No. 13 Alabama will play host to No. 15 Ole Miss on Saturday in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. Though the SEC West showdown is taking place early in the season, this has the feel of huge swing game for both teams heading into the contest. Last week the Crimson Tide slogged their way to a 17-3 victory at South Florida marred by less-than-stellar quarterback play from Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson. The Rebels, meanwhile, ran away from Georgia Tech last week thanks to 21 fourth-quarter points in a 48-23 shootout victory.
This will be the first massive SEC West game of the year. Sure, there other division teams that have already played conference games, but this matchup between top-15 teams will help define the landscape of the division and could have massive ramifications in the race to the College Football Playoff.
What will go down Saturday afternoon in T-Town? Let's break down the matchup between the Crimson Tide and Rebels with picks straight-up and against the spread.
How to watch Alabama vs. Ole Miss live
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime (Try It Free)
Alabama vs. Ole Miss: Need to know
Alabama is back to where it started: Coach Nick Saban announced Monday that opening-day starter Jalen Milroe will return to the starting lineup after Buchner and Simpson struggled last weekend. It's odd that Saban made that announcement on Monday considering that Sunday isn't a game prep day for the Tide. . Will Saban and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees alter the offense to fit Milroe's specific skills, since he has the ability to make big plays on the ground? Or, will they try to fit a square peg into a round hole like they did during the win over Middle Tennessee and loss to Texas? The focus will be on Milroe, of course, but he's only one part of the puzzle that needs to be put together in order to bring the Crimson Tide back into the CFP race.
Status of Quinshon Judkins: The star running back led the SEC in rushing last season but has struggled to get going in 2023. He's been banged up and barely practiced a week ago entering the Georgia Tech game. In a reserve roll for the majority of the afternoon, Judkins only got 13 carries for 37 yards. As a result, quarterback Jaxson Dart became the focal point of the rushing attack as he racked up 136 yards and two touchdowns. Can coach Lane Kiffin find a way to be more balanced with the rushing attack through Judkins -- or any of the other running backs? That would protect Dart a bit more and allow him to stretch the field through the air on a more consistent basis. Kiffin typically has an ace or two (or 10) up his sleeve when the Rebs play the Tide, and a healthy Judkins will give Kiffin more options.
The Pete Golding factor: The first-year defensive coordinator for the Rebels spent the previous five years leading the Crimson Tide defense. That gives him plenty of perspective on the strengths and weakness of Milroe -- who started the Texas A&M game last season. Plus, Golding's career in T-Town didn't exactly end on a high note. Saban rarely fires assistants, but he does guide them to the exit and not-so-subtly asks them to look for other work. That familiarity with Milroe combined with the revenge factor will make this a fascinating matchup.
Alabama vs. Ole Miss prediction, picks
The Rebels aren't getting any respect from the oddsmakers; they've hovered around a touchdown underdog all week. Not only will the Rebels cover, but they'll win this one outright. Alabama's struggles up front on the defensive side of the ball will allow Kiffin to get creative with his offensive attack. In turn, this will be a high-scoring affair. Is Milroe capable of keeping up with Dart and the rest of Kiffin's weapons? Nope. Take the points and consider the money line as well. Pick: Ole Miss +7
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