No. 10 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date/Time: Saturday October 17th, 3:30PM EST
Where: Kyle Field College Station, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -4/A&M +4
Over/Under Total: 52
One of the biggest matchups of the weekend will feature two top 10 SEC teams when the no. 9 Texas A&M Aggies host the no. 10 Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field. The Aggies remained undefeated with a 30-17 victory over Mississippi State two weeks ago in their last outing. The victory marked the 2nd win for the Aggies against top 25 opponents if you include their 38-17 victory over Arizona State in the season opener. Now the Aggies have a chance to prove they are a worthy contender in the race for the SEC Championship when they host Alabama this weekend.
Surprisingly the Aggies are just 1 of 3 teams left in the SEC that are still undefeated with Florida and LSU being the only others. The Aggies will close out the season with LSU in what is looking to be an important game for the entire SEC West. However if they can somehow find a way to get past Alabama, the Aggies could have a legitimate shot to still be undefeated by the time they meet LSU. Of course the key matchup to watch that will determine this Saturdays outcome will be the Alabama defense against Texas A&Ms offense. That particular matchup has been a constant in the last few meetings. The Aggies have always had the offensive firepower while Alabama has typically always had one of the best defenses in the country.
If you look back to last years meeting, the Crimson Tide defense dominated in a unbelievable 59-0 shutout over the Aggies. Alabama held a good Texas A&M offense to just 172 total yards in that game. In the prior two meetings before that blowout (2012 and 2013), the matchup between Alabamas defense and Texas A&Ms offense was more equally balanced. In fact, both of those matchups were determined by 1 score with the Aggies upsetting Alabama in 2012 in that classic game with Johnny Football making big plays down the stretch for Texas A&M.
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This Saturdays matchup should be equally interesting. The Aggies have a top 20 offense that is performing very well behind the play of quarterback Kyle Allen. Allen has completed 64% passing for 1,274 yards with 13 touchdowns and just 2 picks through the first 5 games. WR Christian Kirk has been one of the key elements in the passing attack. The talented freshman has already amassed 32 catches for 519 yards and 4 scores to lead the Aggies receiving corps. From a matchup standpoint, Alabamas defense has been much tougher against the run than they have against the pass this season. Therefore I do not expect much out of Aggies running back Tra Carson and believe this game will rely heavily on the arm of Allen.
Of course Alabamas defense is just one part of the equation. The Crimson Tide offense has proven that they can score big numbers as well. In fact, the Crimson Tide has scored more than 100 points combined against the Aggies in the last two meetings alone. Last week Alabama was held in check by Arkansas in the first half as they trailed the Razorbacks 7-3 at the break. Alabama bounced back in the 2nd half with the help of two Jake Coker touchdown passes to pull out a 27-14 victory over Arkansas. However, it was not an overly impressive performance from the Alabama offense.
This week I expect Alabama to get back to basics with their ground attack. They were forced into a bit more throwing situations than expected last week and Coker did a decent job throwing the football. However, the offense would like to see Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake take over this week against a poor Texas A&M rush defense. Henry especially has gotten off to an incredible pace with 665 yards and 10 touchdowns through the first 5 games averaging 5.5 yards per touch. I think his play will be important this week as Alabama tries to limit A&Ms time with the football and wear down the defense in classic Nick Saban style football.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If you go by trends then you might like the Aggies this week. Texas A&M is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games at home. Meanwhile, Alabama is just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 on the road. However, I still think Alabama is the play here. The Crimson Tide are in the middle of that bounce back swing from their early loss to Ole Miss and I simply do not see this team losing another game unless it is to LSU. Take Alabama -4
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