1. Injured quarterback: For the third time in three SEC games, Alabama will face a team with an injured starting quarterback. Missouri’s James Franklin, who is finding defenses in the SEC not nearly as forgiving as the Big 12, won’t play because of a sprained medial collateral ligament.
2. No luck against No. 1: Missouri is 0-12 against teams ranked No. 1 in the major polls, including a 1978 meeting against top-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide was on its way to a national title and beat the Tigers in Columbia, Mo., 38-20. That also is the last time Alabama played Missouri before today. Missouri did beat Oklahoma in 2010 when the Sooners were No. 3 in the polls but first in the BCS standings.
3. Running game: After leading the SEC in rushing a year ago, Alabama is only sixth this year. Ole Miss stacked up the line two weeks ago and limited the Crimson Tide to 125 yards. That’s not good for a team that wants to win the battle up front.
4. Upset history: Missouri cost Alabama a national title in 1975 when the Tigers beat the Tide 20-7 to open the season. Alabama finished the season 11-1, and it’s reasonable to assume an unbeaten Tide would’ve taken the crown over oncebeaten Oklahoma, which took the title instead. Alabama was a three-touchdown favorite, and that game likely was the biggest upset loss in Bear Bryant’s 25 years as the Tide’s coach. From 1972-78, Missouri beat 10 teams that were ranked in the top eight at the time, including Ohio State, Notre Dame, Southern California and Nebraska.
Alabama’s defense vs. Missouri quarterback Corbin Berkstresser
With Franklin out because of the injury, that leaves the starting job to Berkstresser, a redshirt freshman. Berkstresser started one other time this season when Franklin missed Missouri’s 24-20 win over Arizona State because of a shoulder injury. Berkstresser ran for a touchdown and threw for 198 yards in that one, but last week when he replaced Franklin against Missouri, he completed 9 of 30 passes for 189 yards, including 85 on one play. The Crimson Tide ranks No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Amari Cooper WR, Fr., 6-1, 190
Cooper caught eight passes for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns two weeks ago against Ole Miss. That was his breakout game, but he has had at least one catch in every game this year and leads the Tide in catches (17) and receiving yards (222). And with sophomore DeAndrew White out for the season with a knee injury, Cooper likely will get even more chances to catch passes.
2: Number of missed field goals in 13 attempts by Alabama. That’s also the number of missed field goals in two attempts by Tide opponents.
6: Number of consecutive weeks Alabama has held the No. 1 spot in the polls. One more week will tie the school record, set three different times, including 1979, 1980 and 2009-10.
39: Linebacker C.J. Mosley’s tackles this season, which is 15 more than anyone else on the team.
33: Consecutive games as the betting-line favorite, including today. The streak dates back to the 2009 SEC Championship Game when the 4.5-point underdog Tide beat Florida 32-13.
For the third time in three SEC games, Alabama is facing a team with an injured quarterback. Even if Franklin was healthy, Missouri’s offense still has problems up and down the offensive line. The Tide should win comfortably, and if Missouri makes a bunch of turnovers, it could get ugly.
Alabama 31, Missouri 13