Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m.; Camping World Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
TV: ABC; Line: Alabama -24.5; Over/Under: 60.5
Two years ago, Bobby Petrino seemed to be hitting his stride as the offensive counterpart to Nick Saban. But then Lamar Jackson got exposed, and then he made a bad defensive coordinator hire in Peter Sirmon. The result was a disappointing 2017 year, and everybody has lost faith in Petrino for 2018. Meanwhile, the Alabama Crimson Tide return a ton of talent from their national title team and still have a quarterback competition between two elite guys: Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
On paper, these facts combined with the loss of Lamar Jackson has everybody picking Bama in a blowout. And they probably will win comfortable. But Petrino, not Jackson, is the reason for Jackson looking great, as he has always been for his quarterbacks. That won’t change this year. He also has a new defensive coordinator in Brian VanGorder. So don’t sleep on him. He is going to give Saban a major run early, even if the Tide pull it out later. Bama won’t cover. Book it.
Alabama: 41 Louisville: 24 (Louisville +24.5; Over)
I still give credit to Alabama for going out and scheduling this game against Louisville. At the time the Cardinals were at least Top 15 in the nation and rolling. How would Bama know they would suck in 2018? Well, now, we might as well consider the match-up in the same category as Arkansas and Eastern Illinois.
This game will only be close at the opening kickoff, and then the Cardinals do not have a chance. Alabama wins big and covers the spread. The only reason why I did not go with the over is that I do not think Louisville is going to be able to score on the Tide despite the injuries at linebacker.
Alabama: 40 Louisville: 7 (Alabama -24.5; Under)
Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts? The biggest question in College Football will finally be answered by Nick Saban this Saturday. Whoever gets the start won’t have any negative effect on the Crimson Tide’s Offense.
Meanwhile for the Cardinals, they lost probably their best quarterback ever. That spells bad news for Louisville. Although expect Louisville to take some deep shots against Alabama’s secondary early on in this game.
Ultimately, there is just too much talent on both sides of the ball for Alabama to not lose this game. If their passing doesn’t work, their running game will. As for the Crimson Tide’s Defense? They won’t be intimidated by the Cardinal’s Offense. Alabama will win here, and they will win big.
Alabama: 38 Louisville: 7 (Alabama -24.5; Under)