Alabama Football: Clear reasons for a Rose Bowl victory

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Michigan Wolverines remain a slight favorite (a single point) over Alabama Football in the Rose Bowl. Based on Michigan message boards, fans of the Wolverines are confident their team can and should beat the Crimson Tide.

Close to a unanimous result is provided in the predictions from the top college football algorithms. The computer calculations project a Michigan victory, by as much as a touchdown.

Alabama football fans disagree. To most of us, the Crimson Tide, playing its best football, will be too much for the Wolverines. Maybe the too much will be a close win. Or maybe, the good Michigan team matches up poorly with the Crimson Tide and Bama will win by more than a touchdown.

As good as computer projections can be, they can also be flawed. Some elements determine the outcome of games that are not quantifiable. When ESPN’s algorithm gives the Wolverines a 55.9% chance to win, it does not calculate some differences between the two teams.

Alabama Football: Three clear reasons for Tide victory

  • There is a talent discrepancy between the two rosters. Jim Harbaugh has some outstanding players in Blake Corum and J.J. McCarthy. The Wolverines have other good players, but beyond the top pair, no more than two or three can be considered game-changers. On the same level as Corum and McCarthy was Michigan offensive lineman, Zac Zinter. After losing Zinter to injury, the Michigan offensive line has struggled. As always, Nick Saban has a roster loaded with game-changing players. That alone is enough to give Alabama the win.
  • Another incalculable reason to predict a Crimson Tide victory is the Alabama football staff. Even against an evenly-matched opponent, the Tide has an advantage from Nick Saban and the brain trust that creates game plans. Given the added time before a CFB Playoff game, Saban and his staff can be expected to not only have a solid plan, but options to adjust to any surprises by the Wolverines. Alabama football fans worry about sign-stealing. If that gave Michigan an advantage during the season, it will not be a factor in the Rose Bowl.
  • Michigan will have no choice but to spy Jalen Milroe. Though doing so, did not do much to slow him against Georgia, Michigan fans believe the Wolverines will prosper by making Milroe rely on his arm rather than his legs. The tactic will make the Michigan secondary more vulnerable, with one less defender available to cover Crimson Tide receivers. Michigan has a pair of good cornerbacks, but Alabama can take advantage of others in the Michigan secondary.

The game will be more complex than just three reasons for a Crimson Tide victory. Limiting the success of Blake Corum will be important. J.J. McCarthy is rarely given designated runs, but he is fast and elusive. The Alabama defense must contain his scrambling ability or the Michigan QB will make drive-sustaining plays.