Michigan Football: Alabama Defense a Good Early Test for Wolverines Offense

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to pass as he rolls out of the pocket against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Quarterback Denard Robinson and the rest of the Michigan offense will have a tremendous early-season test against the best defense in college football when they take on defending national champions Alabama on Sunday.

For the Wolverines, this could be a make-or-break game because their national title hopes are on the line against the Crimson Tide.

Robinson and his offense will face their toughest test of the season in Week 1, and their performance will show head coach Brady Hoke where his offense is ahead of Big Ten conference play.

Against last year's No. 1 defense in points allowed per game, the Wolverines will need to establish the running game early to open up Robinson's passing attack. This will be difficult since the Crimson Tide defensive line has impressive size and tackling ability.

At some point, Robinson is going to have to win the game for Michigan, because running the ball well consistently against Alabama is so difficult.

Michigan's running attack was the 13th best in the nation last season, but it didn't face a defense during conference play with the speed and skill that Alabama has.

If the Wolverines running game fails, Robinson will have to gain a lot of yards on second and third downs through the air, which is not an ideal situation against a defense as good as Alabama's.

Following its Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in January, Michigan is coming into this season with very high expectations, and rightfully so.

For the Wolverines to prove they are legitimate national title contenders this season, an opening-week upset over Alabama is necessary.

If Michigan's offense is able to have success against the ultra-talented Alabama defense, the Wolverines will be able to dominate any team in conference play.