What a way to start 2012.
If the fact that both teams are ranked in the Top 10 wasn't enough for you to fall in love with this matchup, this is a classic bout between two of college football's heavyweight programs. Just like a boxing match, the fans are hoping this turns into a slugfest with a team getting a definitive final shot to win it all.
Whether you're pulling for the crimson and white or the maize and blue, this matchup will get you in the mood for college football season.
As if you weren't already in the mood!
Who ya got?
When: Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
Stars to Watch:
With the departure of starting running back Trent Richardson to the Cleveland Browns and the NFL, the new No. 1 back on Alabama's campus is junior Eddie Lacy.
Lacy had only 95 carries last season behind the workhorse Richardson, but Lacy managed to put up a spectacular 674 yards for an average of 7.1 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns—not too shabby.
Alabama’s offensive line is as big and talented as it has ever had on campus, and an improved passing game will give Lacy every chance to succeed that a young player could ask for.
If the Crimson Tide get the back going early, it will be a long day for the Wolverines and a long season for anyone playing Alabama.
There is no bigger star on the Michigan Wolverines roster than star dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson. With his senior year being his final chance to make an impression on the NFL scouts, college football fans should expect amazing things from the QB.
Robinson had 2,173 yards passing in 2011 and another 1,176 yards rushing, but this season will show a much more mature version of the QB who can win the close games by knowing when to make a pass and when to break a run.
If Robinson wants to help his team past the tough Alabama Crimson Tide, he needs to be perfect on Saturday. After four years of learning what to do and what not to do, it's the senior QB's job to take the game over and lead his team to a win.
It's now or never for Robinson's legacy.
As much pressure as there is for Robinson in Michigan, the real heat in 2012 is on Alabama Crimson Tide junior starting quarterback A.J. McCarron.
With an unproven running back, mediocre wide receivers and a rebuilt defense, the QB must be ready to carry the bulk of the workload and improve on his numbers from 2011.
The key to his success will be an improved completion percentage.
Michigan will be bringing its best defense in years to Cowboys Stadium Saturday, so the tough Week 1 test for the Crimson Tide and McCarron will set the tone for the entire season. If he falls flat on his face, so will the entire team.
If McCarron shines on Saturday, though, Alabama will remain a National Championship favorite throughout the 2012 season.
Check back for more on the NCAA football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s college football page to get your fill of college football.