Football is all about matchups. It’s why there is no transitive property in football. You beat teams of comparable talent because you match up well with them.
The Alabama defensive front is not going to take a back seat to anybody. They are ferocious with the ability to amplify their intensity.
Across the field to the other sideline, the Texas wide receiver room is a near impossible cover. Poor pass protection and errant throws could thwart their efforts.
Let’s look at who has the edge in several positional and individual matchups in the game.
Alabama defensive line vs Texas pass protection
Edge: Alabama defensive line.
Given how poorly the Texas offensive line played last week, it’s hard to favor the Longhorns in this positional matchup. The degree to which Alabama wins this head-to-head battle will determine the Longhorns’ success.
Alabama pass protection vs Texas defensive line
Edge: Texas defensive line.
The Longhorns gave the Tide offensive line fits last season. Alabama even proved vulnerable on occasion on the interior offensive line against Middle Tennessee State last week. The trio of T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy and Alfred Collins could have success of their own between the tackles.
Alabama receivers vs Texas defensive backs
Edge: Texas defensive backs.
Alabama receivers look much improved from last season in the way of pass catching, but the Texas secondary looks suffocating this year. The addition of former first-team All-SEC safety Jalen Catalon doesn’t hurt. He joins a secondary with lockdown nickel corner Jahdae Barron, all-around cornerback Terrance Brooks and punishing boundary corner Ryan Watts. The Texas secondary continues to look sharp after a strong 2022 campaign.
Texas receivers vs Alabama secondary
Edge: Texas receivers.
Alabama has a great secondary. They face a better receiver corps. Xavier Worthy is a near impossible cover while Ja’Tavion Sanders and Adonai Mitchell create matchup problems of their own. The degree to which the Alabama defensive front dominates will determine how effective the Longhorns’ receivers perform in the game.
Jalen Milroe vs Texas defense
Edge: Jalen Milroe.
Milroe is going to be a matchup nightmare for Texas. For all that is said of his ability to run, the Alabama starter has underrated accuracy and arm strength. Longhorns defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski will have his hands full on Saturday.
Quinn Ewers vs Alabama defense
Who wins the matchup between Ewers and the Alabama defense depends on what Ewers shows up on Saturday. If Texas gets “big game” Ewers, the one who showed up for Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Washington last season, the Longhorns have a good chance to make this a game.
Alabama running game vs Texas defense
Edge: Alabama running game.
The Crimson Tide offensive line is going to be able to move people when moving forward. The team’s assortment of running plays could put the biggest strain on the Texas defense.
Texas running game vs Alabama defense
Edge: Alabama defense.
I don’t expect Texas to run the ball well against Alabama’s front six. The Longhorns’ best hope is serviceable effective running from its four backs in the game.