“I don’t know who in the world would have written Nick Saban off, certainly not me,” Paul Finebaum laughed. “But, yes, they’re coming back well.”
After losing to Texas, Alabama played an incredibly frustrating game against USF. However, since then, Alabama hasn’t lost and hasn’t lost in SEC play. Because of that, Finebaum thinks that Alabama and Saban are going to be bad news for Texas A&M.
“I like what I’m seeing out of Alabama. Saban has resorted to his old self. I mean, he’s screaming and hollering and throwing things, and I think there’s a reason for that. Marcus [Spears] understands that. He played for Saban. Saban was, I think, tentative about this team. They just weren’t maturing. Now, they’re showing some signs so it’s back to being the old Nick Saban, which is bad news for everyone.”
Despite that, Heather Dinich had a different opinion about how the game is going to go. In particular, she expects Texas A&M’s defensive line to have a good day.
Oh Pawl. At least he acknowledges how wishy-washy he is.
But Alabama fans have definitely taken notice. We’ve been grumbling for a couple of seasons now that Coach Saban has seemed too... accepting... of non-perfection. It was only one game, but something did seem to shift last weekend against Miss State after Saban went nuclear. It was a boa-constrictor performance on the road, and, honestly, it’s been years since we’ve seen that. Hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come.
“I know the centers and quarterbacks have worked a little extra on [communication] with noise this week,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said while addressing the media on Wednesday. “We’ve had some issues with the snap counts, so hopefully that’s not going to be a problem for us and we’ll get that resolved.”
In addition to quarterbacks and centers, Alabama’s entire team will practice with simulated noise tomorrow, which Saban says is a weekly occurrence.
“Tomorrow’s always the day that we practice with noise,” Saban said. “Tomorrow will be the day we really need to go through the whole practice and deal with noise, and that’s really when you can see how much it’s going to impact the players.”
Texas A&M’s Kyle Field has the largest capacity in the SEC, and will hold nearly 103,000 fans when the game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
When Alabama last visited College Station in 2021 and lost 41-38, the Crimson Tide committed eight penalties for 82 yards and turned the ball over two times, all of which come back to one key: communication.
Speaking of road woes, the loss to A&M two seasons ago was a bit of a harbinger of problems that haunted Alabama all through 2021 and 2022. If Alabama can kick off that “anxiety” in big road games, it could go a long ways toward getting the team into the Death Star we all want it to be.
Hummer (Texas A&M +2.5) — Could Alabama lose to two teams from Texas in the same season? I think it happens. The problem for the Crimson Tide is their offensive line. Alabama is allowing sacks at a 15.6% rate, which is the second worst in the FBS. Texas A&M, meanwhile, leads the FBS in sack rate. Its defensive line is finally playing up to his talent, which is elite. Usually, I think the Tide could overcome that deficit in other areas. But Texas A&M is, frankly, just as talented and might have the better QB even with Max Johnson. This is close but give me the Aggies at home. … Texas A&M 24, Alabama 21.
Crawford (Alabama -2.5) — Vegas says these teams are dead even. And this will be a frightening environment for Alabama, going to Kyle Field in the afternoon with more than 100,000 fans rooting for a mistake. That ball’s in Jalen Milroe’s court. Can he handle the pressure? Will the Crimson Tide defense help him out? I’m not sure of the answers to these questions, but since I picked Alabama to finish 10-2 this season, Saturday feels like the second loss given the setting. That said, I’m not able to side with the Crimson Tide often as a favorite of less than a field goal. ... Alabama 27, Texas A&M 23.
The national writers at 247 are split on the game, but both think it’s going to be a tight, low-scoring affair.
For what that’s worth, Jalen Milroe would be tied with DeVonta Smith, Dee Delaney, and Nathaniel Dell as the 20th-fastest ballcarrier in the NFL so far this season. The fastest QBs so far? Taysom Hill with a 20.72 and Joshua Dobbs with a 19.86.
Just top-tier athleticism.
Anyway, according to ESPNs FPI, Alabama is the 3rd best team in the country.
According to ESPN, FPI is defined as “a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 20,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily. FPI data from seasons prior to 2019 may not be complete.”
Let’s take a look at where Alabama currently stands!
FPI: No. 3
A 52nd ranked offensive efficiency is the main thing holding Alabama back, as both the defense and special teams are top-10 units.
Finally, here’s Saban’s Wednesday press conference. It’s a quick one, so give it a watch.