Alabama football: Texas A&M one of many programs Alabama has broken in recent years
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Kevin Sumlin’s name couldn’t have been any hotter. Johnny Manziel reached the height of his “Johnny Football” powers en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. Texas A&M appeared to be set up to contend with Alabama and the rest of the power programs in the SEC.
It’s been six years since the Aggies shocked the Crimson Tide 29-24 in November 2012 inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the programs have gone in completely separate directions since.
Alabama has since won three national championships (2012, 2015, 2017) while Texas A&M was added to the growing list of programs that the Tide have broken. Among others, that list includes Texas, LSU, Florida State and Southern California.
Sumlin was exiled to Arizona, where he is off to an 1-2 start, in favor of Jimbo Fisher and a $75 million guaranteed contract.
The problem for Fisher — Saturday and beyond — is Saban doesn’t lose to former assistants. Saban is 12-0, which includes the 2017 matchup vs. Fisher while he was at Florida State.
No. 22 Texas A&M travels to Tuscaloosa this weekend as a 27.5-point dog against the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
Fisher is so desperate to beat Alabama, he’d consider going vegan for a year.
Imagine living in Texas, home of some of the world’s best BBQ and food in general, and being willing to change all of your eating habits for one win.
Jimbo Fisher: "I love Southern Cooking, I can't give it up"
Me: "Would you go full Vegan for a year if it meant you beat Bama this weekend?"
Jimbo: "ZERO doubt. I love winning too much to care about food"
Question, would you go Vegan for a year if it meant a win for your team?
— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) September 17, 2018
As it happens most weeks, the current opponent on Alabama’s schedule is considered the Tide’s first real test, Alabama stomps them and then the next opponent becomes the real “real” test. Last week it was Ole Miss, which saw its high-powered offense halted in Oxford.
Now it’s the Aggies’ turn.
The Aggies are talented sure, but a lot of their praise comes from how well they played in a home loss to Clemson.
Playing well in a loss to Clemson won’t save the Aggies on Saturday in Bryant-Denny.
Kellen Mond has the making of a player who could give Alabama’s defense some fits with his ability to extend and make plays with his legs.
It won’t be easy moving the ball on Alabama as the team rolls in fully confident after shutting down Ole Miss.
Even if the Aggies are able to put find the end zone, the biggest difference in this Alabama team and any other of the Saban era is the sheer explosiveness of its offense.
From a skill position standpoint, Alabama has at least 8 players who could be the focal point of the offense — Damien Harris, Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III, Jaylen Waddle and Irv Smith Jr.
Tua Tagovailoa’s “spread the wealth” mentality has the Crimson Tide humming to the tune of 56.7 points per game, the best mark in the nation. Last week, they became the first team in SEC history to open a season with three consecutive 50-point outbursts.
Can they extend that to four? Stay tuned.
Either way, look for Alabama to continue to keep the Aggies under their thumb, where they’ve been for the past six years.