Michigan vs. Alabama: What We Learned from Saturday's Marquee Matchup

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01:  C.J. Mosley #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a touchdown interception against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There was so much hype around the Week 1 matchup between the No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines that there was no way this game would disappoint, right?

After the Crimson Tide issued a beatdown of the Wolverines to the tune of 41-14, we learned a lot about both programs and what we can expect from them in 2012.

It’s incorrect to doom Michigan simply because of their poor showing in Week 1, because some teams just start slow. While the Wolverines looked terrible, Alabama picked up where it left off and looks like a BCS National Championship contender again.

College football fans learned much about these two teams Saturday, but be warned: The truth isn’t always pretty.


What We Learned about Alabama

If you watched Alabama in 2011, you may not recognize many of the new faces on the team due to the inevitable loss of talent to graduation and the NFL. Normally, so much turnover would cause a down season for a program.

Not for the Crimson Tide.

The defending national champions came out like they never had a day off and didn’t lose a player on the defensive side of the ball. With all the talk of Denard Robinson and the Wolverines' scary offensive attack, the star only had 227 passing and rushing yards combined.

With the defense obviously doing just fine, the loss of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson on offense over the last two seasons raised many questions about how the team would play under the leadership of A.J. McCarron.

Those questions were answered emphatically.


What We Learned about Michigan

As much as its preseason No. 8 ranking was an honor that the school may have deserved on paper, Michigan looked terrible throughout their tough season-opening matchup.

Head coach Brady Hoke needs to rally his troops and get them to realize that nothing will be handed to them; they’ll have to fight for respect for the rest of the season.

Despite the fact that we learned that elite defense can completely take Denard Robinson out of a game, Michigan’s biggest issue was on the defensive side of the ball. Alabama put up 41 points and probably would have scored more had Nick Saban kept his foot on the throttle.

The Wolverines must go back to the drawing board and use Week 2 as the new beginning of the season. If the Michigan players weren’t ready for action before Alabama ruined them, they are now.


Alabama Crimson Tide Season Prediction

After a BCS title and a huge roster turnover, there were many questions about what kind of team Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide would show up with this year.

If the lopsided victory over Michigan wasn’t enough, Alabama has a schedule that is as favorable as you could ask for in the SEC. If they can get past LSU late in the season, Alabama could run the table.

Whether the team goes undefeated or loses one game, it will be playing for a second consecutive national championship at the end of the season.


Michigan Wolverines Season Prediction

The Michigan Wolverines were set up for one of the biggest letdowns any school could ever face when they saw Alabama on their schedule for opening weekend.

There is no question that the Wolverines are improved from last year, but there is still much work that must be done before that starts to translate to big wins. Brady Hoke had his boys on the right track before the season-opening beatdown, but he must keep the team focused and ready.

However, with so much damage done by the Crimson Tide, the Wolverines will start to unravel before finishing the season 7-5.


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.