Week 4 - Florida Atlantic at Alabama

Posted Sep 20, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – Florida Atlantic at Alabama

Florida Atlantic (1-2) at Alabama (3-0) Sept. 22, 5:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: It's not a crazy thought that this might be a battle between the best team in college football with the worst in the FBS, and it might be nothing more than a decent scrimmage for the rolling Tide, but it might be a chance for the team to show just how focused it really is. Nick Saban has preached all off season to take every moment and every game way too seriously, and while it might be tough to get up for a 50-point favorite after mercilessly stomping on Arkansas 52-0, this week is sort of the point; Saban wants this team to keep improving and pressing no matter what. And then there's Florida Atlantic, who came up with a 7-3 win over Wagner to kick things off before getting stomped by Middle Tennessee and Georgia. New head coach Carl Pelini has a lot of work to do, and now he gets to show his young players what it's like to go against the best of the best.

Why Florida Atlantic Might Win: The Owls aren't lacking for confidence. End Cory Henry was quotes as saying the Tide "ain't what people think" before going on to suggest "they can be beat." While he might be a wee bit misguided, FAU has slew of good athletes and really can run a little bit. There's speed and athleticism, and the offensive line hasn't been a problem so far, so there's a chance the ground game could come up with a few good dives late and make the blowout not so horrendous.

Why Alabama Might Win: Alabama can win this game by not throwing a pass. FAU might have some decent athletes, but it doesn't have the strength and toughness to hold up against anyone with a little bit of power. Wagner was stuffed running for just 129 yards, but Middle Tennessee rumbled for 302 yards and two scores and Georgia ripped off 328 yards and five touchdowns while also adding 385 yards and two scores through the air. The Tide offensive line should be able to blast away without a problem with the thunder of Eddie Lacy and the speed of T.J. Yeldon way too much for the Owl front seven.

What To Watch Out For: Very quietly, for a national title-winning quarterback, AJ McCarron is starting to work his way into Heisman discussion. He's not the best player on his own team – that's defensive tackle Jesse Williams – but he's a strong veteran who has been the steady leader so far. The running game might be carrying the Tide, but McCarron is third in the nation in passing efficiency with seven touchdown passes and no picks. He's not going to throw more than 15 times, and he's trying to get past a stepped on hand, but he should be nearly perfect.

What Will Happen: Alabama will call off the dogs after showing Henry what real speed is.

CFN Prediction: Alabama 48 … Florida Atlantic 0
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Alabama -50 O/U: 57.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1.5

South Carolina State (1-2) at Texas A&M (1-1) Sept. 22, 7:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: Texas A&M bounced back from its tough loss at home against Florida by blowing away SMU 48-3 without breathing hard. The pass rush has been fantastic, Johnny Manziel is quickly becoming a fan favorite quarterback, and the team showed it could gear it up quickly after a major disappointment. Next week's game against Arkansas was supposed to be a statement moment, but that's looking more and more like a sure-thing win unless the Hogs turn things around in a hurry. With winnable games against Ole Miss and Louisiana Tech to follow, 5-1 is realistic before hosting LSU. First, the Aggies have to go through motions against the Bulldogs of South Carolina State, who spent last week getting blown away by Arizona 56-0.

Why South Carolina State Might Win: The Bulldogs have a little bit of a passing game, throwing for 300 yards and three scores against Georgia State to start the season, and the ground attack hasn't been awful in bad situations. The offensive line has been the biggest strength, especially in pass protection allowing just three sacks so far, and there's a chance quarterback Richard Cue gets a little time to push the passing attack around. A&M has made a few too many mistakes with nine penalties in each of the first two games, but …

Why Texas A&M Might Win: Beyond the talent disparity, South Carolina State screws up way too often with five interceptions and two lost fumbles in the first three games. The bigger problem has been penalties, committing 12 in the opener against Georgia State, 13 against Bethune-Cookman, and 11 against Arizona. Yes, South Carolina State's O line has been fine, but the Aggie pass rush has been special with 12 sacks in two games.

What To Watch Out For: Texas A&M redshirt freshman Mike Evans has quickly emerged as Manziel's go-to target with 13 catches for 183 yards in the first two games. The 6-5, 218-pounder has the size to be dominant force, and it's starting to show. While he might be used as sort of a tight end on the inside, he has the ability and the wheels to be used from time to time as matchup nightmare on the outside.

What Will Happen: The speed and athleticism of the Aggie defensive front will be too great for the Bulldogs to deal with. This will be over after three A&M drives.

CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 63 … South Carolina State 7
ATS Consultants Line (
Click for more lines and picks) No Line O/U: No Line
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 1