When the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide travel this Saturday to take on the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time since 2009, the game will be a tale of two drastically different programs and schedules.
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are well known, dominant and have a relatively easy schedule throughout the month of October before a major showdown with LSU in the second week of November.
Under the guidance of head coach Mark Stoops, Kentucky is undergoing a serious rebuild back into the realm of relevancy. While 2013 has been a step in the right direction, the matchup with Alabama marks the team's fourth contest in a row against a ranked team—the previous three have been defeats at the hands of Louisville, Florida and South Carolina.
Here is everything fans should know about the game.
When: Saturday, October 12 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: 52
- Spread: Alabama (-27)
Crimson Tide Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Dakota Ball||DL||10/02/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||undisclosed|
|Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix||S||10/02/2013||is suspended indefinitely||Suspended||disciplinary|
|Denzel Devall||LB||10/09/2013||is probable for Saturday's game against Kentucky||Probable||knee|
|Alvin Kamara||RB||10/06/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Kentucky||Questionable||knee|
|Ryan Kelly||C||09/29/2013||is expected to miss 2-3 weeks||Out||knee|
|Wilson Love||DT||10/06/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Kentucky||Questionable||concussion|
|Nick Perry||S||09/26/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||shoulder|
|Dalvin Tomlinson||DE||09/07/2013||is expected to miss the remainder of the season||Out||knee|
Wildcats Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Kyle Budde||LS||09/05/2013||will miss the remainder of the season||Out||knee|
|Thomas Chapman||DT||08/25/2013||has decided to transfer||Out||personal|
|Josh Clemons||RB||07/22/2013||will miss the entire season||Out||Achilles|
|Alvin Dupree||DE||10/09/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Alabama||Questionable||pectoral|
Can Alabama Limit Jalen Whitlow?
The Crimson Tide only allow 12 points per game, and Kentucky is not exactly a powerhouse at 23 points per game—but the Wildcats have a chance to put up points with Jalen Whitlow.
Up until last week, Stoops went with a two-quarterback system with Whitlow and Maxwell Smith.
Last week, Whitlow took things over in full against South Carolina and accounted for 247 total yards and three touchdowns.
Whitlow continues to improve through the air, and the Crimson Tide will be without starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who is serving an indefinite suspension after taking money from a coach per Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports.
If Whitlow can take advantage and play a similar game to what he did a week ago against the Gamecocks, the Wildcats can hang around.
At this juncture, the talent gap between the two teams heavily favors the Crimson Tide. To make matters worse for Kentucky, star defensive end Alvin Dupree is listed as questionable for the contest.
Which team wins?
While Whitlow looks like a budding star and Stoops has done a tremendous job with the program to this point, Alabama is simply the superior team.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron, owner of 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns, will have little issue moving the ball up and down the field against the Wildcats before walking out of Commonwealth Stadium with a massive victory.
The contests between these two teams will continue to get better if Stoops sticks around, but 2013 isn't the year Kentucky gives the Crimson Tide a tough game.
Crimson Tide win 44-13
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling