For the first time in both of their histories, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan State Spartans will meet on the football field. These two teams have a home-and-home scheduled for 2016 and 2017, but for now this is a historical match-up between these two teams.
The Crimson Tide come in ranked lower than the Spartans, but make no mistake. . .the Crimson Tide are still one of the best teams in America, and they are still the defending national champions (at least for the next week or so). They have an outstanding pair of running backs in Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, and a very cerebral quarterback in Greg McElroy. The Michigan State defense, led by all-everything linebacker Greg Jones, has been known to overpursue on running plays and have missed their fair share of tackles. They're not going to be able to get away with that against an offense like Alabama's.
Michigan State's offense is led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has the tendency to press in order to make the big play. . .and, against a defense like Alabama's, there just aren't a lot of big plays to be had, so Cousins may be pressing a lot. Only two teams have intercepted more passes than Alabama has this season, and with defensive end Marcell Dareus chasing him around all day, Cousins will probably be making some ill-advised throws this afternoon for that ball-hawking Alabama secondary to pounce on. Michigan State has a trio of talented running back, too, in Edwin Baker, Le'Von Bell, and Larry Caper, but the Crimson Tide's rush defense is among the best in the FBS.
Alabama came into this game expecting big things from themselves, and a possible chance to repeat as national champions. Their last game saw them blow a huge lead to their biggest rival, the Auburn Tigers, and they're probably still seething about it. Today, there's a good chance that they're going to take it out on Sparty.
SB Nation Minnesota prediction: Alabama 31, Michigan State 17