No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Saturday, October 22nd, 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: A&M +16.5/ALA -16.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
The biggest game of the weekend will take place in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on the no. 6 Texas A&M Aggies in a battle between undefeated teams. College GameDay will be on hand this Saturday and an entire nation will be watching to see if the Aggies can knock off the Crimson Tide. Thus far this season, Alabama has looked nearly invincible with impressive wins week after week. However, the Aggies are riding a wave of momentum and will look to deliver an upset just as they did in 2012 when Jonny Football led A&M to a monumental 29-24 victory.
Interestingly, both teams enter this Saturday’s contest following wins over Tennessee. The Aggies beat the 9th ranked Vols two weeks ago in overtime in a 45-38 thriller. Then last week Alabama blew out the 9th ranked Vols again last Saturday with an extremely impressive 49-10 thrashing. I guess the good news for Texas A&M hopefuls is that the Aggies did get an extra week of preparation for this week’s game which may not sound very important however the Crimson Tide will be playing their 8th straight game this Saturday before their first “bye” week. Additionally, the Aggies are getting a pretty generous spread of 16.5 points given to the visitors as they seek to improve on their 4-2 mark ATS on the season.
More than two touchdowns is a pretty large spread for a team that is just one spot away from a top 5 ranking. However, Alabama has proven that they can handle the bigger point spreads. Just look at the easy covers over no. 20 USC, no. 16 Arkansas, and no. 9 Tennessee for reference. The thing that makes this Alabama team so difficult is how they are playing on both sides of the ball. They are the complete package. The defense has been great holding opponents to just 46 points combined during their last 4 games. Meanwhile, the Alabama offense has taken off scoring 40 plus points in 4 of their last 5 games. For you math wizzes, that is a 30 point difference between what the offense is averaging and what the defense is allowing on average over the last several weeks.
I have reasons to believe that Texas A&M will be another victim to the trend. This is not the same A&M offense that many have witnessed over the last several years that spread the ball around precisely through the air to several different receivers. Even though I am sure that Coach Kevin Sumlin would love to see more of that infamous spread offense, the Aggies have relied much more on their rushing attack this season. Quarterback Trevor Knight has completed just 53% of his passes with just 9 scores and 5 picks through the first 6 games.
Instead of finding success through the passing game, Knight has been more effective with his feet as he is 2nd on the team in rushing with 502 yards and leads the team with 9 rushing touchdowns. Running back Trayveon Williams leads the team with 704 rushing yards averaging over 8 yards per carry on the season. Combined both Knight and Williams have averaged over 8 yards per carry totaling over 140 touches with the football. While those rushing stats are impressive, Alabama leads the FBS in rushing defense allowing just 2.04 yards per rush and only 63 yards per game on the ground.
Therefore, I am just not confident this is the greatest matchup for a team that has not proven to be able to throw the football. Alabama’s defense has been vulnerable at times through the air but Texas A&M does not look capable of exploiting that weakness. Furthermore, on the other side of the ball the matchup does not get much better. The Aggies defense stayed on their heels during the 2nd half of the Tennessee game and they have had a number of shaky moments this year. If the Aggies defense can stay off the field, they could perhaps stay in this game. Unfortunately I just do not see that happen as Alabama’s defense keeps Jalen Hurts and company on the short side of the field.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Alabama -16.5
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