Did Saban mark this game on his calendar? Apparently so. When's the last time Bama had a Week 2 open date to prepare for a Week 3 opponent?
Alabama at A&M isn't the only interesting matchup on this week's SEC slate, however. Mississippi State at Auburn and Vanderbilt at South Carolina offer some intrigue, as well. And, of course, the college football world is waiting to see if Tennessee can slow down the Oregon juggernaut.
InsideTennessee's Riley Blevins went 10-2 on last week's SEC picks. The rest of the IT staff went 11-1. Here's a look at this weekend's predictions (with record to date in parenthesis):
Randy Moore (24-1)
Alabama at Texas A&M: I'm wondering if Kyle Field is big enough to accommodate two egos the size of Nick Saban's and Johnny Football's. Call me crazy but I'm going with the home team. Aggies, 27-24
Miss. State at Auburn: With Gus Malzahn calling the shots and the home crowd providing noise, the Tigers will be hard to handle. Auburn, 24-14
Vanderbilt at South Carolina: The Head Ball Coach is in a bad mood after losing to Georgia. This is a bad time to be a Commodore. Gamecocks, 31-14
Ole Miss at Texas: Do you think the Rebels might call a few running plays early? Ole Miss, 34-17
Tennessee at Oregon: I think the Vols will keep the game reasonably competitive for three quarters. After that, it's all Ducks. Oregon, 49-20
Danny Parker (24-1)
Louisville at Kentucky: Good thing for the 'Cats that basketball season is right around the corner. Teddy Bridgewater continues building his Heisman résumé at Kentucky's expense. Louisville, 41-19.
Southern Miss at Arkansas: Alex Collins is making a case to be one of the better freshmen in the SEC. Arkansas, 28-10.
Alabama at Texas A&M: Too much defense from the Crimson Tide. Alabama, 30-20.
Miss. State at Auburn: Toughest pick of the week. Mississippi State, 15-14.
Kent State at LSU: Zach Mettenberger looks as solid as any quarterback going thus far. Tip of the hat to him and Cam Cameron. LSU, 56-9.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina: Mike Davis runs it 23 times for 206 yards to lead the Gamecocks to victory. South Carolina, 35-17.
Ole Miss at Texas: I'll stick with the scenario (whereby Mack Brown is relieved of his coaching duties) I posted in VolChat, including my score prediction. Ole Miss, 52-38.
Tennessee at Oregon: Hard to imagine the Vols coming up with enough firepower offensively with the current personnel decisions at the skill spots. Oregon, 48-20.
JOSH WOODWARD (23-2)
Louisville at Kentucky: Well Kentucky is trying not to get swept by every university in the Bluegrass state, but Louisville isn't the team to do it against. I see this being a blowout with Louisville not letting off the gas pedal. 55-10 Cardinals
Southern Miss at Arkansas: Arkansas shouldn't have any trouble this weekend against the Golden Eagles. 42-13 Razorbacks
Alabama at Texas A&M: This is a hard call for me, I see Manziel creating all kinds of problems for Bama, but Saban has had an off week to prepare for this match-up. The key for me is can Texas A&M's defense stop Alabama from running the football. If so then A&M wins. I don't see this happening though. 31-21 Alabama
Miss. State at Auburn: This is the battle to stay out of the bottom of the SEC West, Mississippi State hasn't had much of an offense, but Auburn has been able to score some points with a converted defensive back at quarterback. Could be a good game to watch as it will likely be decided in the fourth quarter. 28-21 Tigers
Kent State at LSU: Not much to say about this game, LSU should handle Kent State. 48-7 Tigers
Vanderbilt at South Carolina: What can the fighting Franklin's do to stop a pissed off Gamecocks team? Nothing, 38-17 South Carolina
Ole Miss at Texas: I can hear Nelly playing on the loud speakers after this one is over. "It's getting hot in here", I don't think Manny Diaz was the problem, Texas is soft and highly overrated. 34-28 Ole Miss
Tennessee at Oregon: On paper this game shouldn't be close, the Ducks are as impressive a football team as I have seen. They are good up front on offense and defense and they have play makers that coaches salivate over. Tennessee has to be able to run the ball and control the clock, they have to convert on third down and have to get touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals. On defense the defensive ends have to keep the play from going outside, they must push everything back in the middle, the linebackers have to tackle well and the secondary needs to have good eye discipline. So what I'm saying is, the Vols must play a perfect game to leave Eugene with a win. I just can't see that happening yet. 42-34 Ducks
RILEY BLEVINS (21-4)
Louisville at Kentucky: The Wildcats should be allowed to have 13 or 14 guys on the field just so this one is at least a little competitive. Louisville 48, Kentucky 17
Alabama at Texas A&M: Nick Saban doesn't get fooled twice. Alabama 42, Texas A&M 31.
Miss. State at Auburn: The battle of the two most boring college towns in America. Yawn. Miss. State 35, Auburn 17.
Kent State at LSU: The only way Kent State competes is if Mike the tiger gets loose and does something bad to 20 or 30 LSU players. LSU 42, Kent State 13.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina: Vandy starters may want to "anchor down" in the library. That's the only place they'll be safe from the wrath of Jadeveon Clowney. South Carolina 35, Vandy 21.
Ole Miss at Texas: I just have a gut feeling, okay? Whatever. Texas 28, Ole Miss 21.
Tennessee at Oregon: Tennessee's offense will stall early. The defense will be ran onto the field too often to run with Oregon's high power offense. It's going to get ugly. Oregon 51, Tennessee 20