The Citadel vs. Alabama Total Pick
The Citadel Bulldogs (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0 SU, 7-3 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday November 17th, 2018. 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
Point Spread:CIT +51/ALA -51
Over/Under Total: 61
The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide survived yet another big test against no. 16 Mississippi State last week and delivered with their 2nd straight shutout over a rank opponent with a 24-0 victory. Once again I was on the winning side of that match-up as I picked the under 51 which covered thanks to another dominant effort by the Crimson Tide defense easily. Now Alabama seemingly gets a tune-up week before they head into the most critical two weeks of the season highlighted by the Iron Bowl against Auburn followed by the SEC Championship against Georgia while playoff hopes hang in the balance. Before we look forward to those intriguing match-ups, Alabama will host The Citadel as enormous favorites this Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama seeking 3rd straight shutout
For all the justifiable hype the Alabama offense has received this year, the Alabama defense has taken over the storylines in each of the past two games. The Crimson Tide defense pitched a 29-0 shoutout against no. 3 LSU and then backed it up with another 24-0 shutout last week over no. 16 Mississippi State. As a result of those two shutouts, Alabama is now tied with Clemson for the number 1 ranked scoring defense in college football allowing just 12.7 points per game. Now Alabama’s thriving defense will get the opportunity to faceoff against an inferior FCS opponent in The Citadel with an opportunity to record 3 straight shutouts; an extremely rare feat for the modern era of football.
Facts about The Citadel
If you are looking to know more about Alabama’s opponent this Saturday, let me give you the rundown. The Citadel reigns out of the FCS’s infamous Southern Conference (SoCon) with a 4-5 SU mark and 4-5 record ATS. The reason I bring up the opportunity for Alabama’s 3rd straight shutout is not without reason. The Bulldogs have struggled tremendously on offense even against FCS competition, and now they will be going against one of the best defenses in college football’s highest division. Not only that, but the match-up is simply daunting for the Citadel. The Bulldogs are a rushing football team that has produced little success through the air with quarterback Jordan Black. The one-dimensional offense is not a recipe for success against the size and speed of the Alabama defense. The Bulldogs currently rank 86th in the FCS, emphasis on the FCS, which shows their struggles on the offensive side of the football.
Now to be clear, I am not writing off The Citadel based on the obvious factor they are from the FCS. In fact, several of the SoCon teams have given some of the nation’s most reputable teams a tough time in recent years. The Citadel themselves delivered a shocking upset against South Carolina a few years back. However, this is a different circumstantial match-up. Alabama has separated themselves from the best teams in the FBS, and I have stated on several occasions that this may be the best Alabama team in the Nick Saban era. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are struggling on both sides of the ball and are going to be victims of Alabama’s wrath; at least as long as Head Coach Nick Saban wants to deliver it.
Keys to the spread
I am not the biggest fan towards making predictions involving enormous point spreads like this week’s match-up between The Citadel and Alabama. You have to consider how long Alabama will keep their foot on the throttle and how long the starters will stay in the game. Earlier this year in my Alabama preview against Louisiana-Lafayette, I predicted the Crimson Tide would cover the 49 points likely by half-time. Ironically, Alabama led exactly 49-0 at the half and then played with the 3rd string offense/defense the rest of the game which allowed a backdoor cover in a 56-14 victory. With so many big games on the horizon against Auburn and Georgia, I imagine Alabama plays this game cautiously to try to avoid escaping without any critical injuries. For that reason alone, I am leaning towards The Citadel and all of the points in hopes this is more of a walk-through for next week’s Iron Bowl.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Under 61