No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0 SU, 5-4 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday November 10th, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Bryant Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TX A&M +14/ALA -14
Over/Under Total: OFF
Last week Alabama Crimson Tide survived a road trip to Baton Rouge with a 21-17 victory over the LSU Tigers. Actually survived may not be the best word to describe that game, but rather Alabama ‘escaped’ Death Valley with their National Championship hopes still intact. The Crimson Tide were outplayed for the first time this year and found their selves trailing 17-14 with less than 2 minutes to play. However, QB A.J McCarron delivered one of the most impressive drives of the year by hitting 4 of his 5 passes for 72 yards and the game winning touchdown to keep the Crimson Tide among the unbeaten teams in college football.
The win not only kept Alabama’s chances of another National Championship alive but it also locked the Crimson Tide into the SEC Championship Game in December. However, it is hard to ignore how close Alabama came to a loss. The consensus around the nation was that Alabama was head and shoulders above every other team in the country. Perhaps most figured Alabama would have a cake walk to the National Championship Game. However, LSU proved that Alabama is mortal and can be defeated. This week Jonny “Football” Manziel and the red hot no. 16 Texas A&M Aggies roll into Tuscaloosa to try to deliver that first defeat to the Crimson Tide.
The surging Aggies destroyed no. 15 Mississippi State 38-13 last week to improve to 7-2 SU on the season. Manziel dazzled in the performance by completing 30 of 36 passing for 311 yards. For Manziel, he has been simply outstanding in his freshman season hitting 68.8% passing for 2,527 yards with 16 scores and 6 picks. Coach Kevin Sumlin has the Texas A&M offense looking like the powerhouse offenses from Houston averaging a ridiculous 559 yards per game against SEC defenses. Not only has Manziel been great in the passing game but he also leads the SEC in rushing with 922 yards on the ground.
Manziel’s dual threat ability and strong running force with Ben Malena could present the type of balance to keep Alabama’s defense guessing. Last week LSU was able to man up against Alabama in the trenches and run the football. However, LSU may be one of the only teams in the country that has the size and power to hold their ground against Alabama in the trenches. The Aggies do not have that type of talent along the offensive front and will need more finesse out of the offense with Manziel to move the football.
On the other side of the field, Alabama will look to show their power in the running game as they did against LSU last week by tallying 166 rushing yards against one of the best run stop units in the country. Running backs T.J Yeldon and Eddie Lacy provide a unique 1-2 punch with size and speed. Both backs have produced more than 650 rushing yards this season and have combined for 15 touchdowns. Alabama’s power running game will present a lot of problems from the Aggies’ undersized defensive line and it will be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide can control the clock. Alabama was not able to control tempo nor time of possession last week and it put the Crimson Tide a bit outside their comfort zone. Therefore, I think the ground game will be a big priority this week which will help keep the Aggies offense on the sideline.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe Texas A&M is fairly undervalued in this position. Alabama is coming off a huge emotional roller coaster type game and the Aggies come in with a ton of confidence. I think the Aggies have the offense to make this a ballgame and I like the fact that Alabama is just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home stands. Take the Aggies +14!
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