College Football Free Picks: ‘Bama’s Defense Is Trendsetting

Jordan AdamsContributor ISeptember 16, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

College Football Free Picks: ‘Bama’s Defense is Trendsetting

By: Jordan Adams

While Alabama’s non-conference schedule doesn’t exactly scream top-tier competition, there is still money to be made before the defending BCS champs begin SEC play at the end of September.

Only allowing a field goal in each of their first two games, the Tide’s defense have been lights out just as most expected they would this fall. Both victories, 48-3 over San Jose State and 24-3 over Penn State, stayed under the respective posted totals.

Just the same, Alabama’s 2-0 start has seen them comfortably cover both spreads to begin the 2010 campaign, despite not having reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram present in either game.

Now Nick Saban’s team ventures out on the road for the first time this fall, albeit against lowly Duke. And again there will be a chance to profit in a match-up that seems anything but close and competitive.

The Crimson Tide are installed as 24-point favorites in Durham, North Carolina this Saturday, and if you still are a bit weary to lay the wood, again look at the ‘under’. Having stayed under in each of the first two games, the total in this one seems a bit inflated at 57.

Sure Duke has scored 41 and 48 points in each of their first two games, but Elon and Wake Forest are hardly the giants that Alabama and their stifling defense appear to be. And when the Blue Devils get a first-hand look at the speed and talent of this SEC and national power, it will get ugly.

Duke is going to be hard-pressed to get in the end zone at any point in this game, that’s just a fact. Hey, it’s not a disrespect thing towards the ACC minnow, it’s a respect thing towards this dominant ‘Bama defensive unit.

They held Penn State scoreless until four minutes into the fourth quarter, and overall the Tide have allowed the fewest points in FBS so far this season. Saturday will also mark the likely return of defensive end Marcell Dareus, who was suspended for the first two games of the schedule.

Even with the return of Mark Ingram, this total is too high, knowing Alabama is only going to be able to score so many. Say the top-ranked Tide put up 40 points over Duke. For the Blue Devils to make up the rest of this number, roughly three scores, is quite ambitious.

Alabama’s rushing attack always finds a way to establish itself and control game tempo. With Ingram and Trent Richardson, eating up clock and keeping the pace to their advantage seems almost a foregone conclusion.

It seems like more of the same from the No. 1 team in the country. Pound the football with their highly-skilled rushers and when it calls for it, quarterback Greg McElroy takes the top off the defense with wide out Julio Jones and the passing game.

Bottom line is until an offense can prove they can attack this Alabama defense and put up some points against this unit, backers should be stubborn and back the ‘under’. And quite frankly, of all the offenses in college football, seems like Duke isn’t the one to break the mold.

‘Bama’s defense continues to be near perfect in execution and the ground game builds the lead. So far so good with two cashes for those betting the ‘under’ with Alabama. This match-up makes it three-for-three.

Pick: Alabama/Duke ‘Under’ 57


Jordan Adams is one of the main handicapping minds with Strike Point Sports over at Doc’s Sports. For your football picks and all handicapping needs, check them out at