Game preview: Texas A&M-Alabama


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It's back to reality for the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon. Last weekend's thrilling win over LSU now behind them, it's on to the task of facing No. 15 Texas A&M with a shot at clinching the SEC West crown.

"It's going to be key to our success," UA quarterback AJ McCarron said of the potential to wrap up a date in the conference title game. "You always want to be at the top of your own conference and finish out strong in the bowl game. Like I said, it's going to be a tough game this week. It's definitely not going to be a pushover. We're going to have to come out ready to play and jump on them early."

McCarron stressed the importance of getting over last weekend's game, a win he said will rank among his most memorable only if it leads to something more. After all, a loss against Texas A&M would extinguish Alabama's title chances, so what did the win in Baton Rouge mean then?

"If we finish out like we're supposed to, probably one of the greatest wins I've been a part of in my life," McCarron said. "The win only means so much if you finish out strong. If we don't finish out strong, it really doesn't factor in, really. Just another win."

With Johnny Manziel and the Aggies coming to town for the 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff, all focus is on the task at hand. Fans can chew on the LSU win all they want, but that's behind the players for now.

UA coach Nick Saban said he's been pleased with his team's effort and attention to detail this week, something they'll need come game time.

"This is a very challenging game for us," he said. "I think the focus is, for us, that we're able to keep executing the things with the kind of discipline and focus we need, the kind of effort, the kind of toughness so that we can continue to improve. … They do a good job of executing, having the discipline, playing a 60 minute game. I'm sure it's going to take that."