Game Preview: No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs No. 14 Miami Hurricanes

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Alabama Crimson Tide offense lineman Kendall Randolph (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Key Matchups

Jalyn Armour-Davis vs Key’Shawn Smith

As mentioned previously, Jobe will most-likely shadow Rambo, meaning Armour-Davis will likely be one-on-one often with Miami’s other primary outside target in Smith. Tasked with replacing Patrick Surtain II, this will be a tough matchup for Armour-Davis in his first career start as a starting corner as he could see both Rambo and Smith one-on-one, as well as potentially Dee Wiggins and Michael Redding III.

Kendall Randolph vs Zach McCloud/Jahfari Harvey

Spending the last two seasons as primarily a blocking tight end, Randolph will likely draw the start Saturday at right tackle. Lining up across from Randolph will likely be either McCloud or Harvey, both of whom are experienced pass rushers.

Javion Cohen vs Nesta Jade Silvera/Jon Ford/Jared Harrison-Hunte

Another Alabama offensive lineman that will likely be drawing his first start Saturday is Cohen, who will be the Crimson Tide’s starting left guard. Miami will rotate multiple defensive linemen in-and-out, and it will be key for Cohen to win these one-on-one matchups to help set up Alabama’s run game.

Game Prediction

Alabama enters this game considered as the clear favorite, and rightfully so as the Crimson Tide return numerous pieces off last seasons national title winning team. While there may be some potential concerns surrounding Alabama’s offense due to the pure “unknown” of younger players in a new system run by a new offensive coordinator, the Crimson Tide defense should, and most-likely will, be the story here.

As mentioned at the beginning, this is the best Alabama defense talent-wise in years, and we should see Alabama attempt to flex their muscle here defensively. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King must have success running the ball, and that may be difficult to do against this Alabama defense with Anderson, Allen, and others on the edges.

Offensively, expect O’Brien to get Young going early-on during his first career collegiate start with a mix of short passes, to eventually help set-up the downfield passing game. Expect Alabama to also rotate multiple running backs to help establish the ground game early.

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No, this game won’t necessarily be a blow-out in the first half, but that is always possible. Regardless, Alabama is the more complete team in this matchup, and should win this game by at-least two touchdowns.

Prediction: Alabama 38 Miami 17