Saturday, September 14, 2013
Finally, Alabama takes to Kyle Field
By Alex Scarborough
It's about time. The game, No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M, is finally, mercifully here. We're only a few short hours away from kickoff at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, where the rematch of the year will begin.
Can Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and the rest of the Alabama coaching staff solve the riddle that is Johnny Manziel? Can the Aggies defense rise up and stop the Crimson Tide offense as it did a year ago? Will AJ McCarron turn in the kind of performance in big games we've become accustomed to?
Finally, these questions can be answered.
After kickoff, we'll learn how far Alabama's troubled offensive line has come in the last two weeks and whether the running game can get back on track. We'll see whether Amari Cooper and the UA receiver corps can live up to its stellar preseason billing, and if the Tide's somewhat thin secondary can stand up to its toughest test to date. Will C.J. Mosley, the heartbeat of the defense, steal the show and shut down Johnny Football?
This game has been so anticipated for so long for a reason. Both teams have something to prove and everything to gain.
For Alabama, the week has been a contentious one. There's been all the talk about hype, but off-the-field distractions appeared again on Wednesday when Saban was forced to respond to a report that alleged wrongdoing from a former player. The buzz, it seemed, has reached a fever pitch.
For a few hours, though, we'll get to put the talk aside and watch the product on the football field as Alabama and Texas A&M go head to head. As you prepare for kickoff, take a look back at some of the key stories from the week that was:
What will it take for Alabama to win? How about Texas A&M? Who are the players to watch? And what about some key stats to the game? A detailed preview of the game awaits.
What happens on the field could be huge for Alabama and Texas A&M on the recruiting trail, writes Jeremy Crabtree. Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 player in the ESPN 300 and an Alabama target, will be on hand.
ESPN SEC bloggers Chris Low and Edward Aschoff believe the Tide will get their revenge and beat Texas A&M in this week's SEC predictions.