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3 potential trap games for Alabama football that Crimson Tide fans need to know

Alabama Crimson Tide logo at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel for 2018 CFP National Championship vs. Georgia
Adam Hagy - USA Today Sports

Alabama football has its schedule for the fall and Kalen DeBoer eyes a national championship opportunity as a first-year head coach for the Crimson Tide. 

Normally, Alabama fans embrace the matchups of Ole Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M on its schedule.

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However, the Southeastern Conference decided to do away with divisions and those four teams are not on the Tide’s schedule for the upcoming season. Alabama remains with a tough journey as it has Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, South Carolina, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma to face. People expect Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn to be good matchups for Alabama, yet there are three potential trap games if the Tide is not careful. Those contests are below for fans to watch.

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin finished 7-6 last year in his first season under Luke Fickell.

It will host Alabama at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. CT on FOX.

An early game kickoff on the road in week three will test Coach DeBoer’s team in his first year.

Few expect the Badgers to have a good roster, but the crowd will be provide a tough environment to make it a true road test for the Crimson Tide.

Wisconsin will have talented pieces, including wide receivers Will Pauling and Bryson Green.

Hunter Wohler, a safety, returns as the team’s top tackler (120) from 2023. He totaled 5.5 tackles for loss, a sack, six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, and two interceptions.

Wisconsin also returns its top pass rusher with Darryl Peterson. Alabama’s offensive line allowed 44 sacks of Jalen Milroe last season, and Peterson is itching to get Milroe on the ground several times. He totaled 10 tackles for loss, a team-high 4.5 sacks, four quarterback hurries, and two pass breakups in 2023.

Ricardo Hallman, a junior, is back for the Badgers as one of the best cornerbacks in the nation.

He led Wisconsin with seven interceptions last year, including one returned for a touchdown.

Missouri Tigers

Eli Drinkwitz has Missouri on everyone’s radar after his fourth season as head coach of the program.

He coached the Tigers to a 5-5 mark in 2020 and two 6-7 seasons before breaking out with 11 wins in 2023 that included a 14-3 victory over Ohio State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.

Missouri is a trap matchup for Alabama because where it is positioned on the Crimson Tide’s schedule.

The Tide has Missouri at home inside Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 26, but the game is between two road matchups versus Tennessee and LSU. Alabama suffered defeat from both schools on the road in 2022, regardless of having Bryce Young — the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner — as it starting quarterback.

The Tide will be heavily focused on the Volunteers and Tigers, but it cannot afford to overlook Missouri.

The Tigers, like Alabama, have a returning starter at quarterback with Brady Cook back from 2023.

He posted 3,317 passing yards, 319 rushing yards, and 29 total touchdowns last year. Luther Burden III returns as the Tigers’ leading offensive weapon. The talented wide receiver had 86 catches for 1,212 yards and nine touchdowns in 2023. 

Missouri also has Mookie Cooper, Marquis Johnson, and Brett Norfleet (tight end) on offense. 

Defensively, the Tigers have Johnny Walker Jr., Triston Newson, and Dylan Carnell. Walker collected 9.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, nine quarterback hurries, and three forced fumbles in 2023. Newson totaled seven stops for loss and two quarterback hurries while Carnell had seven breakups, eight quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, an interception, a pick-six, and 51 tackles. 

Oklahoma Sooners

After a rough first season in 2022, Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners were 10-2 last year to end their tenure in the Big 12 Conference.

Oklahoma, like Missouri, is a challenging matchup for Alabama in between Mercer and Auburn.

The Crimson Tide faces Auburn and Mercer at home, but travels to Norman (Okla.) to battle the Sooners on Saturday, Nov. 23. Jackson Arnold will replace Dillon Gabriel at quarterback, but Oklahoma has running backs Gavin Sawchuck and Tawee Walker. Sawchuck led the Sooners with 744 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.

Walker had 513 yards rushing with seven scores.

Oklahoma returns several playmakers at wide receiver, including Nic Anderson, Jahlil Farooq, Andrea Anthony, Jayden Gibson, and Brenen Thompson.

Anderson caught 38 passes in 2023, including 10 touchdowns — sharing the team lead.

Oklahoma returns its leading tackler in Danny Stutsman.

He was a highly productive linebacker with 104 tackles, 16 stops for loss, three sacks, three quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and an interception returned for a touchdown. Ethan Downs is back on the defensive line for the Sooners for his senior campaign.

He had 6.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and six quarterback hurries in 2023. Billy Bowman returns as Oklahoma’s playmaker in the secondary. He had a team-high six interceptions as a junior, including three returned for scores.

Venables has Oklahoma on the come up, so Alabama can afford to overlook the Sooners.

Oklahoma wants to show everyone it can compete in the SEC.

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Stephen M. Smith is the senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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