Texas A&M (3-2) travels to face #1 Alabama (5-0) in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Aggies are effectively out of the playoffs after losing 42-24 to Mississippi State, but they can still spoil Alabama’s bid for a perfect season.
The Tide, meanwhile, defeated Arkansas 49-26 behind an exceptional performance from RB Jahmyr Gibbs. The victory came at a cost though because QB Bryce Young sprained his shoulder. He is considered day-to-day, and it’s unclear whether he will be able to play.
Can Jimbo Fisher defeat his former boss Nick Saban? A&M’s odds are found below, as well as picks and predictions.
Texas A&M vs. Alabama Odds
Despite Young’s injury, Alabama is a heavy favorite. The spread is mostly found at -24 Alabama, and A&M’s moneyline can be found at around +1300. The over under sits at 51.5 total points. Alabama has hit the over for this specific mark in 4 of their 5 games this season. A&M, on the other hand, has accomplished this in 1 of 5 games.
Texas A&M vs. Alabama Prediction
Taking Alabama to cover is the best bet for this matchup even when factoring in Jalen Milroe as the likely starter. Although the Tide plainly possess a serious talent advantage, they are also a nightmare matchup for A&M based on strengths and weaknesses.
Of 131 teams, the Aggies rank 127th in run defense, while Alabama ranks 2nd in rushing offense and 13th in run blocking (per PFF). RB Jahmyr Gibbs is coming off a dominant showing against Arkansas where he ran for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 attempts. He may be the most elusive back in college football, which will be lethal when combined with the sizable holes opened up by the offensive line.
Milroe isn’t close to Young’s level as a passer, but he’s a freak athlete who can do enough passing-wise while having the impact of an elite running back. He displayed his elusiveness and vision on a fantastic 77-yard run versus Arkansas. Gibbs will be electric, and adding Milroe’s rushing to the mix makes Alabama borderline unstoppable especially considering they also own a stable of talented receivers.
Meanwhile, Alabama’s defense can suffocate A&M’s anemic offense. The Aggies rank 121st in passing offense (per PFF) because of lead receiver Ainias Smith’s season ending injury and mediocre quarterback play from both Max Johnson and Haynes King. Their lifeless air attack now must challenge a fantastic secondary that has NFL talent starting at every position.
A&M’s offensive strength has assuredly been their run game. Unfortunately for them, Alabama ranks 1st in PFF’s run defense and is holding opponents to 2.3 yards per rush. They managed to limit Texas RB Bijan Robinson (the best running back in the nation) to 57 yards on 21 carries. Arkansas’ dynamic duo of Sanders and Jefferson accumulated 140 rushing yards against Alabama, but it took them 39 carries to do so.
Overall, it’s a brutal matchup for the Aggies. Given the talent disparity and roster strengths, I believe A&M lands in the 14-17 point range while Alabama lands in the 45-52 range.
Texas A&M vs. Alabama Key Matchups
QB Jalen Milroe vs. Texas A&M Front Seven
Milroe is a raw, inexperienced passer who doesn’t have chemistry with his receivers. The Aggies must exploit Milroe’s unpolished game and force him to beat them through the air, which could easily lead to interceptions. In order to accomplish this, it’s essential that A&M contains him and removes his scrambling ability. While I don’t see them actually achieving this, it’s their only hope to keep this game somewhat close. Otherwise, Alabama will march down the field and score at will through their efficient ground game.
WHAT A RUN BY JALEN MILROE!!🔥
(Alabama would get the TD a few plays later)
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 1, 2022
RB Devon Achane vs. Alabama Front Seven
Achane has been the only consistent source of offense for the Aggies due to his versatility as a runner and pass catcher. Because his rushing ability is expected to be severely compromised here, he has to get involved in the passing game. Slipping to the flat and providing an outlet will improve Max Johnson’s effectiveness. However, if Alabama can snuff out the spark he brings, then A&M’s offense may not score 10 points.
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) September 25, 2022
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