Alabama Ready to Return to Action Against Wildcats
After a two week hiatus, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will be back in action this weekend in Bryant-Denny Stadium against the Kentucky Wildcats. Alabama is coming off an extended BYE week period after the SEC was forced to postpone its matchup with the LSU Tigers due to COVID-19 protocols.
Alabama has played Kentucky four times under the direction of Nick Saban and won all four by an average of 22.5 points. Oddsmakers don't see this matchup too much differently than the prior four, declaring Alabama is a 31 point favorite in this weekend's game. ESPN's Football Power Index gives the Wildcats a 3.3% chance to win on the road this weekend.
The Wildcats will feature two quarterbacks, Terry Wilson and Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood. Wilson will handle the majority of the work for the Kentucky offense but Gatewood will provide a running option for the Wildcats to mix in. Unfortunately for Kentucky they have struggled moving the football this year, averaging an SEC-worst 318 yards per game.
Kentucky is a physical football team that likes to utilize a strong running game to control the pace of the game and limit opposing offenses possessions. They have the second best running game in the conference averaging 195 yards on the ground per game.
Alabama's defense should be ready to build off its last game that saw it shut out Mississippi State two weeks ago. Two weeks have passed and the Crimson Tide should be as healthy as its been this year defensively. LaBryan Ray is returning off a sprained elbow and will provide depth and leadership on the defensive line. Ronald Williams is also expected to return from his broken arm to bolster the defensive backfield.
Alabama will be playing its first game in 2020 with the No. 1 ranking after Clemson lost to Notre Dame two weeks ago and allowed the Crimson Tide to assume the top spot. This game will likely have special meaning to Alabama quarterback Mac Jones as he was once committed to the Kentucky Wildcats before choosing to enroll at Alabama. Jones will have his work cut out for him as the Wildcats boast the best passing defense in the SEC, only allowing 214 yards per game.
The Tide and Wildcats will play at 3 p.m. on SECNetwork. Tune in to Tide 100.9 on Saturday as pregame coverage will begin at 10 a.m. with the Tide Tailgate show live from Twelve 25 on The Strip.
Preseason ALL SEC First Team