Colorado State Rams (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 16th, 2017. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CSU +28/ALA -28
Over/Under Total: TBA
The top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide erased any thoughts of a letdown performance, following their big win over Florida State, last weekend with a 41-10 victory over Fresno State as the Tide rolled to 2-0 SU. Alabama led by 28-3 at the half and maintained a pretty conservative 2nd half game plan which allowed the Bulldogs to cover the 42 point spread. This week Alabama will face another inferior challenge when they host the Colorado State Rams at Denny-Bryant Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Once again Alabama will be heavy favorites as they get one final challenge before SEC play begins next week with a road trip to Vanderbilt.
For Colorado State, this will actually be their 4th game of the season as they were part of a small group of teams that kicked off the season during the final week of August. The Rams currently hold a 2-1 SU mark that includes a victory over Oregon State in the opener. Following a loss to Colorado, the Rams bounced back last week with a 38-10 victory over Abilene as quarterback Nick Stevens threw for 337 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 pick. In 3 games, Stevens has already thrown for 980 yards and completed 126 passing attempts in this Mike Bobo offense. If you are familiar with the name Mike Bobo, he was the former quarterbacks coach turned offensive coordinator at Georgia who has worked with the likes of Mathew Stanford and Aaron Murray. Therefore, he is a guy that has built a reputation for creating great quarterbacks.
Quarterback Nick Stevens has been a project at Colorado State but the hopes are high for the senior in his final season. Stevens has a familiar target that is also off to a strong start this season in senior WR Michael Gallup. Galluup has caught 26 passes for 304 yards this season and has 1 touchdown. This entire Colorado State offense is skilled and does a good job of creating space to get their receivers the ball. I think any offense that takes opportunities to throw the ball down field is best suited for attacking Alabama. If you look back at Alabamas history in the games they have lost, it has been by teams that can stretch the field and throw passes down the field. It is nearly impossible to outplay Alabama in the trenches because of their size and talent from recruiting. Therefore, the blueprint to beating Alabama is throwing the football.
While that may sound good for Colorado State fans, lets be serious and conclude that does not mean the Rams will be scoring any season defying upsets on Saturday. I am simply making a point that the way to beat Alabama is by throwing the football down the field. From a matchup standpoint, Alabama still has the extreme upper hand based on superior talent. A few things that this Colorado State offense has failed to do in recent weeks is secure the football and create a running threat. Stevens has tossed 4 picks in 3 games including 2 in the loss to Colorado. The offensive line has had troubles protecting as well which could be a critical red flag for this weekends game against the Crimson Tide.
We saw this Alabama defense tee off against Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois in the opener when they attempted to throw the football and that could be the case again this week with Colorado States protection issues. This defense rattles quarterbacks and that does not bode well for Stevens who has struggled at times with turnovers. Therefore from a defensive standpoint alone, I think Alabama has the opportunity to make things really tough on Colorado State and we have seen how quickly things can get out of hand when the Crimson Tide forces turnovers. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Rams can avoid the turnovers and establish some completed passes down the field.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Rams have been pretty decent on defense and I dont think Alabamas offense is firing on all cylinders quite yet. If Colorado State turns the ball over, Alabama could put up a really high number. Otherwise, I like my chances with Colorado State and the points! Take Colorado State +28
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