#6 Texas A&M Aggies at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, October 22, 2016, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Opening Line: Alabama -16 1/2
Current Line: Alabama -17 1/2
Opening Total: 61
Current Total: 60 1/2
Opening Money Line: Alabama -1000 / Texas A&M +700
Current Money Line: Alabama -1000 / Texas A&M +700
The Texas A&M Aggies are #6 in the country, 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC. Despite all of this and coming off a bye to boot, the Aggies are 17.5 point underdogs as they travel to the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday. Alabama is 7-0 and also 4-0 in the SEC. At one point this week, Alabama was a 19 point favorite. it is only the sixth time in the last 30 years that one top ten team has been favored by two touchdowns or more against another top ten team.
Alabama leads the series 6-2 against Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide have won three straight games against the Aggies including 41-23 in College Station last year. Two years ago in Tuscaloosa, Alabama destroyed Texas A&M 59-0.
Texas A&M is coached by Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies have home wins over UCLA 31-24, Prairie View 67-0 and Tennessee 45-38 in double overtime plus a neutral site win against Arkansas 45-24 in Arlington, Texas. Texas A&M has road wins over Auburn 29-16 and South Carolina 24-13. The Aggies led 28-7 midway through the third quarter against Tennessee, but the Volunteers would rally to force overtime. Texas A&M was a 7.5 point favorite against Tennessee and the total was 60.5. The Aggies are 4-2 ATS and the total is 2-3-1 this season.
Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have a neutral site win over USC 52-6 in Arlington, Texas, home wins over Western Kentucky 38-10, Kent State 48-0 and Kentucky 34-6. Alabama also has road wins at Ole Miss 48-43, Arkansas 49-30 and Tennessee 49-10 last week. The Crimson Tide led 21-7 at halftime against Tennessee and crushed them in the second half 28-3. Alabama had 594 total yards to 163 for Tennessee. The Crimson Tide scored two defensive touchdowns, extending their streak of scoring at least one non-offensive touchdown to nine games dating back to last season. Alabama was a 14 point favorite against Tennessee and the total was 54.5. The Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS and the total is 4-3 this season.
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Texas A&M is outscoring teams 40-19 this season. The Aggies are #23 or better in both categories. TAMU averages 533 yards per game including 259 passing and 274 rushing yards. The Aggies are in the top ten in total and rushing offense. On defense, the Aggies allow 438 yards per game including 278 passing and 159 rushing yards. Texas A&M is +6 in turnovers with 17 takeaways. The Aggies average 52 penalty yards per game and opponents average 51 per game. Texas A&M is 41/100 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 38/112. The Aggies have forced 20 sacks and allowed 6 this season. The Aggies are 25/30 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns and opponents are 17/26 with 11 touchdowns.
Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight has been lighting it up at quarterback this season for the Aggies. He has thrown for 1,500 yards with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 65 carries for 502 yards and 9 touchdowns. Jake Hubenak has also taken a few snaps.
Running back Trayveon Williams has 82 carries for 704 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 71 yards. Keith Ford has 49 carries for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 2 catches for 54 yards.
Receiver Josh Reynolds has 25 catches for 488 yards and 4 touchdowns. Christian Kirk has 40 catches for 352 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ricky Seals-Jones has 10 catches for 175 yards. He is questionable with a leg injury. Jeremy Tabuyo and Speedy Noil will also get some catches. Three defensive players are questionable or out, but the Aggies are a a lot healthier on defense than they were against Tennessee.
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Alabama is outscoring teams 45-15 this season. Alabama is #6 in scoring and #7 in points allowed nationally. The Crimson Tide average 505 yards per game on offense including 239 passing and 266 rushing yards. Alabama is in the top 16 nationally in total and rushing offense. Alabama is allowing 275 yards per game on defense including 210 passing and 65 rushing. The Crimson Tide are #5 in total offense and #1 against the rush nationally. The Crimson Tide are +4 in turnovers with 14 takeaways. Alabama averages 50 penalty yards per game and opponents average 30 per game. The Crimson Tide is 52/108 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 36/120. Alabama has forced 27 sacks and allowed 12 this season. The Crimson Tide are 27/32 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns, and opponents are 12/15 with five touchdowns. Alabama has 8 defensive touchdowns and 3 punt returns for touchdowns.
True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 1,385 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and has 74 carries for 428 yards with 8 touchdowns. Blake Barnett took a few snaps and has thrown for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. He left the program and transferred though. Cooper Bateman could also see a few snaps.
Running back Damien Harris has 69 carries for 572 yards and a touchdown and also has 8 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Jacobs has 43 catches for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 6 catches for 85 yards. Bo Scarbrough has 43 carries for 273 yards and 5 touchdowns. B.J. Emmons has 35 carries for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Receiver Calvin Ridley has 39 catches for 477 yards and 4 touchdowns plus a rushing touchdown. ArDarius Stewart has 26 catches for 379 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 4 carries for 58 rushing yards and a touchdown. Gehrig Dieter has 8 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown. Tight end O.J. Howard has 14 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown.
Texas A&M is 3-7 ATS after allowing 450 total yards or more, 8-19 in SEC games, 18-14-1 against teams with winning home records, 2-5 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 3-8 on grass, 7-19 in October, 4-11 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 2-6 against teams with winning records, and 1-6 after failing to cover.
Alabama is 10-2 ATS against teams with winning records, 5-1 after scoring more than 40 points, after gaining more than 450 total yards, and allowing less than 170 yards, 4-1 at home, after rushing for more than 200 yards and passing for less than 170 yards, 7-2 on grass, 10-4 overall, 16-7 in October, and 9-4 after a straight up win.
Alabama is the defending national champion but they might be a better team this year. I think this will be a high scoring game, with Texas A&M hanging around for a while before Alabama pulls away and wins by double digits.