Given the historic ties, Alabama Football and the Texas Aggies usually welcome contests with each other.
The Alabama football program may be welcoming again on Saturday. Bonds between the two programs go back to Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings. The Aggies may be in no reciprocal mood. Jimbo’s team is 1-0 and ranked No. 13 in the AP and Coaches Polls. The rankings are small dips from the week before, but more than a few Aggies’ fans worry their team is overrated.
Saturday in College Station, the Vanderbilt Commodores trailed only 7-5 at the half. The 30-point favorite Aggies won by five points, 17-12. The Dores had multiple chances for a fourth-quarter drive to win the game.
The Dores were 3-9 last season, winning only one SEC game. Might they be greatly improved in 2020? If they are not, the Aggies are considerably overrated. In southeast Texas, the Dores are on no one’s mind. All thoughts and consternation are about the Aggies.
One voice of the Brazos, had this to say.
"A&M struggled in all three phases. The offense had three turnovers, no continuity and woeful execution at critical times. The defense couldn’t get off the field often enough, and A&M’s special teams had a couple ugly plays that would’ve had junior high coaches hopping mad."
Jimbo Fisher’s rapid-fire speech style can often blow past tough questions. It did him no good Saturday. No matter how fast he talked there were no easy answers. Another local media outlet had this to say.
"(On post-game comments by Jimbo ) sugar could be spun into cotton candy all night, but it wouldn’t change the hard fact that A&M struggled to pull out a victory over what many in Nashville feel could be one of the worst Vanderbilt teams of all time."
This is year three for Jimbo Fisher in College Station. The program is awash in financial resources even a questionable $75M guaranteed contract for Jimbo cannot dent. The Aggies should win and most often win big. Jimbo was supposed to bring that to College Station. Suddenly, rosy expectations have become tainted.
How will the Aggies bounce back against the Crimson Tide? Every team gets up for an Alabama football game. The Aggies have the extra incentive of embarrassing themselves in the season opener.
Though pleased with much Saturday night, Nick Saban was not pleased with the Tide’s diminished intensity in the second half. The Aggies will not be the only team with something to prove on Saturday.
According to The Action Network, the Alabama Crimson Tide opened as a 16.5 point favorite. Most books have the Tide at minus-17.5 now.
One early take on the game is the Aggies fought past poor play against Vandy, largely by the running of Isaiah Spiller. Spiller rushed for 117 yards on just eight carries. Eli Drinkwitz has a run-heavy offense and he attempted to use it against the Tide with 23 carries from his running backs and three runs by the backup quarterback. The result was 104 net yards of offense. Running on the fast Alabama football defense will not be as easy as last season. Jimbo, Isaiah Spiller and Kellen Mond will learn that Saturday.
In fairness to the Aggies and Jimbo, they probably held some offense back against Vandy. The Crimson Tide defense may see new wrinkles this Saturday.