October 8th has been circled on the calendar for many college football fans because it’s the first meeting since former allies and now feuding head coaches, Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban, had a public spat in the offseason.
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, October 08, 2022 – 08:00 PM EDT at Bryant-Denny Stadium
Alabama’s star quarterback, Bryce Young, went down in the second quarter of last week’s 49-26 victory over Arkansas with a shoulder injury.
Fortunately, they had another redshirt freshman Jalen Milroe waiting in the wings, who turned the tide of the game with a 77-yard run on third and long in the fourth.
The spark came at a pivotal time, as Arkansas had rallied from a 28-0 deficit to score a touchdown in the waning seconds of the first half and proceeded to dominate the third quarter by scoring 16 unanswered points.
Alabama was clinging to a tenuous 28-23 lead before they switched to a run-heavy offense that allowed them to outscore Arkansas 21-3 in the final frame.
Junior running back, Jahmyr Gibbs, proved to be a one-man wrecking crew for the Tide as he had 72- and 76-yard rushing touchdowns within six minutes of each other in the fourth quarter.
Gibbs ended with 206 rushing yards on 18 carries for a whopping 11.4 yards per carry average.
As for Bryce Young, Saban didn’t appear too concerned as he stated, "Bryce has a little AC sprain in his shoulder. We'll have to take it day-to-day. I think he's OK. He doesn't have a serious injury."
“He couldn't go back in the game today because I didn’t think he had much steam throwing the ball,” Saban added. "He’s had these before and, in a few days, he’s responded really well. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Jimbo Fisher came away with the best recruiting class in the nation and many believe it might be the best in history. Yet, rumors persist that Fisher’s success had more to do with buying his players through NIL deals than the standard rah-rah, sis-boom-bah, “we’re gonna win a championship” approach.
That led to a very public back-and-forth quarrel between the Texas A&M head coach and his former mentor, Nick Saban.
Alabama has always had a leg up on the rest of the schools during the recruiting season because of its storied legacy and the enormous number of players who find fame and fortune at the next level, the National Football League.
I bring this up because this game is extremely personal and it is an important factor to consider because there will be no mercy given or gentleman’s agreement.
To wit, don’t expect the winning side to kneel on first and goal with under a minute remaining and the game out of reach.
No, if either coach has the opportunity to plunge the dagger even deeper, I fully expect them to do so. And if that coach is Saban, it could have a bearing on an ATS cover.
Texas A&M vs. Alabama: Pick and Prediction
I am not prone to betting on teams based on pure emotion. I believe it is one of the most overrated handicapping tools because we have seen many examples of teams in a must-win situation come up flat.
And yet, we always hear the same refrain from the public who got burned, yet again, griping that they don’t know how it could happen.
Well, it happens because once the whistle starts, the focus changes from the personal to the task at hand, and sometimes the other team is simply too good on that particular day.
However, there are exceptions to every rule and this game qualifies:
- Nick Saban has been virtually immune to criticism during his 16-year tenure at Tuscaloosa because his record speaks for itself. It’s hard to criticize a guy who does what he does better than anyone else in the history of the game. Jimbo Fisher snapped that streak and Saban won’t forget it when he game plans for this one.
- This is a revenge game for Saban and the Tide. Last year Texas A&M stunned Bama, 41-38, as an 18-point home underdog in College Station in top-rated sportsbooks. You don’t think that’s in the back of Saban’s mind?
- Texas A&M just isn’t that good. The 17-14 loss to Appalachia State told us the Aggies were not what many predicted they would be this year. And their blowout loss to Mississippi State last week only confirmed our suspicions.
- If there is one sport that can be most affected by the venue, it’s college football. Only a few stadiums rival the rabid Alabama fans who are always at a fever pitch regardless of the opponent. But on Saturday, you will see over 100,000 maniacs screaming for Jimbo Fisher’s scalp after he dared to insult the legend himself.
- The Tide owns a punishing offense and an excellent, although not historic, defense. Conversely, Fisher’s A&M offense is ranked 97th in rushing yards, 101st in passing yards, 104th in total yards, and 109th in points scored, averaging only 21.8 points per game. How will they stay within the margins? Answer: They won’t.
Score Prediction: Alabama 44 - Texas A&M 17
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.