Alabama Football: Biggest risk for Bama against Michigan

Alabama Football has a risk in the Rose Bowl, but Michigan is the team facing the most risks to slow a Crimson Tide offense that has found its identity.
Jordan Godfree-USA TODAY Sports

By Nick Saban's standard what follows in this post qualifies as 'Rat Poison' for the Alabama football team. Instead, consider it as an alternative perspective of reality not always conforming to conventional wisdom. As in, what many think they know about Alabama is wrong.

According to betting oddsmakers, the Michigan Wolverines are the favorite in the Rose Bowl. There is justification for making the Wolverines a slight favorite. Michigan is undefeated and has been consistently ranked higher than Alabama Football throughout the season.

The betting odds are misleading. The main reason the Crimson Tide is undervalued is because in multiple games Bama played down to its opposition. That fact has also provided hope for Michigan fans who understand the Wolverines have serious challenges against the Crimson Tide.

A significant distinction often missed about the Crimson Tide is its transformation. Alabama Football now is not the Crimson Tide of September and October. There were reasons for encouragement in October as the Tide improved. But what Alabama is now was not fully evident before the LSU game.

The Alabama defense improved during October. The Crimson Tide offense did not improve as much, until after the bye week before LSU. Much of the credit for that improvement should go to Tommy Rees. The poor LSU defense allowed Rees to implement versions of his offensive schemes that had not been used (or little used) in Tuscaloosa. The result was a more efficient Jalen Milroe being utilized as more than a drop-back passer and scrambler.

The details of how Tommy Rees modified the Alabama offense are many. A good summary is provided in the video below.

Josh Pate explained it perfectly when he said that Tommy Rees and the Alabama Football offense found its identity.

Milroe's 155 rushing yards against LSU required future opponents to rethink how to defend the Crimson Tide. Other than the Auburn game, Milroe did not need to rush for many yards. But the threat of what he now provides in the running game was a dilemma Georgia's defense was unable to overcome.

Minus the four sacks by the Bulldogs, Jalen Milroe rushed for 68 yards in the SEC Championship Game. And they were not only key yards, the threat of Milroe's rushing forced the Bulldogs into fewer players in pass coverage.

Alabama Football Rose Bowl Risks

From a scheme perspective, Alabama Football does not have risks against Michigan. Overall, Alabama has a more talented roster. The Tide can and will play to its strengths. The situation is different for Michigan. Defensively, the Wolverines have little choice but sell out to stop the Tide rushing attack, thereby forcing the Tide to be pass-heavy.

Jalen Milroe can beat Michigan with his arm, but balanced play-calling by Tommy Rees can counter any predictable defensive strategy by the Wolverines.

What is the Crimson Tide's biggest risk in the Rose Bowl? Against a No. 1-ranked opponent, the biggest risk for Alabama is oddly, but precisely - playing down to the level of a lesser team.

Note: Stats provided by and Sports Reference

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