Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date and Time: Saturday, September 6th, 2014. 12:00PM EST
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
TV: SEC Network
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FAU +40.5/Bama -40.5
Over/Under Total: 48
Last week the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide posted a rickety performance in their season opener against West Virginia inside the Georgia Dome. Despite being a 26 point favorite, the Crimson Tide struggled with West Virginia in what turned out to be a surprisingly close game. Nick Saban’s typically dominate defense could not get off the field and allowed 365 passing yards as Alabama pulled out a rather shaky 33-23 victory. This week the Crimson Tide returns to Tuscaloosa as they welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls into Bryant-Denny Stadium as huge 40.5 favorites in their first home game of 2014.
If last week’s performance was not questionable enough, Alabama suffered a few crucial injuries that will prove costly. Starting senior cornerback Jarrick Williams suffered a fractured foot and will miss 4 weeks. Additionally, starting senior wide out DeAndrew White will likely miss a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Outside of the injury woes, Alabama still has plenty of questions to answer in the weeks moving forward. Alabama’s inexperience in the back 7 on defense showed last week. Not only did West Virginia rack up 365 passing yards behind the arm of Clint Trickett but they had several missed opportunities with dropped passes as well. The special teams were not special as they gave up a 100 yard kick return and the offense sputtered at times with quarterback Blake Sims at the helm.
Perhaps the best news is that Alabama has two weeks to get their problems fixed against a pair of inferior out of conference matchups. This week Florida Atlantic rolls into Tuscaloosa fresh off a 55-7 thrashing suffered at the hands of #22 Nebraska. The Owls were not only out matched but they looked pitiful on the defensive side of the football. Nebraska was able to move the football anyway they wanted and racked up 784 total yards just shy of the Cornhuskers school record. If 784 total yards does not cause eyes to open, consider the fact the Owls gave up 498 yards on the ground alone.
Despite Alabama’s problems last week, they did not have any problems running the football. Even with new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin calling the plays, Alabama still attacked with the same power rushing attack that has led the team to 3 National Championships under head coach Nick Saban. In fact, running backs T.J Yeldon and Derrick Henry both eclipsed the century mark as the Crimson Tide offense compiled 288 rushing yards against the Mountaineers. Needless to say the numbers, style of play, and talent level should present Florida Atlantic’s defense all kinds of trouble again this Saturday as they attempt to stop Alabama’s rushing attack.
While Alabama’s defense surprisingly struggled a bit last week, they will get the opportunity to pin their ears back this week. The Owls are in desperate search of playmakers on the offensive side of the football with just 1 returning starter at the skill positions. Last week quarterbacks Greg Hankerson and Jaquez Johnson combined to complete just 11 of 30 passes for 95 yards. Considering how well Alabama’s defense shuts down opponents running games, the Owls will likely have to keep trying their attempts through the air. Look for Alabama’s quick pass rush to make some plays and force a few turnovers this Saturday as the Crimson Tide defense returns to status quo.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Even though this is an early kick and a typical spot for a heavy favorite to sleep walk, I do not expect that will be the case this week for Alabama. This game is a complete mismatch for FAU with their defensive troubles and inability to move the football. Expect Alabama’s offense to run the football early and often before they get Sims some confidence in the play action as the game moves along. Take Alabama -40.5