Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 9/11/13
In what could easily be touted as the most highly anticipated NCAA event of the regular season, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will hit the road this weekend, gunning for a victory over Johnny Manziel and the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies. The Tide have the advantage on the college football moneyline and have won three of the past four BCS National Championships, but that doesn’t change the fact that things went very wrong the last time the two clubs clashed. Wrong, of course, for the Tide — not for the Aggies, who used the victory to launch the Johnny Football Era. In the past 10 months, the Aggies have relished the increased attention following the upset victory. It certainly doesn’t hurt the program’s credibility that they also knocked off Mississippi State and Oklahoma at other points during the year and that Manziel would ultimately win the 2012 Heisman Trophy. Still, while hype alone will put butts in front of the television this Saturday, it hasn’t swayed college football oddsmakers. With an eight-point advantage in the sportsbook, the college football odds point heavily in Alabama’s favor. With Nick Saban at the helm of what is yet again the consensus favorite to win the big game this January, the Tide are a team that nobody is quite ready to turn their back on, even if the last time the programs met his defense was overmatched on national television. This year, Manziel will look to work his magic once again alongside star running back Ben Malena. The offensive duo has played an instrumental part in Texas A&M’s rise to the forefront of the SEC and in their 14-1 odds of winning the 2013 title. Alabama, in contrast, tops those same NCAA football futures with 5-2 odds. But not only will the Week 3 matchup shape the AP rankings and eventual BCS picture, it could serve as a turning point for any number of individual players in their pursuit of their sport’s greatest personal accolade. Manziel, of course, won the Heisman in 2012, but he has 13-2 odds of doing it again in 2013. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron will be the next best bet that takes the field in College Station this weekend with 10-1 odds of his own. Even Bama running back T.J. Yeldon has a shot at the hardware with 16-1 Heisman odds, resulting in an afternoon showdown in which any number of young men could rise up and become a hero for their school. With so much riding on the matchup it’s easy to forget that this is a mid-September pairing, but don’t let anybody tell you otherwise — this could go down as the most important game in college football this season. Filed under: College Football, Headlines, Odds, Partner Staff

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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