Alabama Crimson Tide at Texas A&M Aggies (+7.5, 60)
The two-time defending national champions take on the Heisman Trophy quarterback who nearly derailed their title defense a year ago when top-ranked Alabama travels to No. 6 Texas A&M for a Southeastern Conference showdown Saturday afternoon. Star quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies put their nation-best eight-game winning streak on the line against Alabama's vaunted defense in one of the most-anticipated matchups of the season. Last year in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Manziel's Heisman campaign hit high gear when he orchestrated a 29-24 upset of the undefeated Crimson Tide.
Coach Nick Saban has had two weeks to prepare for Manziel and the Aggies' high-powered offense, as the Crimson Tide had a week off following a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech in the opener. Alabama hasn't lost a road or neutral-site game since Nov. 6, 2010, a span of 15 games - the longest active streak in the nation. It's the first trip to College Station, Texas, for the Crimson Tide since a 30-10 victory in 1988.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 90s with partly cloudy skies and a 10 percent chance of rain. Winds blowing ENE at 6 mph.
LINE: Alabama opened as a 6-point favorite and was bet up as high as -9.5 before coming down to -7.5. Total opened at 56 and was bet up as high as 63 before coming down to 60 points.
ABOUT ALABAMA (1-0, 1-0 ATS): The Crimson Tide were dominant on defense and special teams against the Hokies but experienced the growing pains associated with an inexperienced offensive line. Three of Alabama's five touchdowns in the opener were produced by the defense and special teams, and Christion Jones accounted for three of the scores with a 74-yard punt return, a 93-yard kickoff return and a 39-yard touchdown catch. The non-traditional scores helped mask a lackluster offensive effort, as Alabama managed only 206 total yards.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (2-0, 1-1 ATS): Coach Kevin Sumlin's team continues to put up huge offensive numbers, averaging 58.5 points and 600 yards through two games, but the defense has been susceptible even against inferior opponents. After being suspended for the first half of the opener against Rice, Manziel came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes, and he rolled up 462 total yards and four scores (three passing) last week against Sam Houston State. The Aggies might need more eye-popping numbers from Manziel this week, as the defense has surrendered 29.5 points and 449.5 yards per contest.
* Crimson Tide are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games.
* Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last four conference games.
* Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 32-17 SU and ATS in revenge spots during his college career – including 11-0 SU and 8-3 ATS when favored by more than seven points.
* Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is 0-6 ATS in his career against .666 or greater foes with revenge.
1. Since the start of the 2008 season, Alabama is 41-0 when it has fewer turnovers than its opponent and 51-0 when rushing for at least 140 yards.
2. Texas A&M is 1-4 all-time at home against top-ranked teams. Alabama is the first No. 1 team to visit College Station since the Aggies upset Oklahoma 30-26 in 2002.
3. The Aggies have surpassed 400 total yards in 14 consecutive games. Alabama has not allowed an opponent to reach 400 yards since Texas A&M did so last season.