No. 3 Alabama will play host to No. 11 Texas on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium in a battle of college football blue bloods and one of the most highly anticipated nonconference showdowns on the 2023 schedule. Last season, Alabama needed a 33-yard Will Reichard field goal with 10 seconds to go in order to pull off a 20-19 victory in Austin, Texas. The result was shocking as reigning Heisman winner Bryce Young struggled to get the the Crimson Tide offense going for a majority of the game. Meanwhile the Longhorns scratched together enough offense to keep things close even though starting QB Quinn Ewers was knocked out late in the first quarter.
Young has since left and is preparing to play in his first NFL game this weekend, but Ewers is back and looking to finish what he started.
Both these teams come into the season with high expectations. Alabama failed to win the SEC last season and has watched Georgia ascend to the top of the sport. It's heard plenty about how the Nick Saban dynasty has reached its end. Meanwhile, the Longhorns have been hearing about how it's an annual tradition to claim Texas is back, only to find out the only thing returning is another disappointing season.
Both have a chance to quiet the doubters this weekend.
How to watch Alabama vs. Texas live
Date: Saturday, Sept. 9 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Alabama vs. Texas: Need to know
Jalen Milroe looked fantastic at QB for Alabama last week: There was plenty of teeth-gnashing and concern about Alabama's QB battle this offseason, as reports made it seem as if none of the candidates performed well enough to take the job and the enormous task of replacing Young. Then Milroe took the field last week, and it all seemed fine again. Milroe threw for 194 yards and three touchdowns while simultaneously leading the Tide offense with 48 yards rushing and two more scores. Granted, it was against Middle Tennessee, and Texas is a tougher nut to crack, but a five-touchdown performance is a great way to build confidence ahead of a huge game.
Ewers was lights-out in last year's meeting: It's true that Texas was held to only a field goal while Ewers was in the game last year, but it certainly isn't any fault of his. Ewers completed 9 of 12 passes for 134 yards before he went out with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Hudson Card. It's hard to forget how crisp and explosive the Longhorns offense looked in the game with Ewers, and impossible not to think about what might've happened if he never got hurt.
Nick Saban's former assistants are 2-28 against him: It's a stat that gets tossed out pretty often because it's impressive and because Saban has a lot of former assistants coaching teams across the country. It turns out other schools want to hire your assistants when you win as many national titles as Saban has. However, as Texas' Steve Sarkisian was quick to point out when asked about it last week, it's not as if coaches who have never worked for Saban have had much success against him, either. He's lost 27 games at Alabama in his 16+ seasons, six of which came in his first season.
Alabama vs. Texas prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
I'll start by making sure you understand that I also find it extremely weird to be taking Texas -- the perennial underachiever -- against Alabama. It's as if my fingers are revolting against me as I type it, but I must ignore them because it's truly how I feel. I believe there's a good chance Texas will win this game outright because it's a very talented team and has the better QB in the matchup. That's important. That said, even if Alabama does the thing it does (win), I don't know how often the Tide can do so by more than a touchdown, so I'm taking the points. Pick: Texas +7
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 2, and which underdogs win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.