Staff Predictions for No. 2 Alabama vs. Charleston Southern
The matchup might not be too attractive, but Alabama hosts its final home game of the 2015 season on Saturday so that should be motivation enough for Crimson Tide fans.
The challenge on senior day will be defensively for Alabama, where it will have to face an unconventional triple option attack. It has given the team problems in the past, and Nick Saban emphasized that point during the week.
Other than that, Saturday's game should be a precursor to the Iron Bowl in a week. Here's how our staff sees this matchup going:
Barry Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
I think it will be over early and starters will get some rest. Look for Tide to be too physical and fast for Charleston Southern. Alabama 52, Charleston Southern 6
Wimp Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Look for Bama to be looking ahead to next week. They will take care of business though. Alabama 42, Charleston Southern 14
Gary Harris (Host of The Gary Harris Show)
Nick Saban has done everything possible this week to keep his team on point, including a well-publicized rant on Wednesday night. Charleston Southern is a quality FCS team as evidenced by a 9-1 overall record and regular season Big South Conference Championship. Alabama though will have no part in this game being competitive after halftime. Alabama 48, Charleston Southern 10
Chris Stewart (Host of The Chris Stewart Show)
Hopefully you won't see many first team guys beyond the first series of the second half. Alabama's big play potential on offense, along with its dominance on the defensive front, will make this a sizable Bama win - but maybe not by as much as some may think. Alabama 49, Charleston Southern 10
Ryan Fowler (Host of The Game)
Alabama gets up early and the back-ups get some quality reps. Would like to see this team improve their o-line pass protection and get back in rhythm on some of the passing plays. Alabama 42, Charleston Southern 14
Ryan McMunn (Producer)
Don't tell Coach Saban, but Charleston Southern is an FCS opponent, albeit one of the best FCS teams in the country. And don't tell Coach Saban, but the Tide will travel to Auburn next Saturday, so this game, for all intents and purposes, will be a glorified warm-up for Alabama before they travel to the Loveliest Village on the Plains for the 2015 rendition of the Iron Bowl.
Sure the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern run an option offense, and the last FCS team the Tide played who ran the option was Georgia Southern, and as Saban clearly reminded us in Wednesday's press conference that the Eagles ran through Alabama's defense like... well, you get the idea. But Alabama has more talent and they'll cover the Vegas spread (I'll take Bama at -20.5 as I'm writing this). Alabama 41, Charleston Southern 14
Kevin Connell (Contributor)
It’s no secret that Nick Saban often uses his press conferences as a means to deliver a strong message to his team. That was the case Wednesday evening.
In his final presser before this Saturday’s game, Saban went on a rant about respecting FCS opponents, which was fine, but it wasn’t necessary.
Yes, Charleston Southern is a great team at its level (9-1, ranked No. 9), and yes, it runs an offensive scheme similar to the Georgia Southern team that rushed for over 300 yards against Alabama in 2011 (which he specifically mentions), but the Crimson Tide isn’t the same as then and Charleston Southern is still no Georgia Southern.
It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Alabama may have a few troubles with the Buccaneers, but it’s highly unlikely it will be anything like that game in 2011, especially considering the Crimson Tide has better personnel now to stop such an offense. Alabama 45, Charleston Southern 10
Ben George (Digital Managing Editor)
This Alabama defense has responded to every type of challenge it's faced this year, and I don't expect this weekend to be any different against the triple option. I'm most interested in seeing how the running backs get carries after Derrick Henry because that will be a key to this offense moving forward with Drake out. Alabama 42, Charleston Southern 6