Closer look at Alabama's schedule

August 25, 2013 

Texas A&M Alabama Football

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) is stopped after a first down run by Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner (28) and defensive back Vinnie Sunseri (3)during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

DAVE MARTIN — AP

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

Date: Aug. 31

Time: 5:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 11-1. (Last meeting, 2009, 34-24 at the Georgia Dome)

Players to watch: Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas will be the biggest key to a possible upset. Thomas managed 2,976 yards and 18 touchdowns along with 16 interceptions. On an offense with very few playmakers, the Hokies have lost multiple key players, including running backs Michael Holmes, who was dismissed from the team, and Joel Caleb, who'll serve a one-game suspension.

What it could mean: A win for Alabama will keep the Crimson Tide on track for another run at a national championship. A win for Virginia Tech would catapult the Hokies into national contention.Texas A&MWhere: College Station, Texas

Date: Sept. 14

Time: 3:30 p.m.

TV: CBS

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 3-2. (Last meeting, 2012, 29-24 Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny Stadium)

Players to watch: Quarterback Johnny Manziel is by far the most important player for the Aggies, if he's eligible to play. Manziel picked Alabama's defense apart in Tuscaloosa, the game that cemented his Heisman trophy run.

What it could mean: The winner of this game will have the inside track to the SEC championship game and will be the early national title favorite.Colorado StateWhere: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Date: Sept. 21

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: First meeting

Players to watch: Former Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain returns to Bryant-Denny for the first time. LB Shaquil Barrett finished 2012 with 67 tackles, 7.5 of which went for a loss, and has started 19 games over the past two years.

What it could mean: This should be an easy victory for the Tide, but McElwain could have a few tricks up his sleeve.Ole MissWhere: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Date: Sept. 28

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 46-9-2 (Last meeting, 2012, 33-14, Alabama)

Players to watch: Quarterback Bo Wallace will be an important piece to the Rebels success in 2013. Wallace's play was erratic last season as he threw 17 interceptions. He racked up 22 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards passing, while rushing for 390 yards and eight touchdowns.

What it could mean: Ole Miss is hoping a stellar recruiting class can help vault them into the upper echelon of the SEC West. Hugh Freeze surprised a few teams in year one, which makes expectations sky high in year two.Georgia StateWhere: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Date: Oct. 5

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 1-0 (Last meeting, 2010, 63-7, Alabama)

Players to watch: Nose tackle Terrance Woodward finished third on the team with 59 tackles, including 10 against Tennessee, to go along with one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

What it could mean: Georgia State is entering its first season as an FBS program. While they won't have level of talent most SEC teams possess, a good showing against the defending national championships will bring nothing but good exposure to the Panthers program.KentuckyWhere: Lexington, Ky.

Date: Oct. 12

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 35-2-1 (Last meeting, 2009, 38-20, Alabama)

Players to watch: Linebacker Avery Williamson was second in the SEC with 135 tackles in 2012

What it could mean: Mark Stoops is entering his first season at the helm of the Wildcats and would like nothing more than to knock off the Tide to show fans Kentucky is more than just a basketball school.ArkansasWhere: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Date: Oct. 19

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 16-7 (Last meeting, 2012, 52-0, Alabama)

Players to watch: Defensive end Chris Smith led the Razorbacks in sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (13) .

What it could mean: Arkansas is in complete rebuilding mode after the John L. Smith debacle. New coach Bret Bielema will look to change the Razorbacks' culture from an air raid to a more ground and pound offense.TennesseeWhere: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Date: Oct. 26

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 48-38-7 (Last meeting, 2012, 44-13, Alabama).

Players to watch: Defensive tackle Daniel McCullers will look to build off last season in which he finished with 39 tackles, one sack, 5.5 TFLs.

What it could mean: The Volunteers are on their fourth coach in six years and face an incredibly difficult schedule. Butch Jones is out to restore the rich history and tradition Vols fans have come to expect over the years.LSUWhere: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Date: Nov. 9

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 47-25-5 (Last meeting, 2012, 21-17, Alabama)

Players to watch: Quarterback Zach Mettenberger almost knocked off then No. 1 Alabama in Death Valley last season. Mettenberger completed 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers 21-17 loss to the Tide. If he can take the next step in his progression, look for the Tigers to remain in the national title hunt.

What it could mean: This has become one of the best showdowns in all of college football. The winner of this game has represented the SEC West in the SEC championship game the last two seasons. The Tigers lost a lot of talent, but with the way Les Miles recruits, they'll always field formidable teams.Mississippi StateDate: Nov. 16

Where: Starkville, Miss.

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 75-18-3 (Last meeting, 2012, 38-7, Alabama)

Players to watch: Quarterback Tyler Russell threw for 2,897 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2012.

What it could mean: Year in and year out, the Bulldogs have finished middle of the pack in the SEC. If they want to take that next step, they'll have to start beating the conferences top teams.ChattanoogaDate: Nov. 23

Where: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads 11-0. (Last meeting, 2009, 45-0, Alabama)

Players to watch: Dual threat quarterback Jacob Huesman led Chattanooga with 2616 total yards (1712 passing, 904 rushing) and 20 touchdowns (13 passing, 7 rushing).

What it could mean: The Mocs stand very little chance of pulling the upset, but it will be interesting to see how they perform in front of the rabid Alabama fans.AuburnDate: Nov. 30

Where: Auburn, Ala.

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WEAM-AM 1580, WIOL-FM 95.7

Series record: Alabama leads, 42-34-1 (Last meeting, 2012, 49-0, Alabama)

Players to watch: Running back Tre Mason lead the team in rushing with 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns, but whomever Auburn decides to use at quarterback could ultimately determine the team's success this season.

What it could mean: Outside of the 2010 national championship season, the Tigers have struggled in the Iron Bowl during Nick Saban's tenure. If new Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn hopes to keep the fan base on his side, beating the instate rival would go a long way.

-- Marq Burnett

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