Previewing Alabama Football regular-season games: Texas A&M


As the pundit season winds down, a popular claim is Alabama Football will have a big challenge on Oct. 9. The Texas A&M Aggies finished No. 4 in last season’s final AP Poll.  In College Station, it was believed they were more deserving of a Playoff slot than Notre Dame.

Optimism abounds in College Station this preseason and it is fueled by the highest expectations in Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies’ tenure. A few national college football pundits also believe TAMU has a real chance to knock off the Crimson Tide and win the SEC West.

One reason that might be correct is Jimbo has recruited well. Based on the 247Sports Composite, the Aggies have had a top-eight class in each of the last three recruiting cycles. Jimbo cannot match Nick Saban’s talent across the board, but in some position groups, the Aggies are comparable.

TAMU Defensive Coordinator, Mike Elko has steadily improved the defense. His side of the ball returned nine starters last season and still surrendered 52 points to the Crimson Tide. Elko returns nine starters again in 2021 and almost all of last season’s two-deep. His defense could be better than last season, particularly in the secondary. In 2020, the Aggies were No. 3 in the SEC and No. 28 in the FBS in Scoring Defense. The Aggies are counting on a strong defense and a less explosive Alabama Football offense to cause an upset.

The problem areas for the Aggies are at quarterback and offensive line. Four o-line starters must be replaced. Inserting an unproven quarterback behind a rebuilt offensive line is not a scenario for knocking off No. 1 ranked teams. The Crimson Tide’s defensive front could be too much for the new offensive line and when it is, the Aggies’ new QB starter will be vulnerable.

The top candidates to start at QB are Haynes King and Zach Calzada. Both are mobile QBs, but neither is close to the level of Kellen Mond. Wide receiver and tight end are major strengths for the Aggies, but there is no assurance King or Calzada can consistently throw the football on time and accurately.

As he did last season, Jimbo can rely on the running game – if the new o-line can provide adequate running lanes. Some experts consider the duo of running backs Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane the best pair of running backs in the SEC.

Alabama Football vs. Texas A&M Position Groups

  • QuarterbackAdvantage Crimson Tide
  • Running Backs – The Tide is loaded and its depth should give it the edge by October. For now, mainly because of Spiller – Slight advantage TAMU
  • Wide Receiver and Tight Ends – Another position group that might rate differently in October but for now – Advantage TAMU
  • Offensive LineDecided Advantage Crimson Tide
  • Defensive LineEven
  • LinebackersBig Advantage Crimson Tide
  • SecondaryAdvantage Crimson Tide
  • Special TeamsAdvantage Crimson Tide

The Aggies should be 5-0 and having hardly been challenged when the Crimson Tide travels to Kyle Field. Jimbo might have the second or third best team in the SEC, and playing at home, they could give the Tide a tough fight.

Next. Among top teams, Tide schedule is the toughest. dark

Alabama Football can push its Aggie win streak to nine games. If it does, the high expectations in College Station will plummet.