Even though it is a night game for CBS, this Saturday's matchup between top-ranked Alabama and Texas A&M does not carry the hype that was initially expected. The Aggies entered the season ranked No. 6 but were upset by Appalachian State in Week 2 and blown out 42-21 last week by Mississippi State.
Nevertheless, the offseason "feud" between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher and last year's upset give this game intrigue. If the contest is close, it will likely make this list of the five best Alabama/Texas A&M games of all time.
5. Alabama 29, Texas A&M 21
Jan. 1, 1942 — Dallas
The Southwest Conference champion Aggies outgained the Tide 309 yards to 75 in the Cotton Bowl, but Alabama forced 12 (yes, twelve) turnovers and scored on three of them. The Crimson Tide led 29-7 in the fourth quarter and Texas A&M scored two late touchdowns against the third string.
4. Texas A&M 20, Alabama 16
Jan. 1, 1968 — Dallas
Alabama head coach Bear Bryant faced off against his former "Junction Boy" and Texas A&M head coach Gene Stallings in the Cotton Bowl. The Crimson Tide scored first with a three-yard touchdown run by Ken Stabler. The Aggies then responded with a 20-3 run to take a 10-point lead with 8:32 remaining. Stabler scored again on a seven-yard touchdown run, but A&M held Alabama scoreless in the fourth quarter. After the game, Bryant carried Stallings off the field to celebrate.
3. Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24
Nov. 10, 2012 — Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The first meeting between Alabama and Texas A&M as conference opponents was a watershed game for college football. The top-ranked Tide could not contain freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel as the Aggies took a 20-0 first-quarter lead and never relinquished it. Alabama scored on a 54-yard touchdown pass from A.J. McCarron to Amari Cooper with 6:09 remaining and drove all the way down to the A&M two-yard line. Then, Deshazor Everett intercepted McCarron's pass and the Aggies held on to win. The Tide rebounded to win their second straight national title, and Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. The game was a wake-up call for Alabama head coach Nick Saban who realized he would have to adopt a more wide-open offense that could keep pace with quarterbacks like "Johnny Football." Manziel's early success and the public scrutiny over the revenue he generated for A&M turbocharged the movement that culminated with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights.
2. Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42
Sept. 14, 2013 — College Station, Texas
While the 2012 game was more memorable, the Week 3 rematch in 2013 was arguably more exciting. Texas A&M jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, but Alabama tied the game in the second quarter. The Tide held 21-point leads twice, but the Aggies kept coming back and cut the lead to 49-42 when Manziel hit Malcome Kennedy with a four-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining. However, Alabama recovered the onside kick for the win. McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns and Manziel racked up 464 passing yards and five touchdowns and ran for another 98. A&M's 628 yards of total offense were the most ever given up by a Tide defense.
1. Texas A&M 41, Alabama 38
Oct. 9, 2021 — College Station, Texas
Defending national champion Alabama entered College Station with a 19-game winning streak, but Texas A&M led for the first 55 minutes of the game. The Tide took a 38-31 lead when Bryce Young threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams and then hit him again for the two-point conversion. The Aggies responded with a six-play drive that ended with Zach Calzada throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ainias Smith to tie the game with three minutes to play. A&M then forced Alabama to punt and then drove down to the Tide's 11-yard line where Seth Small booted the game-winning field goal.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.