For Saturday night’s game, the betting odds favor Alabama Football with a 7-point spread over Texas. While that spread feels about right when factoring in Alabama’s home crowd, there is a better reason to bet on the Crimson Tide, at least as a ‘straight up’ pick to win.
That reason is the Alabama football history under Nick Saban. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama so rarely loses as a highly-ranked favorite, picking the Crimson Tide Saturday night is a near no-brainer. There is more detail on that history below, but a tease is it has only happened twice.
The motivation for this post came from comments made by Joel Klatt to Mark Cowherd. In the video below Klatt pointed out,
"top-five teams were 30-1 at home last year, with Ohio State suffering the only loss to Michigan.“I don’t think that we appreciate how difficult it is in college football to beat a top-five team in their own building. It just doesn’t happen.”"
Alabama Football Losing in Tuscaloosa
Going back to Nick Saban’s second season in Tuscaloosa in 2008, Alabama, ranked in the top 10, has lost a total of five games in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Three of those losses cannot be compared to this season’s Alabama vs. Texas game, because in those three games, Alabama hosted a higher-ranked team. Those games were in 2010, 2011 and 2019.
Alabama was ranked No. 9 in 2010 and lost to No. 2 Auburn, 28-27 and Auburn needed multiple fluke plays to pull off the win. In 2011, when No. 2 Alabama lost to LSU, 9-6, LSU was ranked No. 1. The 2019 loss was similar with Alabama No.2 and LSU No. 1, plus Tua Tagovailoa basically played the game on one leg.
The two outliers are 2012 and 2015. Texas A&M, ranked No. 15 beat a No. 1 ranked Alabama team in 2012. In 2015, Ole Miss was also ranked No. 15 and beat the No. 2 ranked Crimson Tide.
Joel Klatt explained he is not discounting that the Longhorns are an improved team. He is also aware Alabama may have some vulnerable weaknesses. But in talking with Cowherd, Klatt could not go far enough to pick the Longhorns to win.
"I want to say, ‘Hey, Texas is ready.’ Their roster is ready. I think they actually have the better quarterback in this matchup. Alabama, I’m not sure. They don’t have Bryce Young to bail them out. Even after saying all of that, I just don’t think Texas can win there."
Note: Ranking history for this post, provided by Sports Reference
Stay tuned for more Bama Hammer insight into why Alabama will be too much for the Longhorns.