After a long winter, spring and summer, college football is back. So too are the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are looking to avenge the sour end to the 2018 season. Last we saw the Tide, the hobbled Tua Tagovailoa and the typically dominant bunch were throttled themselves by Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers. 2019 has however sprouted lots of optimism yet again in Tuscaloosa, even though they picked up some serious losses in the last few months thanks to injury.
They begin the year against the ACC’s Duke Blue Devils. Duke’s outlook this year isn’t quite what it is usually on the hardwood of course, but they’re probably going to be somewhere in the middle of the pack in the ACC. Will they be overmatched on Saturday? Yeah. Probably. Is that going to stop us from previewing this game? Well, no, because we’ve written it already. I mean, duh. You’re reading it.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: Alabama (-32.5/33.5)
ALABAMA’S WIDEOUTS VS. DUKE’S SECONDARY
The receiving depth that the Crimson Tide is patently absurd. Scanning their two-deep, you’ll find the likes of Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III and... oh, right, Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy. Him too. Sheesh, I mean, this is just an embarrassment of riches here right?
They’ll be facing a pretty experienced Duke secondary though. At least in the back. They start a pair of juniors in Marquis Waters and Michael Carter II as well as senior Dylan Singleton. They will also be starting two redshirt sophomores in Leonard Johnson and Josh Blackwell. Johnson and Blackwell will certainly be put to the test, and any added depth pieces they toss out there will be freshmen (Isaiah Kemp, Tony Davis) or a redshirt freshman in Jeremiah Lewis. So... yeah, this could be a long afternoon in Atlanta for them.
DUKE TACKLES VS. BAMA RUSHERS
The Blue Devils are putting two first-year starters at the tackle position. 6-foot-3, 305-pound Jacob Monk got the nod at right tackle and redshirt freshman Casey Holman, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound lineman, will be tasked with playing left tackle.
The best thing I can say to them is... good luck. They will be put to the test right away. Anfernee Jennings at the JACK spot and Terrell Lewis at the SAM spot could pose a hell of a lot of trouble for them. Then you consider up the middle with Raekwon Davis and Labryan Ray possibly finding their way towards them. They’ll need all the help they can get. And well... let’s face it, Quentin Harris will too.
TUA, TUA, TUA
Tua Tagovailoa is among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this year. This comes after a sensational year under center last year that wound up getting a bit hampered by Tagovailoa’s injuries.
Keeping this all in mind, it will be fascinating to see how Tua plays this year. Last year was brilliant. REALLY brilliant. And yet he still lost out to Kyler Murray for the Heisman. It’s not the end-all be-all of course, but if a season where his TD:INT ratio was what it was and it still wasn’t enough to garner it, just what will have to do for an encore this year to attain it? It’s quite an intriguing thought, but Saturday could be a good start for him.
Pain... for Duke, most likely.
Alabama 48, Duke 13