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ESPN Gameday Predictions: No. 11 Texas vs No. 3 Alabama

On3 imageby:Justin Wells09/09/23

It’s gameday in Tuscaloosa as the No. 11 Longhorns are ready to battle with the No. 3 Crimson Tide in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night. The ESPN Gameday staff made their predictions.

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With guest picker, Joe Namath, Alabama quarterback who lost to Texas in the 1963 Cotton Bowl, he joined Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee, Reece Davis, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit as they made their Gameday predictions on Saturday morning from Tuscaloosa.

Howard and Corso pick Texas, while McAfee and Namath take Alabama.

Herbstreit spoke to the Texas media this week and discussed the adjustments Texas must make to be in the win column today.

“I think their approach to the game was right on. Most people — I’m just being honest — that play Alabama, they see Nick Saban on the other sideline and they see him in warmups. Most teams are intimidated by that brand, by that uniform, by that helmet. I’ve seen so many teams go into that game with ‘we’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll see,’ and then they see them. They’re almost beat before the game starts or they’re easing their way because they don’t want to make a mistake.

Texas did the opposite of that, and it’s probably because of (Steve Sarkisian‘s) time at Alabama. He’s like ‘we’re not going to be intimidated’ and they went in there with the right attitude. I think you have to match that. That’s the biggest thing because I think that game gave them a belief that they can stand in the middle of the ring and play Alabama because of the way that game unfolded. Even though they don’t want moral victories, that’s huge for them to come into this game. The biggest thing to me is can they take care of Quinn Ewers? Can he have time to throw? Because I think on the back end with the receivers they have they’re going to have a chance to make some plays. And, the way Sark is so creative.

The mystery to me going into this game is, is will Texas be better on the O-line against some of the new faces other than Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell (even though he’s been more of a guy that would step in and sub in)? Now (Braswell) is the guy. Can (Texas) hold off the pressures? Kevin Steele is going to dial some things up. He knows Sark very well. How does that offensive line do in run blocking and how do they do in protection? If we look back at the end of the game and Texas either won it, or they competed, or they got blown out, I think a lot of it will be dependent on the line of scrimmage when Texas has the football and how Sark takes some of the pressure off of them with his play-calling in trying to get Bama a bit on their heels instead of teeing off on that offensive line.”

Last week, Texas (1-0) topped Rice, 37-10, and Alabama (1-0) dismantled Middle Tennessee State, 56-7.

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Texas-Alabama kicks off at 6 p.m. and will be aired on ABC.

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