No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, Texas A&M Aggies preview, game time, outlook


Alabama football coach Nick Saban never really shows off his personality. Usually, the Tide have to endure a loss at some point in the season in order to wake them up to their true potential.

Alabama's football roster lists 11 players from the state of Texas, including quarterback Jalen Hurts from Houston and defensive back Tony Brown from Beaumont.

Saban said Hurts is improving his ability to consider his options when he starts to scramble.

Does Texas A&M even have a chance or does Alabama clean up shop and move on? Prior to quarterback Deondre Francois going down at the end of the game, the Crimson Tide were still handling Jimbo Fisher's team and ultimately knocked off a top competitor that day. Alabama has allowed three points in their first two SEC games, combined.

Without that agonizing second half, which saw UCLA score 35 unanswered points in the last 20 minutes to pull out a 45-44 victory, Texas A&M would be undefeated and probably highly ranked going into Saturday's home game against Alabama.

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A&M has since rebounded and started SEC play 2-0 with wins over Arkansas and SC. For example, Alabama's offense has four different players with 199 yards or better on the ground this season. Hurts gets over 100 yards rushing and finds Ridley for at least two touchdowns. I think we have approached things like that since week one.

There are a lot of answers to this question. Hurts is better this season at throwing the ball down the field on extended plays.

Hurts hasn't put up the big passing numbers, but that might not matter if he continues to add to the number of touchdowns he has engineered. Payne set a career high last week with seven tackles against Ole Miss, and is now tied for the team lead in tackles with 23, most of which have come against the run. He has a dozen tackles on the season along with three quarterback hurries. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, however, is trying to downplay that notion with his players. Though Patterson is noted for escaping pressure and extending plays, the Crimson Tide shut him down - minus-16 rushing yards - in a 66-3 blowout. Early indications from Las Vegas also has Alabama predicted as five touchdown favorites over Tennessee and almost four touchdown favorites over LSU.

Saban said he hadn't even really thought about it, noting "maybe that's a mistake on our part", but saying they are treating it like a business trip. As long as Alabama can avoid upset by anyone on their schedule, look for the Tide to return to the National Championship Game yet again this year with redemption on their minds. He has rushed for 376 yards for the season, averaging 8.4 yard per carry with a team-best six touchdowns.