College Football Picks: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #6 Texas A&M Aggies
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #6 Texas A&M Aggies
Kyle Field – College Station, Texas
Saturday, September 14, 2013, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Alabama -7
Current Line: Alabama -7 1/2
Opening Total: 63
Current Total: 62
Opening Money Line: Alabama -270 / Texas A&M +225
Current Money Line: Alabama -300 / Texas A&M +250
Although it is only September, some experts are already calling this the game of the year. Both the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide and #6 Texas A&M Aggies have national championship aspirations, but first they must win the SEC West and the SEC Championship game. The last seven national champions have come from the SEC.
This is the sixth ever meeting between the schools. Alabama leads the series 3-2. Texas A&M went into Tuscaloosa last year and gave the eventual national champions Alabama their only loss of the season 29-24. The upset put Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel on the map nationally and he would go on to become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
Alabama, coached by Nick Saban, is 1-0 this season. The Crimson Tide took last week off after a 35-10 season opening win over Virginia Tech in Atlanta. Alabama covered the 21.5 point spread and the total was a push at 45. Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a 72 yard punt return from Christion Jones and a 2 yard touchdown run from T.J. Yeldon. Virginia Tech scored late in the quarter on a 77 yard run from Trey Edmunds to make it 14-7. In the second quarter, Alabama added a 38 yard pick six and Jones returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Virginia tech kicked a field goal in between the two Bama touchdowns to make it 28-10 at halftime. Alabama scored late in the third on a 38 yard touchdown pass from quarterback A.J. McCarron to Jones. Neither team would score again.
While Alabama scored 35 points and won by 25, the offense didn’t do much. The Crimson Tide had only 206 total yards and 11 first downs. Virginia Tech didn’t much either. The Hokies had 212 total yards and 7 first downs. If you take out the 77 yard run, Virginia Tech had only 135 yards for the rest of the game. Alabama was 6/17 on third down conversions and Virginia Tech was 2/17. Neither attempted a fourth down conversion. Each team had one turnover, Virginia Tech had 7 penalties had 7 penalties for 35 yards and Alabama had 4 for 25.
McCarron completed 10 of 23 passes for 110 yards, with a touchdown and a pick. He was sacked 4 times though and lost 23 yards. Yeldon had 17 carries, 75 yards and a touchdown. Jones had 256 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Amari Cooper had 4 catches for 38 yards. Three Alabama defensive players (DB Geno Smith, DL Wilson Love and DL Dalvin Tomlinson) are all questionable or doubtful Saturday.
Texas A&M, coached by Kevin Sumlin, is 2-0 this season with blowout wins over Rice 52-31 and Sam Houston State 65-28. The Aggies are 1-1 ATS and the total is 2-0. Texas A&M was a 35 point favorite against Sam Houston Stand the total was 75.5. The Aggies took a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. TAMU expanded the lead to 30-14 at halftime. The teams would combine for 49 points in the third quarter with A&M outscoring them 35-14. Neither team would score again for the rest of the game, and the Aggies won by 37. Texas A&M cranked out 714 total yards including 477 passing yards.
Manziel has completed 69.4% of his passes for 497 yards with 6 touchdowns and an interception, along with 55 rushing yards and a touchdown. He was suspended for the first half of the game against Rice by the NCAA. Running back Ben Malena has 22 carries, 173 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 catches and 39 yards with a touchdown. Tra Carson has 23 carries, 127 yards and 4 touchdowns. Receiver Mike Evans has 13 carries, 239 yards and 2 touchdowns. Six defensive starters return from a two game suspension for this game for violating team rules.
Alabama is 5-1 ATS after gaining less than 275 total yards, 7-2 against teams with winning home records, 20-8 in road games, 15-6 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 14-6 in September, and 2-5 against teams with winning records.
Texas A&M is 4-0 ATS in SEC games, and in September, 6-1 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 5-1 after a straight up win, and after passing for 280 yards or more, 4-1 after scoring 40 points or more, after rushing for more than 200 yards, against teams with winning records, and after a straight up win of 20 points or more. 10-3 after gaining 450 yards or more, 6-2 overall, and after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 5-2 after a cover, and on grass.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has publicly said this game isn’t about revenge. He has to say that, as to not create any bulletin board material. Alabama struggled on offense against Virginia Tech, but Texas A&M hasn’t been good on defense. Granted the return of six defensive starters should help. I think Alabama pulls away late but A&M keeps it close until the fourth.
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