Staff Predictions for Alabama vs. Wisconsin
Alabama football opens its season in primetime against Big Ten heavyweight Wisconsin and finds itself a pretty comfortable favorite.
The spread opened with the Crimson Tide a 10.5-point favorite but it's risen to 12.5-points as of Friday morning. Both teams have to replace a number of key players from last year's roster but expectations remain high in Alabama and Wisconsin.
This is college football's only ranked matchup in week one so all eyes will be on this game at 7 PM, but what should everyone expect? Here's how the staff at Tide 99.1 sees it playing out.
Chris Stewart (Host of The Chris Stewart Show)
While there is uncertainty at QB (and may very well still be after this game), there is too much talent available - especially in the running game - to think Alabama won't be able to score. The defense is eager to show the preseason hype is justified. Alabama 34, Wisconsin 10.
Ryan Fowler (Host of The Game)
Still a lot of unknowns about this year’s team, but what we do know about this team is enough to beat Wisconsin. Alabama will reestablish their identity with a rushing attack that Alabama fans have not seen in several years. I think Alabama will also do this a lot out of the uptempo style offense. One word for Alabama’s defense: elite. Alabama 24, Wisconsin 14
Ryan McMunn (Producer)
Football is back and what better way to kick off the season than with two of the premier programs in college football now in Alabama and Wisconsin?
We're all worried about the QB situation for the Tide, but it's not going to matter too terribly much in this game who starts under center for head coach Nick Saban. We'll see a healthy dose of a combination of Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, and true freshman Damion Harris, so the likelihood of a mistake from the QB (I'll say Jake Coker gets the first snap) throughout the game will be minimized to nearly zero.
The Badgers from Madison, WI are a grind it out, ground and pound type of team, but they don't quite have the talent on the offensive line to contain Alabama's near 10-deep defensive line. That's where this game will be won for the Crimson Tide.
Bama won't score many points, but they won't have too since they'll match-up so well against the Badger offense. Alabama 24 Wisconsin 10
Trey Brooks (Producer)
You beat the Tide by throwing the football, not exactly the Badgers' strength. Look for the Tide to slowly pull away as Wisconsin becomes turnover prone when Alabama takes them out of their game. I look for both Kenyan Drake and Cyrus Jones to be all over the field throughout this contest. Coker will start and take a majority of the snaps. Alabama 31, Wisconsin 14
Kevin Connell (Contributor)
Nick Saban noted during his Monday press conference this week that Alabama, as well as college football itself, has changed over the last couple of years. On offense, teams have come up with new innovative ways for production, forcing defenses, as a result, to adjust.
But that doesn't mean all teams have altered the way they play the game.
Wisconsin, a traditional pro-style offense, provides a perfect matchup for Alabama defenses of past and present. Unlike what it will see in much of its SEC schedule, the Crimson Tide will have the rare opportunity to play primarily in its base 3-4 defense, a strong suit of Saban's teams.
Alabama, still in no shortage of big, physical defensive players, will do enough to slow down the Badgers' dominant rushing attack, forcing them to produce through the air. Conversely, Wisconsin, fourth in total defense last season, will provide some trouble for Alabama's new starting quarterback(s) and company, but it won't be enough. Alabama 27, Wisconsin 13
Ben George (Digital Managing Editor)
How much fun would this game be if it was in Madison or Tuscaloosa? I digress.
Wisconsin nearly went 2-0 against SEC teams last season so they'll be ready to play on Saturday night. While I think the Badgers' running game will test Alabama's strong defensive front at times, Wisconsin will still be hard-pressed to put points on the board. I'm most interested in seeing the Crimson Tide's offense on the field - not as much for quarterbacks but rather all of the new skill players.
Ultimately, though, this game is about Alabama's defense and it should lead the way. Alabama 24, Wisconsin 6