SAT 9/1 | 8:00 PM EDT | CAMPING WORLD STADIUM
The bad news: The Lamar Jackson era is over, with the Cardinals’ iconic Heisman-winning quarterback gone to the NFL. The good news: The Jawon Pass era has begun. A sophomore, the aptly named Pass represents a drastic stylistic departure from Jackson’s scrambling at the position, and he seems equipped to feed returning wideouts Jaylen Smith, Dez Fitzpatrick and Seth Dawkins. The defense suffered major losses and wasn’t particularly good as a unit, anyway but maybe new coordinator Brian VanGorder can generate better outcomes.
- Under is 4-0 in Cardinals last 4 games overall.
- Under is 6-0-1 in Cardinals last 7 neutral site games.
- Cardinals are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.
How the West Was Won, starring Nick Saban. Bama is the choice to win the West, even if it returns just 11 total starters. Nick Saban’s crew simply reloads, with yet another cache of future NFL first-round picks on both sides of the ball. At QB, the Tide will start either Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa; both have shown game-altering ability under pressure. Wideouts Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith’ ho caught Tagovailoa’s overtime strike to win the National Championship will replace Calvin Ridley, while running back Damien Harris remains the workhorse back. There are more questions on defense, which lost Minkah Fitzpatrick, Daron Payne and Rashaan Evans to the NFL. But this is a golden era of Alabama football, and while the Crimson Tide may occasionally stumble, there’s no reason to pick against them as West champions yet again.
- Crimson Tide are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
- Under is 8-2 in Crimson Tide last 10 non-conference games.
- Over is 19-6-1 in Crimson Tide last 26 neutral site games.
The Cardinals had a once-in-a-generation superstar in Lamar Jackson last year and went 8-5 thanks to a questionable defense that allowed 45 points to Boston College. By most accounts, Louisville will once again be able to score (but to a lesser extent without Jackson) and will again struggle to stop anyone. The Crimson Tide are locked and loaded — nearly 90 percent of its two-deep depth chart is filled with four-star and five-star talent, and either Tide QB will be fine.
Prediction: ALABAMA -25