Stan's Forecast: No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

10 Sep 2016 Stan J. Griffin

An analyst on ESPN's College Football Live show earlier this week aptly noted it best that while last weekend's opening slate of college football games was billed as "The Greatest Weekend Ever," we are all definitely paying for it this coming Saturday. 

The landscape for the sport we all love the most is fairly barren for Week 2, and in fact there are no matchups that actually match ranked teams.

Virginia Tech/Tennessee, Penn State/Pittsburgh, Kentucky/Florida and BYU/Utah are just a few of the contests that hold any semblance of intrigue at all. In other words, it's pretty slim pickings.
So it might actually be a good time for football fans to spend some time with their families or pursue some outdoor errands they've been needing to catch up on, at least until the opening slate of NFL games arrives on Sunday.
Apparently the oddsmakers feel that Saturday's home opener for No. 1 Alabama against Western Kentucky is going to be yet another yawner as the Crimson Tide enters the contest as a four-touchdown favorite.
Let's face it, there was a huge amount of overreaction from Week 1, and that was certainly reflected in the latest polls and I think it's also reflected by the Tide being such an overwhelming favorite over a Hilltopper program that has not exactly been a cupcake opponent for many teams over the years.  Western Kentucky won 12 games and the Sun Belt Conference title a year ago, and as it showed last week, albeit against a not-great measuring stick opponent in Rice, that it still has plenty of talent and yet another high-octane offensive attack. You will not see Jeff Brohm's team simply lie down for a huge paycheck.

While many elite teams such as Oklahoma, Tennessee and Clemson were getting upset or just avoiding being bit by the upset bug last weekend, Nick Saban's team restored some sense of order with an easier-than-expected romp over Southern Cal, and this has brought forth much renewed national love for the Crimson Tide and individual players such as true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.
And you have to know that once again Saban is detesting all of the hoopla regarding his squad, and all the "outside clutter" that comes with it.
Now Saban must get his players to return to earth, and prepared to play a team that is capable of causing more than a few problems if Alabama shows up lacking any sense of focus or urgency on Saturday.
Alabama has not always performed at its highest level in these type of non-conference games, but I think the fact that the Hilltoppers gained 649 total yards of offense last Saturday, including over 550 yards through the air, will at least get the attention of the Crimson Tide defensive unit.

The Hilltoppers may hit a few big plays before adjustments are made, but I think the Alabama defense will also have plenty of opportunities to force a few big mistakes provided it is able to effectively pressure WKU quarterback Mike White early and often.
It may be a slow start again for the still-developing Alabama offense, but once Hurts, Blake Barnett, Damien Harris and company begin to settle in and take advantage of the holes that will be available against a vulnerable Hilltopper defense, the expected Tide roll will slowly but surely begin to come to fruition.

Like many of you, I am anxious to see how the quarterback rotation goes with Hurts and Barnett, and whether there will be more explosive plays and more deep shots to targets such as Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart.

All in all, it should be a solid second win of the season for the nation's top-ranked team.

Alabama 42, Western Kentucky 14

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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