Two teams with hopes of finishing on top of the SEC West will meet Saturday in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week when Texas A&M plays host to No. 11 Alabama in a showdown that also has an impact on the College Football Playoff races. Both squads suffered unflattering Week 2 nonconference losses that dropped expectations, but they have since regained their footing to set the stage for this marquee Week 6 showdown.
Alabama beat Ole Miss and Mississippi State over the past two weeks after reinstating Jalen Milroe at quarterback. The Tide have demonstrated defensive improvement following a Sept. 9 loss to Texas and an uninspiring Week 3 win over South Florida. Texas A&M recovered from its Week 2 loss at Miami with three straight double-digit victories over Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn and Arkansas. The Aggies limited Arkansas to just 174 total yards and 10 first downs during a 34-22 win last week as quarterback Max Johnson made his first start of the season in place of the injured Conner Weigman.
When Alabama coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher face off, it’s always entertaining. The two have exchanged verbal jabs in recent years. Fisher, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU, is looking for his second win against his old boss. The past two meetings were decided by a total of seven points, and it would be no surprise if the 2023 rendition is equally as close.
How to watch Alabama vs. Texas A&M live
Alabama vs. Texas A&M: Need to know
Kyle Field rematch: It’s the first meeting at Kyle Field between the teams since 2021, when the Aggies knocked off the No. 1 Crimson Tide 41-38 on a 28-yard field goal from Seth Small as time expired to hand Alabama its first loss against an unranked foe since 2007. The kick capped a late rally from a Texas A&M squad led by backup quarterback Zach Calzada and stands as one of the most stunning upsets of the post-COVID era in college football. The outcome marked Fisher as the first former Saban assistant to beat him.
Something to prove: Whichever quarterback wins should come away with validation. Milroe lost the starting job for a week in September before regaining it and guiding the Crimson Tide to wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He completed 27 of 33 passes for 389 yards in those victories while also running for 97 yards and two touchdowns. A road win against the Aggies could change the national narrative surrounding what the Crimson Tide can accomplish under Milroe’s leadership. For the Aggies, Johnson has been solid since replacing Weigman mid-game against Auburn on Sept. 23. The redshirt sophomore is in his fourth season and has 18 starts under his belt across time at LSU and Texas A&M. But he’s never been the starter for a team in the SEC West title hunt. That changes if he guides the Aggies to a win against Alabama.
Special teams superstars: Only 18 starting kickers have yet to miss a field goal attempt entering Week 6 action, and Alabama’s Will Reichard stands atop that group with an 11 for 11 mark. Crimson Tide punter James Burnip also ranks fourth nationally in average yards per punt at 48.9. With an average net punt of 44.27 yards, Alabama ranks No. 6 nationally. The Crimson Tide have also blocked a punt and a field goal to round out a solid special teams unit. Texas A&M counters with the explosive Ainias Smith, who returned a punt for a touchdown in last week’s victory over Arkansas.
Alabama vs. Texas A&M prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
These teams combined to score just 44 points last season when Alabama beat Texas A&M 24-20. The Crimson Tide are still figuring things out offensively with quarterback Jalen Milroe under first-year coordinator Tommy Rees, and Texas A&M’s defense just held Arkansas under 200 total yards. Keep in mind also that two of the Aggies’ four touchdowns against the Razorbacks came via an interception return and a punt return. These factors combine to make the under a wise pick. Pick: Under 49.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 6? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past seven seasons — and find out.