#2 Alabama vs. #8 Michigan
This game pairs up two of the biggest and most respected football dynasties in the country. You will find few schools that have as many wins and memorable seasons, teams and coaches as these two. Together, they have had their hands on 25 national titles and account for 1,709 wins. There will be no shortage of prestige in this game.
Michigan is led by the phenomenal dual-threat quarterback, Denard Robinson. Robinson threw for 2,173 yards and 20 touchdowns last year, while also adding 1,176 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. Michigan also had the sixth best defense in the country. Their offense averaged 33.3 points per game and featured the 13th best rushing offense. Last year’s 11-2 record was an unbelievable first year for Michigan coach Brady Hoke and there are many people who think they can be better this year.
Alabama is the reigning champ, winning the National Championship in a devastating fashion against conference-rival LSU. Alabama outplayed them in every facet of the game and shut out LSU 21-0. That game was the first time a team has ever been shut out in the National Championship game. Alabama finished the year with the best defense in the country. Their offense wasn’t too shabby either, ranking in at number 20. You should take note that Alabama will only have 10 starters returning from that team, but those numbers seem to hardly matter when Nick Saban is the coach. Saban has a knack for making players act more mature and experienced than they are. The Crimson Tide squad that steps on the field Saturday will be a national title contender.
These teams are both looking for a National Championship this year, and luckily for us, they have to go through each other. This match-up looks great on paper and it could be an exciting clash of styles. Michigan’s spread option attack and Alabama’s run-heavy pro-style offense couldn’t be more different. It will be an exciting game.
As much as I respect Michigan’s newly found competitiveness, I think Alabama is simply better. Alabama has a great defense and will pressure Robinson and keep him on the run. Robinson has shown that his passing is inaccurate when he is pressured, so this does not bode well. Bama will run the ball most of the time and QB A.J. McCarron will only throw the ball when necessary, so there will be very few turnovers for Michigan to capitalize on. Alabama will “ground and pound” them throughout the game, so don’t be surprised if the game is still close at halftime. Bama will break away in the 3rd quarter.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own prediction? Let me know in the comments.
-Marty F. Nemec