Statistics can never tell the whole story, and certainly not foretell the result of an upcoming game, but halfway through the season those numbers may shed some light.
Alabama, ranked first in the nation, is 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games. Texas A&M is ranked sixth with a 6-0 record, 4-0 in the SEC. The teams have played two common opponents, Bama beating Arkansas by 49-30 and the Aggies downing the Razorbacks by 45-24; and the Crimson Tide downing Tennessee, 49-10, A&M defeating the Vols, 45-38 in overtime.
Alabama will host Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday with CBS televising the game.
Here is a look at how the teams compare statistically:
Alabama leads the SEC in scoring at 45.4 points per game with Texas A&M second at 40.2 ppg. The Tide is third in scoring defense, allowing 15 points per game, the Aggies fifth at 19.2.
A&M leads the league in rushing offense at 274.3 yards per game with Bama second at 265.7. Alabama is tops in rushing defense allowing 63.9 ypg, the Aggies seventh, giving up 159.3.
Texas A&M is fourth is passing offense at 258.5 yards per game, Alabama sixth at 239. In pass defense, the Tide is sixth giving up 210.3 yards per game, A&M 14th in the conference, giving up 278.2. (In passing efficiency, Alabama is fourth both offensively and defensively, the Aggies 11th on offense, seventh on defense.)
In total offense, Texas A&M is first, 532.8 yards per game, Alabama second, 504.7 ypg. In total defense, the Tide is second, allowing 274 ypg, the Aggies 12th, giving up 437.5.
As has often been pointed out, three statistical areas get the attention of college coaches. They are third down success offensively and defensively, turnover margin, and Red Zone (inside the 20) efficiency offensively and defensively.
On third downs, Alabama ranks second in success on 47-96 for 49 per cent, Texas A&M 10th at 36-93 for 38.7 per cent. On third down defense, Bama is second holding opponents to 33-111 (29.7 per cent) and the Aggies fifth at 34-100 (34 per cent).
A&M leads the SEC in turnover margin at plus 6. The Aggies have gained on 10 fumble recoveries and 7 interceptions and have lost 6 fumbles and had 5 passes intercepted. The Tide is fourth at plus 4 on 7 fumble recoveries and 7 interceptions against 7 fumbles lost and 3 passes intercepted.
In the Red Zone, Alabama is fifth on offense with 27 scores (21 touchdowns, 6-8 field goals) in 32 xtrips, for 84.4 per cent. Texas A&M is sixth on offense with 25 scores (16 TDs, 9-12 FGs) in 30 trips for 83.3 per cent. The Aggies are second in Red Zone defense allowing 17-26 scores (11 TDs, 6-9 FGs) for 65.4 per cent, Alabama sixth allowing 12-15 (5 touchdowns, 7-7 field goals) for 80 per cent.
In some areas that may or may not be critical:
Alabama leads the league in sacks with 27 with Texas A&M second with 20. The Aggies have been sacked only 6 times, tied for second in the league, Bama 12 times, tied for fifth.
The Tide is fifth in time of possession, averaging 31.22 minutes per game. A&M is 12th at 26:40 per game.
Alabama is the league’s eighth most penalized team, 43 penalties for 352 yards, 50.3 yards per game. A&M is 11th, 38 penalties for 312 yards, 52 yards per game.
Individually, A&M’s Trayveon Williams leads the conference in rushing at 117.3 yards per game, the Aggies’ Christian Kirk is tops in the SEC in receptions per game with 40 catches and a 6.7 per game average, Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight leads the league in touchdowns scored with 9 (one ahead of Bama quarterback Jalen Hurts), and A&M kicker Daniel LaCamera is tops in the league in kick scoring at 10.8 points per game.