Charleston Southern Buccaneers (9-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1 SU, 5-5 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday November 21st, 3:30PM EST
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CSU +38.5/ALA -38.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
The 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide overcame one of their biggest remaining challenges last week with another convincing victory over Mississippi State 31-6. It was the Crimson Tides 7th straight victory since their upset loss to Ole Miss. Alabama current controls their own destiny in the race for the SEC Championship and College Footballs Playoffs. If Alabama keeps winning, they will once again making it back to the college footballs version of the Final Four. With an Iron Bowl looming on the horizon, Alabama will set their sights on the visiting Charleston Southern Buccaneers for this Saturdays meeting inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama has simply manhandled their recent opponents just like they did last week against a good Mississippi State team. However just like they did against LSU, Alabama dominated in the trenches and running back Derrick Henry eclipsed the 200 yard mark in yet another impressive outing that is turning into a potential Heisman Trophy campaign. This week Alabama will be rather large 38.5 point favorites over the Buccaneers who are a part of the FCS. However despite their FCS stature, Charleston Southern is a pretty solid football team with a 9-1 overall record.
I have a lot of respect for what Charleston Southern has done in the Big South and they are a very solid football team despite not being on the FBS level. The Buccaneers have a pair of running backs in Darius Hammon and Mike Holloway that do a good job of keeping the chains moving on the ground. The two tailbacks have combined for 15 touchdowns this season while averaging 6 yards per carry. Charleston Southerns offense is dependent upon their ground attack and they keep the ball on the ground at more than a 2-1 threshold. The problem with that simple stat and philosophy of football is that it plays right into Alabamas strength on defense that is stopping the run.
I would love to say that Charleston Southern has the potential to pull off an Appalachian State over Michigan type monumental upset this weekend. However, not only is that a once in a decade type win but this will be a match-up nightmare for the Buccaneers this Saturday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama strives in the trenches up front on both sides of the ball like no other team in the country. Their size and talent on both the offensive and defensive lines has proven to dominate some of the best teams in the country for the majority of Nick Sabans tenure in Tuscaloosa.
Unfortunately that size and talent advantage will be on full display this Saturday against a Charleston Southern offense that is really one dimensional towards the run. Alabamas defense is incredible upfront where they give up just 2.49 yards per rushing attempt and just 77 yards overall on the ground each game. Both of those stats are 2nd best among all college football teams. Needless to say, that is not the type of numbers that you want to see on paper from a team that is keen towards keeping the ball on the ground.
To make matters worse, Alabama should be able to flex their muscles in the trenches just as much on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Derrick Henry has emerged as the top candidate in the Heisman Trophy race in recent weeks. Henry has posted 200 plus yard performances in 3 of his last 4 outings. Obviously, Henry has been great running the football but Alabamas offensive line has also been outstanding to say the least. I have little doubt they will move the football with ease on the ground this week. My biggest question is how many touches will Henry and most of the starters get this week? Alabama has already suffered through a couple of big injuries this year including running back Kenyan Drake. With those matters fresh in mind, I think Alabama pulls most of their starters before this one gets too crazy. For that reason, I think Charleston Southern stays within the points.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Charleston Southern +38.5
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