Big Ten Game of the Week: Week 1 Michigan vs. Alabama

Are you getting football fever yet? With fall camp opening less than a month away, we cannot wait for the season to begin and the chaos to unfold throughout the year.

Up until the season starts, I will give my pick on each weeks game of the week in the Big Ten.

Week One: Alabama vs. Michigan 8:00 p.m. ABC

Michigan will win if they..

If Michigan wants the rest of the college football world to know that they are back and need to be taken seriously, a win against the national champs will help. Alabama is not shy about scheduling big non-conference games and it has benefitted them the past few years. They had no trouble at Penn State last season and head coach Nick Saban will have the Tide ready to play against Michigan. The Wolverines will need to do two major things to come out on top. 1) Michigan must not turn the ball over. It will be difficult enough against the Tide defense, even if they lost several key players, Bama is the best at reloading with first round talent year in and year out. Denard Robinson will need to make smart decisions with the football and running back Fitzgerald Toussaint will have to have a big game to take the load off of Robinson. 2) Stop Eddie Lacy and the Tide running game. Alabama lost Trent Richardson to the NFL, but Eddie Lacy is more than capable to carry the load in the backfield in Tuscaloosa. They also have several freshman ready to step in and make a strong impact. If Michigan can force AJ McCarron to throw and make poor decisions with the football, it will give them a chance to get their defense off the field.

Alabama will win if they..

The Tide enter their game against Michigan with all the confidence in the world. After winning the National Championship against LSU, quarterback AJ McCarron is playing his best football of his career with the Tide. He’s confident in the pocket and knows he has a great running game to back him up. The Tide will need to shut down quarterback Denard Robinson and make him one dimensional with the football. Robinson completed only 55% of his passes in 2011, slipping from 62.5% in 2010. He has tendencies to make poor decisions with the football and needs to clamp down on his interceptions. If Alabama can shut him down in the running game, it benefits them greatly. If the Tide win the turnover battle, Michigan could be in for a long night.

Prediction: Alabama wins by 10.

Alabama is the cream of the crop in college football and Michigan is on their way back to that level, but they aren’t there yet. AJ McCarron is poised for a big season and Eddie Lacy is going to be a horse to bring down. The Tide’s defense will make enough plays against the Michigan offense and give them a chance to win the game. It will be an exciting game to watch even if Michigan loses Big Ten fans. The fact that Michigan is competing at a high level against the best in college football, is another step in the right direction for this program.

Will Wilson is writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.

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