TUSCALOOSA – The elite and balanced Alabama Crimson Tide and the offensive juggernaut West Virginia Mountaineers will face off to start their 2014 college football season at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The game is scheduled to start on August 30th at 3;30 p.m.
It will be interesting to see how effective the Crimson Tide will be without quarterback A.J. McCarron who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
There is currently a position battle between quarterbacks Blake Sims and Jake Coker. Sims was the backup to McCarron. Coker was the backup to the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. If Sims and Coker are anything like the quarterbacks they observed, Alabama could be in for an undefeated season. Crimson Tide fans will likely watch an offense that consistently scores 35 or more points per game as they always seem to have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal.
Last year the Crimson Tide ranked 33rd in the nation in rushing and passing yards combined. The Crimson Tide ranked 25th in rushing. They ran for an average of 205.6 yards per game. The passing attack was lackluster, averaging 248.5 yards per game which ranked 50th in the nation.
Alabama’s defense was the main weapon. The Tide consistently stopped the ground attack, giving up an average of 106.2 yards per game which ranked 7th in the nation. Opponents had a hard time displaying any kind of air assault as the Tide squashed these efforts, giving up 180.3 yards a game which ranked 11th in the nation. Alabama ranked 5th in passing and rushing defense combined.
West Virginia has a reputation for being one of the best passing teams in the nation. Last season they did not disappoint as they shredded defenses through the air, averaging 262.3 yards per game. They were unable to balance their offensive attack though, averaging a meager 148.7 yards per game which ranked 80th in the nation. The Mountaineers were trounced by opposing offenses. They gave up 263.3 passing yards per game ranked 101st. West Virginia was also ineffective stopping the run as they surrendered 191.7 yards per game.
As impressive as West Virginia’s passing attack is, they are likely no match for the more balanced Alabama Crimson Tide.
Prediction: Alabama 35 West Virginia 21.