Few college football programs have the prestige and history as Alabama and Michigan.
On Saturday night both programs will be fighting for their future position against one another.
Alabama has returned to the top of college football and Michigan is trying to reestablish its program as one of the nation's elite. A win in Dallas will go a long way toward launching the victorious team's overall success this season.
Michigan's chances did take a major hit Friday with the announcement that star running back Fitzgerald Toussaint would be suspended for the Alabama game because of drunk-driving charges incurred last month.
Michigan was already at a major disadvantage matching up against Alabama's young but talented defense. Now, the task might be impossible.
Yes, the Wolverines have QB Denard Robinson but running quarterbacks rarely fair well against Nick Saban's defenses. Even Heisman winner Cam Newton only rushed for 39 yards on 22 carries against the Tide defense.
Can Robinson beat Alabama with his arm?
Both starting cornerbacks for the Tide are being replaced, which might give the Wolverines a shot at some big plays in the vertical passing game. However, have you ever seen a Saban-coached defensive back not play at a high level?
When the Tide are on offense, they have another obvious advantage. Though Alabama is breaking in a new starting running back and still do not have any proven wide receivers, the Tide still has the best offensive line in college football. I am convinced that Saban could line up at running back and average four yards per carry.
Moreover, Michigan is replacing three of their four starters on the defensive line. That is the recipe for a disaster. Look for Eddie Lacy to have a big night as he attempts to be the third Alabama running back in four seasons to be a Heisman finalist.
Alabama is going to win this football game, the question is by how much. With a new offensive coordinator, expect Saban to have a conservative game plan. Although he has been known to surprise people and become more aggressive on offense, I expect Saban to keep things conservative in order to keep Robinson off the field.
As a result, Alabama will wear Michigan down running the ball but not dominate the scoreboard as much as they could.
Eddie Lacy rushes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama wins 27-13.
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