Game of the Day Preview: No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama
That sounds about right.
Although Michigan comes in with a lot of confidence, their top-10 ranking might be short lived. Without running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in the backfield, Denard Robinsin will be forced to do more and could have problems from the get-go against an inexperienced, yet very talented defense.
What to expect with Michigan: Denard Robinson to struggle. He will be the focal point of the offense, but without a consistent running game will have problems finding consistency through the air. He's already not an efficient passer and is turnover prone (1.3-to-1.0 touchdown-to-interception ratio), so it's likely that a solid rush from the edge will give the Tide plenty of chances to force numerous errors.
What to expect with Alabama: A nice debut for running back Eddie Lacy. Nick Saban is known for his backfield and pummeling ground attack, and the loss of Trent Richardson won't be as extreme as some think.
The Wolverines' front seven is undersized and won't be able to get past the nation's best offensive line, allowing Lacy to find space through the middle all day. This will ultimately open up the play-action pass for one of the NCAA's most underrated quarterbacks in A.J. McCarron.
Prediction: This could be Michigan's year to win the Big Ten, but it's nowhere near the level to compete with teams such as Alabama. Personally, this looks like a complete mismatch and could result to an early blowout if turnovers are implemented.
However, the more realistic prediction would be to think that Saban will play for field position and let the defense win the game. Lacy goes for 120 yards and two touchdowns as the Tide roll.
Alabama 24, Michigan 13 -- via Week 1 predictions