Kent State Golden Flashes (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date/Time: Saturday, September 24th,, 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KENT +43/ALA -43
Over/Under Total: TBA
Last week Alabama was staring down the barrel of their 3rd straight regular season loss at the hands of Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide trailed 24-3 at one point during the 2nd quarter. Only this time, unlike the last two years, Alabama was able to put together a rally that was aided by defense and special teams in a 48-43 comeback victory. It was the type of game that would have caused most teams to fold but the Crimson Tide found a way to fight back and the performance solidified their no. 1 ranking. This week Alabama gets the opportunity to breathe as they host Kent State before embarking on a journey that will include 6 straight SEC games.
The Crimson Tide will be huge favorites this week over the 1-2 Golden Flashes. This is one of those games where the question is not if Alabama is going to win but simply by how much? How will they follow last week’s close win to Ole Miss? Is this a letdown situation or should last week’s 2nd half be an indicator of what we can expect against Kent State? I am sure those are the questions that some casual flyby fans are contemplating this week and surely they are some valid questions to ponder. However, this Alabama team has been pretty consistent in terms of effort and motivation so I am not looking at this from a psychological matchup.
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Instead, I would like to continue to dissect this no. 1 ranked Alabama team that is going for a 2nd straight National Championship. They have had a few flashes of struggles on both sides of the ball and I even picked the Rebels +10 to cover the spread last week against Alabama while I pointed out the Crimson Tide’s inconsistencies on offense. Luckily for Alabama, the defense came up with two touchdowns last week and another score on special teams to help the offense overcome a 24-3 deficit. While it was good to see the defense step up after a slow start, I still think there may be some lingering concerns on offense.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts found ways to hurt the Rebels defense last week but it was primarily with his legs. Hurts ran for 146 yards on 18 carries while he was 19 for 31 with 158 yards through the air. Meanwhile Damien Harris may have finally dethroned Bo Scarbrough as the Tide’s top running back. Harris was already outperforming Scarbrough and the latter was held to just 13 yards on 7 carries last week while Harris racked up 146 yards on 16 touches. Alabama’s rushing attack has always been at the forefront of Nick Saban’s offenses in Tuscaloosa so I imagine Harris will play a bigger key role going forward.
However, this offense still lacks the big play potential it has had in the last few years. Hurts has not proven that he can hit the big throws despite having an extremely talented target in Calvin Ridley and others in the receiving corps. This Alabama offense is becoming one dimensional and I am not sure if that is going to hold up over the entire season. Not that I think Kent State can stop them this week. The Golden Flashes do not have the size or strength to compete with Alabama in the trenches. Therefore, I expect Alabama to have a field day running the football.
The Golden Flashes offense does not have any really special talents that can go toe to toe with Alabama this week. Quarterback Mylik Mitchell is not very good and Kent State typically keeps the football on the ground. As stated before, that does not match up well considering Alabama’s strength upfront on both sides of the ball. Therefore, I expect Kent State to have a very tough time moving the football and I would be surprised if they score more than 10 points in this game. This 43 point spread is hard to predict but if Alabama gets a couple of turnovers like I would expect then it becomes hard to avoid the 43 point cover this week.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Alabama -43
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