Only six current active coaches have won a national title. Two of them will meet on Saturday when No. 2 Alabama plays host to No. 13 Texas A&M on Saturday. The Crimson Tide are one of the favorites to make it back to the College Football Playoff and win their sixth national championship under coach Nick Saban. Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies aren't quite in the same boat.
Before Texas A&M can win a national title under Fisher -- which is what Fisher was brought to College Station, Texas, to do -- it first must get by Alabama, Auburn and LSU and win an SEC West crown. The Aggies are yet to do that as members of the SEC, and they last won a division title when they split the Big 12 South with Oklahoma in 2010.
The closest the Aggies have come to winning the West was their first season in the division in 2012. That also happens to be the last time A&M beat Alabama when Johnny Manziel led the team to a 29-24 upset. It's been seven straight Alabama wins since, with the Tide winning by an average of 21.7 points per game. In the two meetings under Fisher, the Aggies have been outscored 92-51.
Alabama: Is the veneer on Alabama starting to crack a bit? The Tide missed the College Football Playoff last season for the first time in the event's history, and they've lost three of their last five games against ranked opponents. One of those losses was last season at home to LSU, snapping a 31-game home winning streak. There were also questions about how the team would look this year after losing Tua Tagovailoa and much more talent to the NFL. Well, if last week's win over Missouri is an indication, anybody writing off Alabama could look foolish quickly. The team controlled the game throughout, and Mac Jones did a lot of damage while throwing fewer passes than any other QB in the SEC aside from Georgia's D'Wan Mathis, who was benched mid-game. Still, nobody judges Alabama by what it does against Missouri. This game will be the first test of the season in the eyes of many.
Texas A&M: As mentioned above, Fisher wasn't brought to Texas A&M to win eight or nine games a season and compete for New Year's Day bowl games in Florida. You don't guarantee a coach $75 million over 10 years for anything other than national titles. Thus far, Fisher has not delivered. The Aggies went 17-9 in his first two seasons and 9-7 in the SEC. Still, Fisher has raised recruiting expectations in College Station, and entering his third season, he has a roster more talented than his first two. This is the year where people expect to see a step forward. The step wasn't evident in a lackluster 17-12 win over Vanderbilt last week. Was that a case of early-season rust? A vanilla gameplan because the Aggies didn't want to put anything on tape for Alabama? Or was it just an ominous sign of things to come? We'll start to find out this weekend.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 3 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Game prediction, picks
I've always had a pretty solid rule of thumb when picking Alabama games in the SEC. Generally, when Alabama is at home, you want to bet against it. It does a much better job of covering the spread when on the road. But, when we look closer at the results, the Tide perform better at home with larger spreads. In 26 SEC games under Saban when they've been favored by 17 points or more -- like they are here -- they've gone 16-10 ATS. When I see that trend and combine it with how soundly Alabama has beaten the Aggies recently, it's hard to go any other way here. Pick: Alabama (-17)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 5, and which SEC team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past four-plus seasons -- and find out.