Before he was Nick Saban, Alabama's head coach was Nick Saban, a defensive back for Kent State. He'll coach against his alma mater for the third time on Saturday, when the No. 1 Crimson Tide host the Golden Flashes at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Saban played at Kent State in 1970 and 1971. He first coached against the Flashes when he was at Toledo in 1990, and the Tide also played Kent State in 2011. Saban's teams have won each time, and they'll most assuredly win this time, too. An Alabama loss would be among the biggest upsets in college football history, and we ought not to bank on it.
Kent State's gone 1-2 to start the year. The Flashes have lost to Penn State and North Carolina A&T, and they got their first win last Saturday against Monmouth. They're 0-1 against FBS competition and 1-1 against the FCS, which isn't the sort of profile of a team that's about to pull off a monumental upset in Tuscaloosa. If this is competitive for more than a few minutes, it'll be a pleasant surprise.
How to watch, stream, and listen
TV: Noon ET, SEC Network. The broadcasters are Tom Hart, Andre Ware, and Cole Cubelic.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Alabama opened as a 41.5-point favorite.
Three big things to know
1. This is a two-week respite for the Tide. Alabama won at Ole Miss a week ago, ending a two-game drought against the Rebels that was even more ridiculous than it sounded. Alabama has a tune-up now, then another next week against Kentucky. Things will get hot after that, with Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and LSU up after that.
2. Kent State's head coach is Paul Haynes, who's 10-28 in Kent. Haynes got to KSU via a one-year SEC stop as Arkansas' defensive coordinator, and he's had jobs at a bunch of Power 5 schools. He was previously a co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Ohio State, and a secondary coach at Michigan State (another stop along Saban's way to the sport's summit) and Louisville.
3. Alabama will probably get to give some snaps to Jalen Hurts' backups at quarterback. It'll be surprising if this is close, so Saban might pull Hurts and find some chances for backups Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman. For the Tide, this week is about avoiding trouble, staying healthy and getting as much seasoning as possible.