No. 11 Texas at No. 3 Alabama, Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Alabama by 7, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Texas leads 7-2-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Both teams have something to prove. The Longhorns are trying to give further evidence that they're national contenders again. Alabama, meanwhile, can make an early statement that it's “back” after a disappointing, two-loss season. And yes, that is a down season for the Crimson Tide these days. Alabama won last year's game 20-19 on Will Reichard's field goal in the final seconds. But Longhorn fans can always wonder, what if QB Quinn Ewers hadn't been hurt early?
Alabama's secondary against Ewers, Xavier Worthy and the Texas passing game, which had plenty of early success in last season's matchup. Tide defensive backs Malachi Moore and Jaylen Key and backup DeVonta Smith are all nursing injuries. Alabama does have a shutdown cornerback in Kool-Aid McKinstry, but wasn't really tested by Middle Tennessee State.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas: Worthy will be one of the better receivers the Tide faces this season. He has 122 catches for 1,741 yards and 21 touchdowns the past two years and had a big game in the last meeting (five catches, 97 yards) and in the opener with Rice (seven catches, 90 yards).
Alabama: QB Jalen Milroe was impressive in his debut as Bryce Young's successor, but will be judged much more based on how he handles this big of a stage. Against Middle Tennessee State, Milroe became the first Tide quarterback to pass for three touchdowns and run for two in the same game.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Longhorns haven't played in Tuscaloosa since 1902. They have dominated the series overall but Alabama has won the last two meetings, including in the 2009 national championship game. It's only the fifth regular-season meeting between the Tide and Longhorns. ... Tide coach Nick Saban is 28-2 against former assistants. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian was his offensive coordinator in 2020. ... Alabama hasn't lost a regular season game against a nonconference opponent since 2007, winning 57 in a row. ... This is the first Longhorns road game against a Top-5 opponent since facing USC in 2017. They've gone 9-12 all-time in those scenarios.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll