The Wisconsin Badgers from the Big-10 make the vaunted task of opening against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first week of the season. Another Big-10 team found out the hard way a couple years back against Alabama. The Wolverines ended up getting thrashed by Alabama in that opening game, which ultimately set the tone for the rest of their season. Now it is Wisconsin’s turn. Perhaps the last memory you have of Wisconsin is them getting embarrassed against Ohio State in the Big-10 Championship game. It wasn’t even until the second half of the game that Wisconsin had the ball in Ohio State territory. A couple weeks later the Buckeyes went and defeated Alabama to advance to the finals of the college football playoff. The Buckeyes ultimately had big games against both these teams en route to the championship. Both the Badgers and Crimson Tide are trying to put those games in the past. A win today would get the process started. As always Alabama is atop the polls in the country, currently ranked 3rd in the country heading into week 1. Sure that looks nice and all, but Bama is typically used to entering as number 1 and at the worst 2. Could the Crimson Tide possibly suffer from growing pains this season?
The Badgers have some work to do in the Big-10. I have the Spartans ahead of them and then of course the Buckeyes are. It’d take a lot of good fortunes on the Wisconsin side for them to win the conference championship. They’ll be a good team that is going to win plenty of games, but I don’t foresee it being enough to upend Ohio State or Michigan State. However, an upset of Alabama tonight would most certainly get the attention of all across the country. The Badgers will enter with Joel Stave at the controls. Wisconsin is just hoping he can be a solid game manager. Melvin Gordon is in the NFL, but the Badgers typically just reload at the running back position. Note, though, three newcomers will be starting on the offensive line. Always a strength of the Badgers. I look a little deeper into this matchup below, where I make my pick as well.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide CFB Pick
@Alabama -12 (-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Wisconsin vs. Alabama Pick:
Note that this is being played at a neutral field in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Bama didn’t need the home field to dispatch U of M easily, we’ll see if they can do it against the Badgers in the opener tonight. While Wisconsin lost their star running back, Alabama lost a lot as well. Notably quarterback Blake Sims and receiver Amari Cooper. Sims is trying to hold a job down in the CFL, while Cooper is expecting to play a big role for the Raiders this season. Cooper has looked great in the preseason there. However, it doesn’t do Alabama much good with him in Oakland. Sims wouldn’t wow you or anything, but he was capable of running the Alabama offense. Now they aren’t even completely confident who is going to lead the way this season. There are three quarterbacks vying for that spot, with I imagine Jacob Coker having the upper hand in that battle. Coker was expected to be the starter last season, but it never played out that way. He made the move from Florida State to Alabama in hopes of leading the way. I do know Alabama will make use of the run game aplenty, especially tonight with uncertainty at quarterback. Bama is going to need a quarterback to make plays for them this season, but I don’t exactly think they’ll need it tonight.
I don’t envision the Badgers getting much offense against the Crimson Tide tonight. There are openings to pass the ball in the Alabama secondary, we have seen teams exploit that the last couple of seasons, but Wisconsin doesn’t have the type of team to make that happen. The Badgers love to run the ball down opposing teams throats, but that doesn’t come so easy against Alabama. We saw last season how lost they were when the run game wasn’t working against Ohio State. They shrivelled up and got exploited. With a new running back and new pieces on the offensive line, coupled with a very average quarterback, Wisconsin should find it hard scoring points. I see this as a low-scoring game, with Bama being happy to get out of there with an ugly win. Expect the ball to be run frequently in this game from both teams. I like the UNDER to cash.
PICK: UNDER 51.5 POINTS (-110)