6'3"Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m. ET
The game of the year will come down to one simple question: "Will Alabama shut down Johnny Manziel?"
The answer is "yes, sort of."
Alabama won't lose the same way it did last season. The Crimson Tide won't let Manziel become "Johnny Football" and break the game open with his legs. Expect head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to emphasize to their front seven to play contain and force the reigning Heisman Trophy winner to beat them with his arm.
There's only one problem, though. He will.
Manziel tossed for 403 yards against Sam Houston State for two reasons. First, he wanted to get acquainted with some new or inexperienced receivers like freshman Ja'Quay Williams and sophomore Saban Holmes. Second, he wanted to plant a seed of doubt in Alabama's game preparation.
Williams (6'3"), Mike Evans (6'5") and Ricky Seals-Jones (6'5") create matchup nightmares for Alabama's relatively inexperienced cornerbacks. That trio, along with Holmes, Malcome Kennedy and the Aggies' tight ends—who have been noticeably absent from the game plan in A&M's first two games—will force Alabama's safeties to help out in coverage, which will open up running lanes for Manziel later in the game.
With the exception of safety Floyd Raven's injury, this is the first time all season that we will see the real A&M defense. Considering Alabama's offensive line woes, it will do enough to force a mistake or two.
Prediction: Texas A&M 28, Alabama 24