Alabama is back home to welcome Vanderbilt as both teams open up SEC play in college football’s Week 4 action on Saturday.
Vanderbilt comes in a surprise 3-1, already surpassing last season’s win total, to square off against the SEC West favorite Crimson Tide, at 3-0.
Here’s what you need to know about this weekend’s matchup.
How to watch
When: Sat., Sept. 24
Time: 7:30 p.m. Eastern
TV: SEC Network
Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Odds, point spread, betting lines
Line: Alabama -40.5
FPI pick: Alabama 98.6%
What you need to know
Vanderbilt: This offensive line has performed admirably well so far, allowing just 2 sacks on the year and helping protect a pair of plus-60% passers in AJ Swann and Mike Wright. Together, they have 12 TDs in the air and just 1 pick, while Wright is an able rusher, too, 2nd on the team with 264 ground yards and 4 of the Dores’ 9 rushing scores for a unit that racks up 217 ypg and 5.8. ypc. Will Sheppard is Vanderbilt’s top target, catching 23 passes for 7 of the team’s 12 rec TDs.
Alabama: This is still the best total defense in the SEC and the 7th nationally, allowing 8.7 points per game. Unless the Commodores are ripping off 8 to 9 yard plays every snap, it doesn’t have the speed or physicality to tangle with Alabama’s pursuit group, which has the quickness to match up with Vandy’s designed quarterback runs on the edges. Bama runs at a 7.5 yard clip on each carry, but wants to get Jahmyr Gibbs, the high-profile transfer who is yet to run for a TD, into the end zone.
Alabama vs. Vanderbilt: Fast Facts
+ Vandy has 15 TDs on 17 red zone trips, 5th in FBS
+ Alabama leads nation with 89 non-offensive TDs under Nick Saban
+ Vanderbilt’s AJ Swann is 1st in SEC with 188.6 pass efficiency mark.
+ Alabama has scored 30-plus points in 51 of its last 59 games and 40-plus in 42 of its last 59
+ Vanderbilt has a takeaway in 13 straight games, the SEC’s longest streak.
+ Bama has won 49 of its last 50 when scoring a TD on its opening drive
+ Vandy’s Will Sheppard leads FBS with 7 rec TDs
+ Alabama is 164-9 (.948) when leading at the half under Saban and held a halftime lead in 82 of its last 103 games since 2015.
+ Vanderbilt is 1-16 against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
+ Alabama forced at least 1 turnover in 93 of its last 103 games
+ Vanderbilt is 4-0 when scoring 30-plus points under Clark Lea, and 1-11 when scoring 0-30 points.
+ Alabama is 8th nationally with a 21.7% red zone defense mark (10 of 46).
+ Vandy is 2-2 under Lea when winning the turnover battle and 0-5 when losing it
With all due respect to Vanderbilt and its newfound success on offense, its skill pieces are still no match for the Tide’s front seven combination.
Granted, Alabama hasn’t looked quite its usual self on offense. Issues from the Texas game are still yet to be solved: there have been uncharacteristic penalties, the running game isn’t moving in top gear yet, and Bryce Young could stand a little more help from his receivers.
But the economy of scale that exists between an Alabama team not playing to its potential and a Vanderbilt team doing better than expected is still as wide a gulf as there is in the SEC.
College Football HQ Prediction: Alabama 45, Vanderbilt 10
According to AP top 25 poll
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- NC State
- Penn State
- Ole Miss
- Wake Forest
- Texas A&M
Follow College Football HQ: Bookmark | Rankings | Facebook