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College Football Week 2: Western Kentucky At #1 Alabama

Western Kentucky
#1 Alabama
Kawaun Jakes (credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
AJ McCarron (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kawaun Jakes (credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
AJ McCarron (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Coaching
Willie Taggart, an assistant under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, is now in his third season. He took over a program that had won zero and two games before his arrival; Taggart led the Hilltoppers to a 7-5 season last year, which should have been enough for a bowl appearance.
Winner Leave it to Nick Saban to make Denard Robinson look human. The Michigan quarterback didn’t have any room to run last Saturday, mostly due to Saban’s game plan. He is rarely outfoxed by the opposing coach, though it helps that he usually has the better players.
Offense
The Hilltoppers posted a whopping 596 yards of offense in their opener, but it came against Austin Peay, an FCS school. Kawaun Jakes isn’t nationally known, but he’s a four-year starter capable of putting up big numbers this season.
Winner New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier appears willing to give quarterback A.J. McCarron more freedom than his predecessor. And Alabama may not miss Trent Richardson all that much—freshman T.J. Yeldon rushed for 111 yards in the opener and several other backs looked good as well.
Defense
Western Kentucky held Austin Peay to fewer than 200 yards, but again, it was Austin Peay. There are reasons to think this unit will be better than last season (seven returning starters, for one), but it won’t be able to compete for four quarters (or even two) with Alabama.
Winner Michigan figures to have one of the better offenses in the country but Alabama shut down the Wolverines. They don’t even have to rush the quarterback often to get results, as they simply contain the opponents’ weapons as well as any defense in the country.
Special Teams
The Western Kentucky kicking game was bad last year: their kickers made just five of 19 field goal attempts. Sure enough, they went 0-for-3 on Saturday. They did make all seven extra point tries after missing four of those last season.
Winner The Crimson Tide is solid in the kicking game and has enough depth to use players in special teams roles who would see much more action for most other teams.

The Winner Is

AJ McCarron (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Winner #1 Alabama
4 out of 4

Western Kentucky played LSU last season and lost 42-9. Expect a similar result in this matchup. Alabama is flat-out better at nearly every position.

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