As recently as 10 days ago, many national college football experts were high on Texas upsetting Alabama Football in Tuscaloosa. Much as changed since. Two reasons why are Jalen Milroe’s performance against Middle Tennessee State and Quinn Ewers’ performance against Rice.
Milroe was not perfect, but he was explosive. Ewers was not awful, but struggled with passes longer than 20 yards. One reason Ewers did not live up to ‘Texas has a better QB than Bama‘ billing was his offensive line. The Longhorns, allowing three sacks of Ewers, began the new season with one of the worst stats for pass protection in the FBS. The Texas O-Line was not Florida and South Carolina horrendous, but leaky against Rice was a weak performance. Rice was No. 91 in sacks last season. The Crimson Tide was No. 16 last season, and even without Will Anderson Jr., could be better this season.
As published by Sports Reference, Jalen Milroe was ninth-best in the FBS against MTSU in Passing Efficiency Rating. Milroe was just below Sam Hartman of Notre Dame. Quinn Ewers was outside the top 20, after week one.
Will those quarterback performances flip on Saturday night? They could, depending mostly on strong or weak performances from players not a quarterback. But if they don’t, the Longhorns could have a tough and disappointing night in Tuscaloosa.
Google searching game predictions on Thursday night showed the national mood has swung strongly in favor of an Alabama Crimson Tide win.
Alabama Football Game Predictions
- Early adopters picking an Alabama football win were Kirk Herbstreit, Josh Pate and Joel Klatt.
- For College Football News 12 of the 13 pickers predict a Crimson Tide win.
- Bill Bender of The Sporting News has Alabama winning 38-28.
- The most optimism for the Longhorns comes from CBS Sports, whose six predictions were equally split between the Longhorns and the Crimson Tide.
Most telling are the predictions coming from sites and individuals that for obvious reasons hope Texas will win. Our friend at Hook’Em Headlines, Andrew Miller predicts an Alabama 24-21 win. At hornsports.com in eight game predictions, the Longhorns were only picked twice.
Heartland College Sports is a site dedicated to Big 12 football. Perhaps the exiting programs Oklahoma and Texas are not in their favor. It is doubtful any pettiness influenced the site’s prediction which is Alabama 31 – Texas 27.
Can Texas win? Certainly the Horns can. In the top 20-30 players on each roster, Texas has comparable talent. No college football coach has as much experience as Steve Sarkisian in taking on Alabama pass defenses. Sark will have an early script that could be quite effective.
As long as the Crimson Tide holds up in the trenches, the Bryant-Denny crowd and Bama’s wave of physically tough linebackers, running backs, tight ends and defensive backs will be too much for Texas.