While Alabama-Texas A&M wasn’t pegged by many as the most important matchup of the season, there’s no denying that’s what it is. Texas A&M comes into Tuscaloosa intent on upsetting the rulers of the college football world at home once again, and Alabama has the opportunity to declare itself one of the great teams of the modern era. Alabama’s getting a lot of love at home, but the Aggies have the kind of explosive offense and ferocious pass rush that makes upsets possible.
Give me Alabama 45, Texas A&M 28.
The media predicts…
- Bruce Feldman at Fox takes Texas A&M straight-up.
- USAToday is unanimous for Alabama.
- As is Sports Illustrated.
- CBS Sports, however, is all in on Texas A&M to cover the 17.5-point spread.
- And here’s AL.com’s Kevin Scarbinsky and Lauren Sisler:
Taste of T-Town
I have a confession to make. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile, but haven’t put into words. It’s controversial, but I can’t remain silent any longer. I hope you’ll understand.
Texas barbecue is trash.
I’ve traveled all over Texas; I’ve taken your recommendations for your briskets and chopped porks and whatnot. I’ve had it in Dallas and Houston and East Texas. I’ve had it Cowboy Style, whatever that means, and no matter what, I’ve never been impressed. Texas is supposed to be a capital of smoked meat, but all my empirical evidence points to the contrary. So, Aggie or Alabamian, let’s talk about a place where you can get some actually life-changing barbecue this weekend.
Archibald and Woodrow’s on Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa does two things: ribs and wings. There are other items, on the menu, but you don’t really need to know about those. The wings here are the best around, and the ribs aren’t far behind, only surpassed by the original location in Northport. If you like smoked meat, I can’t stress enough how much you need to try this place. If I exaggerate when I say “life-changing,” it’s not by much.
I prefer the wings at the Greensboro location, but I’ve taken Memphians, Texans and Carolinians to this place, and the ribs have made them swear off their local fare. It’s a matter of preference, and a question you can’t get wrong. Thank me later.
- CBS’ Jon Solomon: “Right now the possibilities seem endless for Hurts and Alabama.”
- Chuck Culpepper at the Washington Post: Alabama looks better than ever. Deal with it.
- Feldman: Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s history as an underdog should give Alabama fans pause.
- Texas A&M blog Good Bull Hunting offers this convincing case for the Aggies this weekend. I do have to take issue with the last point, that “you can only hear so much” talk about about being a three-score underdog. If Texas A&M wins on Saturday, it will be because it played to its strengths, exploited deep passes and forced turnovers. Disrespect doesn’t magically cover a talent gap, and pride matters a lot more on the practice field than it does on gameday.
- On a related note, Nick Saban’s teams have destroyed A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis over the years.
- SEC blog Team Speed Kills breaks down some film of Jalen Hurts.
- Ben Jones at The Tuscaloosa News examines the myth and reality of Alabama’s struggles with mobile quarterbacks. The statement is, in my opinion, misframed. Alabama doesn’t struggle with mobile quarterbacks, but the quarterbacks Alabama struggles with are almost all mobile. They’re also almost all transcendent athletes who are among the best in the country at their position.
- In that vein, Michael Casagrande looks at the role third-down defense plays in slowing down fastball offenses.
- The AL.com team is searching for the second-best team in the SEC. Guess who’s first.
- O.J. Howard helped turn Eddie Jackson into a punt returner, from AL.com’s Matt Zenitz.
- Texas A&M right tackle: “No king reigns forever.” He’ll have to block one of Tim Williams or Ryan Anderson this Saturday.
- Kevin Scarbinsky: Imagine if this team ran the wishbone. I’m not sure anybody could succeed truly running the wishbone right now, but he makes a compelling case.
- Listen to Nick Saban’s full radio show for thoughts on Verne Lundquist and Texas A&M.
- Here’s Marq Burnett’s interview with an insider and five keys to the game.
What to Watch
It’s a quiet weekend, outside of the obvious. More time to worry about Alabama-Texas A&M, I suppose.
- The only real option here is Oregon at Cal on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. ET. Watch this game if you don’t feel like going to sleep, because with these two, there will be points.
- Noon – North Carolina State at No. 7 Louisville on ABC. The Wolfpack already put some fear in Clemson. They’ll be looking to do the same in Papa John’s Stadium on Saturday, but Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson might have other plans. You can also keep an eye on No. 10 Wisconsin at Iowa on ESPN. Weird things happen on the road in the morning.
- 3:30 p.m. – No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama on CBS. During commercials, check in on TCU at No. 12 (undefeated!) West Virginia on ESPN2 or No. 19 Utah at UCLA, which starts at 4 p.m. on Fox
- 6 p.m. – No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn on ESPN. Gotta keep an eye on Auburn, make sure they’re really down and out. They’ve got some comeback potential in them. You could also watch Mississippi State at Kentucky on the SEC Network at 7:30 p.m, you maniac.
- 8 p.m.- No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 25 LSU on ESPN. Coach O’s revenge. LSU has shown signs of life since moving on from Les Miles. A win over Ole Miss will have the Tigers rolling headed into a Nov. 5 matchup against Alabama in Death Valley, possibly at night.
- 10 p.m. – Washington State at Arizona State on the Pac-12 Network. This game will feature so, so many points.
Around the Capstone
— Avery Johnson (@CoachAvery6) October 20, 2016
- Both basketball teams will host the Tide Tipoff today in Coleman Coliseum featuring DJ Metro Boomin.
- Soccer lost 6-0 to Florida in Gainesville on Thursday. The Crimson Tide sit just inside the playoffs at the moment, but are just four points (three for a win, one for a tie) ahead of 11th place UGA.
- Baseball, meanwhile, is hosting its version of a spring scrimmage: the Steak and Beans World Series.