The reigning National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will begin their repeat quest tonight against the Louisville Cardinals in Orlando. It goes without saying that Alabama are stacked once again in 2018. Under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have been the most feared team in college football. It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Alabama last season, though. There were some people who believed that they didn’t belong in the playoff to begin with.
They lost to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, 26-14, and were still granted a spot in the College Football Playoff. Alabama failed to go to the SEC Championship, which ultimately was a deciding factor in critics arguing they don’t belong in the playoff. I didn’t believe they should have been going either, but they beat a good Clemson and Georgia team to get their 17th FBS title.
There aren’t many teams who can go to the backup quarterback and get better, but that’s what Alabama did against Georgia. Tua Tagovailoa put on a show with 3 touchdowns, including the game winner over the Bulldogs. Between Tua and Jalen Hurts, Alabama has a good problem to have in Tuscaloosa. Who are they going with as the starter?
It should probably be Tua who is the better passer, but who knows if Saban goes with experience instead. Look for both of them to see the field against Louisville, though. They will have to eventually settle on a clear starter, though, but it isn’t to say they can’t play ball with both on the field at the same time. Louisville didn’t get any favors from the schedule makers to start the season, but it’s a moment for them to prove that they’re a quality team early. Upset Alabama or play them tough and people will take note. Blowout a MAC or FCS school and not many people are going to care. The Cardinals face long odds in Orlando, but we’ll see what transpires. Get our free Louisville vs. Alabama pick and the rest of our writeup below.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Odds:
vs. Alabama -24(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Louisville vs. Alabama Pick:
The Alabama Crimson Tide predictably are ranked 1st in the nation going into the 2018 campaign. There isn’t any reason to think otherwise, and I think they have a better team than last season. While there was some doubt whether they go to the playoff, I think Saban is going to be playing for little doubt in the minds of voters. Once Tua Tagovailoa took over the controls at quarterback in the national championship, it added another dimension to an already dangerous offense.
Tua is capable of doing it all, which is going to be incredibly difficult on defenses. Taking away the running game of the Crimson Tide is hard enough, now try and stop a dual-threat quarterback that can pass. He is friends with Marcus Mariota and you can certainly note the similarities. Jalen Hurts can get the job done as well, let’s not forget about just yet. Bama gets four of five linemen back from last season, including a tight end. The backfield is loaded once again, with Damien Harris leading the charge.
As excited as everyone is about the Alabama offense, this team thrives off their defense. The defensive line is going to be stout as ever, as they welcome back Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon David. Where you might be able to exploit Alabama a bit is in the secondary. Both cornerbacks and safeties aren’t in college anymore, so that presents holes that need to be replaced. Alabama always seems to find talent that make immediate impacts, though.
The question for the Cards is whether they will be able to take advantage of the young Bama secondary. For them to have a shot, they’re going to need to complete plays downfield. Lining up and trying to pound the rock against the Crimson Tide isn’t going to work. They don’t have the talent like an Auburn to win like that.
Louisville would like to have Lamar Jackson here, but he’s with the Ravens in the NFL. A mobile QB against Alabama helps out immensely and Jawon Pass is regarded as a dual-threat, but he is no Jackson running the ball. He will make a few plays; however, I believe he’s going to get overwhelmed against the Alabama defense. The Crimson Tide typically sleepwalk through the first week against cupcakes like Coastal Carolina, but they get an ACC opponent to kickoff the season. That provides some motivation, along with the fact that they heard all summer long that they didn’t deserve to be in the playoff. Tua and Hurts should thrive against a secondary that are down three starters from last season. Alabama send a message right from the get-go with a 45-13 win or thereabout on Saturday night in Orlando.