College breakdown: Colorado State (1-2) at Alabama (2-0)
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Sep 20, 2013 | 1912 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When: 6 p.m., today

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa

Line: Alabama by 39.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 95.5 FM

Four-down territory

1. Block out the emotion:
Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain, the former Tide offensive coordinator, will be emotional, but so will some of Alabama’s players. Some of the Tide’s offensive players developed under McElwain’s direction and are excited to be able to see their old coach. It will be interesting to see how the crowd in Bryant-Denny reacts to McElwain.

2. Finish early: After a tough win last week in College Station, the best thing Alabama’s starters can do is get this game over with in the first half. That way, younger players will get more experience and some of the veterans will be able to rest. When a team has nothing to lose, they come out and take chances early and surprise the favorite. Alabama should hit the Rams in the mouth early.

3. Shut out: While the talent level is certainly different, the best way for Alabama’s defense to bounce back from a historically bad day against the Aggies would be to pitch a shutout. Fans and coaches would love nothing more than a goose egg on the other side of the scoreboard.

4. Field goal: This game would be the perfect opportunity for Cade Foster to attempt his first field goal of the season. There will be little to no pressure and it will take the edge off.

Key matchup

Jim McElwain vs. Alabama head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart:
McElwain has the luxury of knowing Saban and Smart’s tendencies since he coached with them for four seasons. If McElwain is able to capitalize and make the right calls, the Rams could keep it interesting early. Problem is, Saban and Smart know what McElwain likes to do on offense and they have better talent on their side.

Prediction

This one should be over by halftime. It will be an emotional return for McElwain, but ultimately, he doesn’t have the horses to compete with the best team in the nation. Saban probably won’t run up the score on his former assistant, but it’ll still get pretty ugly. ... Alabama 48, Colorado State 7.
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