It’s a long road from here to the National Championship, and it starts off with a bang for the Alabama Crimson Tide. They’ve got a suitably tough challenge in Saturday’s season opener (8:00 PM ET, ABC) against the Wisconsin Badgers, and they’ll be playing on neutral ground at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Alabama goes into the new season as the No. 3-ranked team in the polls. They’re also tied with TCU as the +700 second-favorites to win the program’s fourth title since Nick Saban took over in 2007. The Badgers are ranked No. 20, but they’re championship outsiders at +10000 after Paul Chryst took over from Gary Andersen (now with Oregon State) as head coach.
Chryst was Wisconsin’s offensive co-ordinator before leading Pittsburgh to a 19-19 SU and 17-17-2 ATS record over the past three seasons. He inherits a team that’s on the verge of big things despite the loss of running back Melvin Gordon to the NFL, but it’ll be a tough match on Saturday against the Tide. The primary concern for Alabama is at quarterback, where it’s uncertain at press time whether Jake Coker, Cooper Bateman or Alec Morris will get the starting assignment. Saban says he’s happy with all three.