Animosity in the Air
No. 1 Alabama will be on guard when upset-minded Texas A&M visits Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. Last year, the Aggies took down the top-ranked Tide as a three-score underdog. However, Saturday’s game will be a taller task with Texas A&M as the visitor in a night game. Drama surrounds this matchup too, after coaches Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher exchanged jabs in the offseason concerning recruiting tactics. Alabama (5-0) could be without its superstar quarterback Bryce Young, which gives Texas A&M (3-2) a real shot.
Texas A&M Aggies
Last year’s win over the Crimson Tide felt like a culture shift. The Aggies pieced together 2022’s top recruiting class, and they were labeled as College Football Playoff contenders for the 2022 season. However, it has been a disastrous start with a home loss (17-14) to Appalachian State and an embarrassing showing (42-24) on the road versus No. 23 Mississippi State. Discontent for Fisher is growing in Aggieland.
Even if Young does not play, this will be a difficult challenge. Alabama’s backup quarterback Jalen Milroe and running back Jahmyr Gibbs were a two-headed monster against Arkansas. The defense’s biggest key is stopping the run. Texas A&M ranks 84th in allowed yards per carry (4.5) and 98th in allowed rushing yards per game (186). Plus, the secondary surrendered 329 passing yards in Week 5.
Furthermore, the offense has been horrible. It ranks 105th in points per game (19.5) and 112th in yards per game (295.5). Running back Devon Achane, who comes off 111 rushing yards, has been one of the few bright spots. Whether it was Haynes King or Max Johnson starting at quarterback, the passing game has struggled.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Ahead of the game, Saban has once again said Alabama must avoid the “rat poison.” This time it makes sense. The Crimson Tide are being labeled as heavy favorites, even with starting quarterback Young potentially out.
Through four games, the offensive line was not playing like the usual physically-imposing Alabama front. The unit made crucial progress in the 49-26 win over Arkansas. When Young went out with a shoulder injury, the Crimson Tide rode the run game, just like past Saban-led teams. Backup QB Milroe displayed his dual-threat ability with a 77-yard run. Transfer tailback Gibbs took over with 206 rushing yards, which included two rushing touchdowns of over 70 yards. The Tide will probably feed Gibbs more often due to his game-breaking speed.
Jahmyr Gibbs goes off again and then hits them with the “Night, Night.” pic.twitter.com/u3hN9uu6Ze
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 1, 2022
Overall, Alabama needs to be more consistent. The defense has sky-high potential, but it’s been spotty. For most of the season, the run defense has been dominant, but Arkansas ripped off some big plays on the ground during its comeback. Also, the Tide had 101 penalty yards. Luckily, there’s no team that’s head and shoulders above the rest. Georgia has struggled recently, which elevated the Tide to No. 1 in the AP Poll.
Texas A&M vs Alabama Injury Report
Texas A&M’s starting quarterback Johnson is questionable with a hand injury. Also, top wide receiver Ainias Smith is out for the season (ankle).
As mentioned, Alabama’s superstar QB Young is questionable (shoulder). Senior defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe will likely be out (neck), and safety Brian Branch is questionable (undisclosed).
Texas A&M vs Alabama Head-to-Head
Alabama has dominated the SEC for years. However, Texas A&M has experienced some success with two wins over the last 10 matchups. In both wins, Alabama was the top-ranked team. The Aggies’ last win (29-24) in Bryant-Denny Stadium was in a memorable 2012 matchup with Johnny “Football” Manziel headlining Texas A&M.
Texas A&M vs Alabama Game Information
- Game: Texas A&M vs Alabama
- Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m. ET
- Texas A&M vs Alabama Live Stream: ESPN
Texas A&M vs Alabama Betting Lines
Texas A&M vs Alabama Prediction
Even if Texas A&M was fully healthy, winning this game is unlikely. Injuries in the passing game are only making problems worse. Alabama’s defense will likely stack the box often as it looks to erase the Aggies’ rushing game. The Crimson Tide ranks third in allowed yards per carry (2.3). Moreover, Texas A&M’s poor run defense has its hands full against Alabama’s rushing attack. With Milroe’s dual-threat ability, the Tide can still cover without Young. Ultimately, the Aggies cannot score enough points to keep up with mighty Alabama.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.