Crimson Tide and Longhorns met.

“I was pretty young,” Young said Monday. “I don’t really have any memory about that game. Probably was watching college football, probably had it on and just don’t remember it.”

But Alabama’s quarterback knows a little about the Texas program. Young was recruited by the Longhorns and visited Austin, Texas, when he was the nation’s top overall recruit, according to 247Sports, out of Mater Dei (Calif.) High School in 2020. We all know Young ended up with the Tide after de-committing from Southern Cal, but he has “a ton of respect” for Texas.

The rest of Bryce’s comments are mostly just paying respect for Sarkisian and the rest of the Longhorn program. Him, and the rest of the Tide, are doing their best to not provide any bulletin board material for the upcoming opponent.

And while he might be right, Stephen A. isn’t exactly helping Alabama achieve the “no bulletin board” goal:

A competitive game isn’t one of them, according to Stephen A. Smith. The “First Take” host, along with Paul Finebaum, debated whether the Tide-Longhorns matchup will be a competitive game.

“Hell no,” Smith declared. “There’s a romp coming.”

According to ESPN, Texas hasn’t been a bigger home underdog since 1978. The Tide is currently a 20-point favorite.

“A beatdown is coming this weekend,” Smith said. “I’m sorry to tell y’all.”

So, Texas won’t even cover the spread?

“Let me be very clear,” Smith explained. “I’m a fan of Austin, Texas. … Let me tell you something right now. You’re 5-7 last year. You won your opener, but I’ll tell you the biggest piece of evidence I have to validate my point. Sarkisian just told you: ‘It’s just a game. It’s just game. Please don’t hold it against us. Please don’t hold this butt-whipping coming our way against us.’”

Tide running back Jase McClellan, who came to Bama from Aledo, Texas, may be trying to calm his teammates. “I would say it’s hotter here during fall camp,” he said. “I was just talking about that.”

Theoretically, playing football in hot weather might wear more on the big guys. Alabama center Darrian Dalcourt is 6-3, 305. He said, “Being big guys, I think we have to prepare with things like sodium shots, being able to keep hydrated, maybe drink extra water or Gatorade to keep the electrolytes in place. You drink that and we do a great job of keeping ourselves hydrated.”

The noise is another thing, especially for a center who has to make the blocking calls for the line and get the snap signal from the quarterback. “There’s a lot on my shoulders to be able to get the offensive line set and to be able to communicate what we should be doing as a unit. My preparation for it is to be loud, to be vocal, and to be as commanding as I can for my group.”

Dalcourt got his first real exposure to the communications problem at Florida in the third game last year and admitted it was hard to get comfortable, his first time starting in “a true away loud game. I took a lot from that and started making communication a lot better, not just from an offensive line standpoint, but from the quarterback.

“It’s going to be a loud game but we’ll be ready for it. It’s definitely a part of our preparation.”

Alabama struggled in the Swamp and in Aggieland early last year, so a hostile game in Austin might be similar. Hopefully, the experiences last year will give this team some confidence in dealing with similar environments.

The real key for the Tide should be stopping Bijan Robinson:

Bijan Robinson, a junior for the Longhorns, was voted as the 2022 Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team. Speaking to reporters Monday, head coach Nick Saban provided high praise for the running back.

“He can do everything,” Saban said of Robinson. “He’s got speed. He’s got power. He’s a very instinctive runner, sets up his blockers well, has a burst and he’s got great hands, good receiver. They use him a lot in the passing game.

“So this guy is as good an all-around back as there probably is in the country, or certainly one of the best of all the guys in the country, and his production really shows that.”

As a freshman starter, I expect Quinn Ewers to be a bit of a roller coaster against Alabama’s pass rush and veteran safety group. If the talented Robinson is able to squeeze out enough magic to keep drives alive and give Ewers some extra shots down the field, it’s likely the only path for the Longhorn offense to have success.

So for Alabama’s part, stopping him has to be tantamount.

Seriously though, for all the hype, don’t forget this one thing:

Here is this week’s Associated Press Poll with record, first-place votes, and total points based on 25 for a first-place vote, 24 for a second, etc.

Alabama 1-0 (44) 1552

Georgia 1-0 (17) 1511

Ohio State 1-0 )2) 1471

Michigan 1-0 1299

Clemson 1-0 1280

Texas A&M 1-0 1241

Oklahoma 1-0 1130

Notre Dame 0-1 1085

Baylor 1-0 1057

USC 1-0 898

Oklahoma State 1-0 818

Florida 1-0 763

Utah 0-1 717

Michigan State 1-0 690

Miami 1-0 679

Arkansas 1-0 678

Pittsburgh 1-0 635

NC State 1-0 513

Wisconsin 1-0 476

Kentucky 1-0 373

BYU 1-0 266

Ole Miss 1-0 254

Wake Forest 1-0 246

Tennessee 1-0 194

Houston 1-0 143

This is still a matchup of the #1 team in the country vs an unranked foe. So let’s not get so carried away.

Roll Tide!