Not to suggest that AJ McCarron is doing enough to overshadow Alabama’s defense, but the junior quarterback deserves more recognition.
While the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s defense gets most of the publicity, the offense also is performing at an elite level. In fact, Alabama is 14th in the nation in scoring, averaging 41 points.
McCarron has been sensational all season, throwing 16 touchdown passes without an interception. He plays behind an incredible offensive line and has weapons galore, including Amari Cooper, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, who have combined to score 18 touchdowns.
Alabama has had 47 or more combined points scored in six of its seven games. Its opponent today in Tuscaloosa, unbeaten Mississippi State, has scored at a 36.7 points-per-game clip.
The Bulldogs are getting stellar quarterback play from Tyler Russell, who has a 15-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Like McCarron, Russell has plenty of playmakers at his disposal. Senior wide receiver Chad Bumphis has 29 receptions for 479 yards and six touchdowns. LaDarius Perkins has rushed for 725 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
I made this total 52 and won’t be surprised if Alabama scores enough points on its own to give us a win with the “over” 46. I look for the heavily favored Tide to keep rolling with a 38-14 victory.
Three more plays for today (home team in CAPS):
■ KANSAS STATE (-7) over Texas Tech – The Wildcats were the nation’s most impressive team last week, blasting West Virginia 55-14 in Morgantown. Senior quarterback Collin Klein has been spectacular with a 10-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also has rushed for 551 yards and 14 scores.
The Red Raiders, off a draining triple-overtime win at Texas Christian, are on the road again and not getting enough points against Kansas State coach Bill Snyder.
■ ARKANSAS (-6) over Mississippi – September could not have been scripted any worse for the Razorbacks. But in October, coach John L. Smith has gotten his team to regroup and win back-to-back games by a combined score of 73-14.
Arkansas still has one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Tyler Wilson, who has thrown for 1,957 yards and 14 touchdowns in six games. The Razorbacks finally are giving more touches to Dennis Johnson, and he has responded with four rushing touchdowns in the past two games. I made Arkansas a 10½-point favorite.
■ Tennessee-SOUTH CAROLINA (Over 55) – No rocket science going on with this selection. The Volunteers have great talent on offense but can’t stop anyone on defense. The result has been a perfect record for the “over” when Tennessee takes the field. After facing two of the nation’s premier defenses at Louisiana State and Florida, the Gamecocks are poised for an offensive explosion.
Last week: 3-2 against the spread
Brian Edwards of VegasInsider.com and BrianEdwardsSports.com is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.