When the Alabama Football team lines up on Monday for the Rose Bowl they will have seen a team built like Michigan whereas the Wolverines haven't quite seen anything like this Alabama Team. With the discussions around the game, you'll see conversations surrounding quarterback play, coaching, and many other factors except the style of play. The two teams taking the field couldn't be any more different. Michigan has been a run-heavy team the past few seasons building its identity in running the football with solid running backs like Blake Corum. The Alabama Football team has had evolving identities as they've rolled with changes at offensive coordinator nearly every other year.
When the Michigan offense takes the field however, the Alabama Defense will have seen a few rushing attacks similar to what the Wolverines look to run. The Georgia Bulldogs were seen as one of the nation's top rushing attacks and the narrative entering the SEC Championship game was how the Bulldogs rushing attack would be too much to handle. Alabama's defense held the Bulldogs to 78 yards on 31 carries for 2.5 yards per game allowing only 17 yards on Georgia's longest run. The Auburn Tigers had the most success running on Alabama as they ran the ball 42 times for 244 yards and two touchdowns.
The real issue for the Michigan Offense will come if they try to only run the ball as they did against Penn State earlier this season. The Michigan passing attack has been anything but scary down the stretch this season as they haven't passed for 200 or more yards since before the Connor Stallions cheating scandal. The Michigan Wolverines haven't been able to find their early-season passing attack and have relied heavily on their defense to skate by as the seasons gotten harder.
The Michigan defense is one of the stronger units in the country however, the Alabama Football team has seen defenses just as good if not better in SEC play. The Alabama Football team was able to move the football on the Georgia Bulldog defense which has become one of the top units in college football. Also, despite how the Texas A&M season ended Jalen Milroe excelled against their defense which was loaded with top-tier talent in the front seven.
When it comes to the Wolverines where have they played a quarterback like Jalen Milroe? Drew Allar and Kyle McCord failed to live up to expectations in 2023 meaning the best quarterback the Wolverines may have faced is Taulia Tagovailoa. The Penn State and Ohio State defenses are extremely talented and lived up to the billing in 2023 but, neither school has a secondary as loaded as Alabama's and the best pass rusher of all three teams is certainly Dallas Turner. Michigan's Top receivers Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson have struggled to get separation and they haven't played cornerbacks as good as Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid Mckinstry. They missed playing Cooper Dejean who was injured for the Big Ten title game and Denzel Burke is excellent but, both Arnold and Mckinstry will go higher in the draft.
Alabama Football: They've been here before
The two teams have both been in spots like they will be on Monday night these past few years. Michigan has looked like world-beaters entering the playoffs the past two seasons and expected to win both matchups before getting dismantled in games where they're the higher seed. The Alabama Football team entered the SEC Championship game where everyone predicted they'd be unable to stop the rushing attack of the Dogs and yet, the defense did just that. The Alabama Football team has been battle-tested all season knocking off the Heisman winner, a strong Ole Miss team, and the reigning back-to-back national champions while it's unclear just how strong the Big Ten was this season.
Note: All Stats via ESPN