The Alabama Crimson Tide—the No. 1 ranked school in the nation with a 9-0 record—will host No. 15 Texas A&M (7-2) in a SEC showdown guaranteed to entertain.
Alabama was nearly dethroned last weekend against conference rival LSU, but the Crimson Tide avoided a dramatic upset by marching downfield for a touchdown on their final possession.
Bama is likely feeling invincible after dodging a bullet, but it's necessary it remains focused against an Aggies team that has been better than advertised in 2012. If they take their eyes off the objective this week, then an upset is not out of the question.
A&M has won seven of its last eight games with its most recent loss coming against LSU—the team that nearly took down Alabama.
Western Carolina and Auburn are the only other teams left on Alabama's schedule, which means the Aggies are realistically the only remaining team capable of preventing another National Championship appearance for the Crimson Tide, unless Georgia or Florida can rise to the occasion in the SEC Championship.
For that reason, this is a scenario where both teams will be at the top of their games, making this a can't-miss occasion with serious BCS implications.
It's Monday and Texas A&M fans are already calling for the Alabama upset. It's going to be a fun week. #SEC— The SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo) November 5, 2012
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
When: Saturday, November 10, 3:30 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS, CBS Live (Live Stream)
Listen: XM 91 (SiriusXM)
Spread: Alabama -15.5 (Odds Shark)
It's no surprise that undefeated Alabama is entering the game as heavy favorites over Texas A&M, and rightfully so.
In nine games, Alabama has defeated their opponent by 25 or more points on seven occasions, with LSU and Ole Miss being the only exceptions.
The Aggies have lost two games this season, but their worst loss came against the LSU Tigers, who won by a mere five points.
A&M has been competitive in every game this season, so while Alabama typically wins in a dominating fashion, they'll struggle to cover the spread this week.
Injury Report (USA Today)
RB Eddie Lacy (Leg)
RB Dee Hart (Knee)
WR DeAndrew White (Knee)
RB Jalston Fowler (Knee)
DB Jarrick Williams (Knee)
WR Chris Black (Shoulder)
OL Shep Klinke (Foot)
RB Brandon Williams (Eligibility)
Alabama enters this game as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, while Texas A&M is sitting at No. 15 in the BCS standings.
Obviously, Alabama is the team with the most to lose. A loss wouldn't knock them out of the top-10, but it would spoil their National Championship dreams, unless two of the other undefeated schools—Notre Dame, Oregon, Kansas State—were to pick up a loss as well.
A loss for Texas A&M will not inflict major damage, as a team cannot be heavily penalized for falling to the top team in the nation, but it would certainly drop them to the high-teens.
If the Aggies pull off an upset, they'll certainly be ranked as the best two-loss school in the country, which would put them around No. 9 overall, at the very least.
Alabama Players to Watch
RB T.J. Yeldon
T.J. Yeldon coughed up a costly fumble against LSU a week ago, but he bounced back with a 28-yard touchdown catch to give Alabama the lead on their final drive of the game.
Yeldon finished the game with 104 yards from scrimmage and leads Alabama with 725 rushing yards on the season.
It will be interesting to see if Yeldon can keep his momentum going against Texas A&M, but more importantly, he needs to avoid making costly mistakes. Alabama cannot afford a drive-killing fumble against a team as good as Texas A&M.
QB A.J. McCarron
A.J. McCarron suffered a back injury against Mississippi State, but the Crimson Tide quarterback was not forced to miss any time.
But while he suited up for the LSU game, the Tigers held him to a modest 165 yards passing with a 51.9 percent completion percentage.
The mediocre numbers could be a result of LSU's defensive dominance, but it's possible his recent injury held him back.
It should be interesting to see if McCarron is at the top of his game against Texas A&M, or if he struggles once again.
Texas A&M Players to Watch
QB Johnny Manziel
It's impossible to watch Texas A&M without zeroing in on the multi-talented quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Manziel is the SEC version of Braxton Miller and can devastate an opposing defense either on the ground or through the air.
Manziel has 2527 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, while he has added another 922 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.
Manziel is the heart of the offense and he will need to be at the top of his game for the Aggies to pull off the upset.
WR Mike Evans
Freshman receiver Mike Evans has been Johnny Manziel's go-to-guy for most of the season as he leads the team with 56 catches and 802 yards.
Evans needs to save Manziel from Alabama's pass rush by shredding the secondary and getting open almost instantly.
If Manziel has his favorite target running on all cylinders, it will make it much easier for the Aggies to sustain drives.
This will be an interesting match-up between the two top-scoring teams in the SEC Conference.
Texas A&M leads SEC with 44.7 points per game. Alabama is 2nd, averaging 38.4 points. #TAMUvsBAMA— Drew Roberts (@DrewSDS) November 5, 2012
We already knew that Alabama was capable of blowing out inferior opponents, but last week they proved that they can come out on top in nail-biters as well.
Texas A&M is exceeding expectations in its inaugural SEC season, but their only victory over a real opponent was against Mississippi State last week, while the rest of their victories have been against underdog opponents.
This game should have some entertainment value, but Alabama will come out on top and the SEC Championship is the only thing standing between them and a BCS Title game appearance.