No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (3-3 SU, 2-3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 13th, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Faurot Field Columbia, M.O
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ala -21/MO +21
Over/Under Total: OFF
Nobody expected that after the halfway point in the season, Missouri would still be in search of their first SEC victory. The Tigers let another opportunity slip away last week losing 19-15 to Vanderbilt. The Tigers were expected to be able to contend right away in the Southeastern Conference with a quick striking spread offense. However, the Tigers have averaged just 15 points through their first 3 conference games and they have found that these defenses are just a bit more talented than the Big 12. This week the Missouri Tigers get to face the best defense in the league and the nation when the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide roll into Columbia.
Alabama is not the type of opponent that you want to meet when struggling to score points. The Crimson Tide defense has allowed just 191 total yards per game (1st in FBS) and given up just 7 points per game as well (1st in FBS). The Crimson Tide defense is suffocating among the defensive line where they get after the quarterbacks extremely well (16 sacks) and sport the 3rd best run stop unit in America. If you remember just two weeks ago, South Carolina’s defensive front manhandled the Missouri offense in a 31-10 blowout. The Tigers could only muster 255 total yards in that game which mostly came late in the 4th quarter against the backups. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if Alabama can also dominate in the trenches and keep pressure on Missouri freshman QB Corbin Berkstresser.
Missouri starting QB James Franklin suffered an MCL injury in the loss to Vanderbilt last week and will miss a few weeks. Berkstresser, the freshman, has had some playing time this season in the midst of Franklin’s injury. However he has not got the job done completing just 50% passing with 3 scores and 1 pick on the year. Berkstresser was just 9 of 30 passing for 189 yards last week against Vanderbilt’s defense. Now Berkstresser will have to endure one of the best pass rushes in America and get the Tigers’ offense in gear. Running back Kendial Lawrence is another solid option for Missouri offense. Lawrence has produced 487 yards and 5 touchdowns through the first 6 games. However as stated before, Alabama owns one of the best rush defenses in the country and it is hard to imagine Missouri’s offense winning the battle up front to obtain rushing success.
Therefore the Tigers are going to have to come up with some big plays and also hope the ball bounces their way to contend. A few turnovers would definitely help their cause but Alabama does not give up the football. In fact, the Crimson Tide leads the country with a +2.60 per game turnover ratio. QB A.J McCarron has still not given up a single interception this year completing 65.8% passing for 999 yards and 12 touchdowns. As we all know, Alabama’s offense does not rely heavily on their passing game. However, McCarron gives the offense the ability to be two dimensional which can be the difference between being good and great. Just ask LSU.
On the ground, Alabama is averaging 188 yards per game as a team. Running back Eddie Lacy leads the team with 314 yards per game and 4 touchdowns. Freshman T.J Yeldon has shared time in the backfield and proved he is the future for the Crimson Tide offense. Yeldon has averaged 5.8 yards per carry on 50 touches. Both guys can be explosive in the running game behind that big Alabama offensive line and it will be interesting to see if Missouri can slow those guys down. Missouri has been pretty solid against the run this season giving up just 107 yards per game (19th in FBS) but they have yet to face a rushing attack as powerful as Alabama this season.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The last time Alabama made a trip to Columbia they were defeated 35-21. Unfortunately for Missouri, that trip was to Columbia, SC and not Missouri. Crimson Tide rolls here.
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