Alabama vs. Texas, Saturday, September 10, 12 ET
Two storied college football schools. One has been outstanding and one hasn’t really been relevant since Vince Young was running the field. Alabama is penciled in, maybe even penned in, to be in the College Football Playoffs and Championship game. In order for Texas to get to their level, this is the game they will look at to see where the program is in comparison.
Everyone gets up for the Alabama game, right? You have to imagine these locker rooms are full of kids that have dreams of being the team that dethrones the mighty Alabama machine. Texas is a team that I have a lot of hope for this year, but even I realize it will take a lot of luck for them to steal the victory. Starting quarterback Quinn Ewers didn’t look great in his opening game against UL Monroe, but he wasn’t terrible by any means. He ended with two touchdowns and 225 yards. Their rushing attack might be one of the best in the country, but it wasn’t needed much with Bijan Robinson getting 71 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. Playing against Alabama’s defense will be significantly different and if Ewers cannot make the reads, I think this one could get over quickly. I do wonder if the defense will be able to stop Bryce Young at all, though. Even though they allowed just 10 points, they allowed 167 passing yards to a quarterback that is at-best average.
So let’s ask just one question here: Is Alabama’s defense good enough to hold down the Texas offense? A lot can obviously change in a year, but if the goal here is to stop Robinson, Ewers will have to be the playmaker. He absolutely can be, but still, Alabama has enough to be able to stop him too. I don’t expect Saban to just load the box and say go ahead and air it out. There will be enough coverage that the cornerbacks won’t be left exposed. Offensively, Bryce Young had his warmup game and looked great in it. He threw for five touchdowns and added another one on the ground. Texas’ defense will not be able to stop him completely. The hope has to be to contain him a bit.
The books have Alabama scoring roughly six touchdowns and Texas scoring three. That’s not super surprising to me. Even though I think this is probably the biggest game of the year for Texas, I don’t think it comes at a great time for them. If it was later in the season and they had more time to gel, I think we could get a more competitive game from Texas. There are a few ways I like this, but I expect Alabama to easily win the first quarter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out and score on their first two possessions. It might take Texas a bit of time to figure out how to navigate the Tide’s defense. I’m playing Alabama 1st quarter -6.5 at -115.
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