Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10th 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WKU +28/ALA -28
Over/Under Total: TBA
Last week the Alabama Crimson Tide proved why they were the No.1 ranked team in the country going into the 2016 season despite the loss of a lot of talent from last year’s National Championship team. The Crimson Tide destroyed 20th ranked USC to the tune of 52-6 in an eye opening blowout at AT&T Stadium. The Trojans entered the game with upset hopes as their opportunity to make a statement but the Crimson Tide was just too good in every aspect of the game. Now with the media jumping back on the bandwagon, the march towards a repeat National Championship is alive. This week Alabama returns home as they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama was favored just less than two touchdowns before they dismantled USC last week. At times, the offense showed signs of a new team trying to come together as things got off to a slow start. However by the end of the night, Alabama’s talent simply could not be contained. The defense played extraordinary by holding quarterback Max Browne to 14 of 29 passing for 101 yards. The Crimson Tide defense gave up just 190 total yards to the Trojans prolific offense. On offense, Alabama slowly started piecing together their new talent. Both quarterbacks Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts received valuable playing time. Barnett may have performed better but Hurts was oozing with potential. In the running game, Bo Scarbrough was held in check to just 36 yards but sophomore Damien Harris erupted for 138 yards on just 9 carries.
I am sure most people will simply look at the score to last week’s game and will be ready to hand the trophy to the Crimson Tide. However, I still think there are some question marks moving forward and this team may get a surprise this weekend in the form of Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers also put together a blowout last week with a 46-14 thumping over Rice. Quarterback Mike White erupted to throw for 517 yards and 3 touchdowns in his debut at the quarterback position. In total, Western Kentucky posted 649 total yards against Rice in what can only be described as an impressive performance.
I think a lot people have forgot that this Western Kentucky team amassed 12 wins last season. Sure, the schedule helped but they were still a solid football team. This week the Hilltoppers will go into Bryant-Denny Stadium as 28 point underdogs to the “unbeatable” and top ranked Crimson Tide. While most people will be quick to back the Crimson Tide in this spot after seeing how easy they destroyed USC, I believe the Hilltoppers are going to make it difficult for the number 1 team in the land.
Remember earlier when I said Alabama still had some lingering question marks on offense? The offense is still juggling quarterbacks and there will even be some who question as to which running back should get the bulk of the carries this week? Let’s not forget that there were some ugly moments too from this offense last week especially in the 1st quarter. Western Kentucky has an offense that can move the football against Alabama’s prominent defense. Mike White looked very good in his debut and this offense will spread the ball around to their veteran receivers to give them opportunities to make plays.
If the Hilltoppers can get the chains moving early in this game and possibly even make a score or two, I think they can sustain pressure on the defense to a degree for all 4 quarters. I would like to see how this Alabama offense looks if they are not on the short end of the field and capitalizing off turnovers on every possession. Of course that situation has to play out for us to get the outcome but I do think Western Kentucky is capable of delivering that type of pressure. Also, do I really have to point out the letdown situation that Alabama could easily fall into this week?
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: WKU has covered as a road underdog in 18 of their last 26 games in this situation. I think this is the perfect situation for them to do it again. Take WKU +28
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