The top-ranked Alabama football team plays its first true road game of the season this weekend at Vanderbilt, and there are key questions to answer. Here are four of them:
Is the Crimson Tide ripe for an upset?
Alabama has cruised to a 3-0 start that includes a big win over Florida State, but so far UA hasn’t looked like an unbeatable juggernaut despite its No. 1 spot in the national polls. Vanderbilt is coming off an upset of a ranked Kansas State team, and is also unbeaten. The Commodores have momentum. Will they catch Alabama operating on cruise control?
Who will win the turnover battle?
Through three games, Alabama hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble yet. Vanderbilt hasn’t thrown an interception, and a lost fumble is the only turnover thus far for the Commodores. These teams don’t beat themselves, but with two strong defenses, the team with the least turnovers might have the edge.
Can Vanderbilt run on Alabama?
Colorado State didn’t run roughshod over Alabama, but the Rams’ 144 rushing yards showed that a degree of success can be found on the ground against UA. Vandy is only averaging a tad over 100 rushing yards per game, and will need to find some offensive balance to have a chance to pull off the upset.
How will Alabama attack Vanderbilt’s defense?
These Commodores have been formidable on defense, giving up 4.3 points and less than 200 yards per game on average. The Crimson Tide has relied heavily on Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley to make plays. Alabama may need to find some more spark, especially in the running game, to impose itself on a salty Vanderbilt stop unit.