2. Alabama Football will finally get an impact performance from Ja’Corey Brooks
Junior wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks has had a puzzling career in a lot of ways. He burst onto the scene in 2021 when he became an Iron Bowl hero as a true freshman, snagging a touchdown pass from Bryce Young to force overtime in an eventual Alabama victory. That same year, Brooks was part of a young group of receivers that failed to step up in the national championship game after Jameson Williams and John Metchie III went down with ACL injuries.
As a sophomore in 2022, Ja’Corey Brooks got off to a slow start before finding his stride in the fourth game of the season against Vanderbilt. Brooks wasn’t exactly a model of consistency throughout last season, but he eventually became the steadiest member of a largely unpredictable receiving corps.
In 2023, Ja’Corey Brooks is now a draft-eligible upperclassman. He was expected to assume a leadership role and have his best season yet, but Brooks has been a non-factor through two games, much like he was in 2022.
He was suspended for the first half of the game against Middle Tennessee State, and then failed to make an impact in the highly-anticipated matchup between Bama and Texas. After leading the Tide in touchdown receptions last year, Ja’Corey Brooks hasn’t even made a catch so far in 2023.
South Florida hasn’t exactly been a stingy pass defense, so this is as good a week as any for Brooks to find his rhythm before SEC play kicks off.
3. Alabama Football will not allow an offensive touchdown
Although neither side of the ball played well last week, I believe the Alabama defense is significantly further along than the offense, and will likely be the strength of this team until the quarterback situation is figured out.
Most of the college football world wrote off the Alabama defense last week after seeing Quinn Ewers throw for 349 yards and post 34 points, but further context indicates that Bama’s defensive effort wasn’t as bad as the statistics implied.
Even if it still has some kinks to work out, this can be a top-10 defense nationally, if not better. So far this season, run defense is the unit’s relative strength, allowing just 91.5 yards per game on 2.9 yards per carry.
A South Florida offense that already relies heavily on the ground game (and may have to do so even more this week given the weather conditions) should not fare well.