The 2012 college football season finally kicks off for Alabama this Saturday against the Michigan Wolverines. Though there are no statistics yet for 2012, there are still plenty of numbers available from the 2011 season that are pertinent to the epic clash.
Brady Hoke may need to wait for Robinson's departure before Michigan returns to more traditional form, but Wolverines fans are expecting a lot from him in 2012.
Here are some benchmarks to keep in mind when the Tide takes the field Saturday night (stats from ESPN.com):
Robinson's Total Yardage: 250
Alabama's Leading Rusher: 100 yards
Michigan's Rushing Yard Total: 150
Alabama's Total Yardage: 300
Alabama's Total Yards Allowed: 300
You may be asking, "What significance do these stats hold?" I'm so glad you asked.
Every one of these stats is an excellent barometer for whether the Tide will walk off the field with a win or a loss.
In both of Michigan's losses last year, Robinson had a yardage total less than 250. If Alabama dominates Michigan in Tide-and-true tradition, this 250 number won't even cross a crimson mind.
In the Tide's only loss last year, the leading rusher (Trent Richardson) only had 89 yards on the ground. Granted, that was a gigantic number against the nation's second-ranked defense, but it was not enough on that day. The 100-yard mark is not a necessity, but it would certainly help Tide fans relax.
Michigan's losses in 2011 also occurred when the Wolverines gained less than 150 yards on the ground as a team. Alabama's average yards per game allowed on the ground last year was 72.15.
Alabama's total yardage against LSU in the regular-season game was 295. Alabama gained well over 300 total yards in all 12 of its wins in 2011. (Alabama almost broke 400 yards in each of its 12 wins.)
The last stat of major consequence is total yards allowed by the Crimson Tide. The only team to gain over 300 yards and still lose to the Tide was the Georgia Southern Eagles, who were ranked third in the entire FCS at the time of the game. If 'Bama can keep Michigan under 300 total yards, there is a great chance at starting the championship-defending season with a signature win.