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Stories

Sports news with a Vegas perspective.

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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan Wolverines Start Time, Odds, Free Pick

Kickoff of the 2012 College Football season is just a few weeks away. The biggest game of the opening week pits the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide against the Michigan Wolverines. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. EST start time and it will be televised nationally on ABC. Currently the odds have Alabama as heavy 13-point favorites.

Free Preview: Alabama is coming off an impressive 2011-12 season that saw them win a National Championship, but not an SEC title. In fact, at SEC media day just last week, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was asked just how hard it was going to be to win the SEC in 2012. His answer? "It's easier to win the national championship than the SEC. Ask Nick Saban." Just the Ole' Ballcoach being himself, I suppose. Yet, the point is even though Alabama didn't win the title of the best conference in the land, they have ultimate bragging rights by picking up the BCS title. Michigan essentially came out of nowhere, running an impressive 10-2 regular season in the Big Ten and beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Not many envisioned the Wolverines winning, or even making, a BCS game under first year head coach Brady Hoke. While last year is behind both clubs, a massive game that depicts two presumed Top 10 teams at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is on the horizon of the college football landscape. Michigan returns 13 starters from last year's club, but has to start with three brand new defensive linemen. Not exactly a recipe for success against a pounding team like Alabama. The Crimson Tide return just 11 starters, with four returners making up arguably the best offensive line in college football. The Tide obviously have the physical prowess to beat up on Michigan in this game, but can the Wolverines take advantage of a team that lost seven starters to the NFL Draft back in April? Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson and the Michigan club could take advantage of a younger defense. But in the SEC Alabama recruits one thing that most don't have — team speed. They also don't rebuild, as they will more than likely be ranked No. 1 in the country. Michigan's defense brings back several players that had a lot of experience last year and they'll need it. The question heading into the game is whether or not Michigan can score. If they can't, they'll get blown out.

Free Pick: I think two touchdowns in the opening game of the year against a quality opponent is a lot. However, oddsmakers don't get these types of lines wrong very often. If there is any solace for Michigan fans, it's that both teams will be playing in their first game of the year. The carpet down at Cowboy Stadium could help Michigan with several speedy guys on offense, but will returning running back Fitz Toussant be sidelines because of an alcohol related offense in July? If he doesn't play the Wolverines could be in a lot of trouble. However, 13 points is a ton in an early season, neutral field game like this.

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