Alabama 42, Michigan 27
While many expected the top Bama players to sit out to protect their future NFL draft status, most of their draft prospects decided to play to put on one last show for scouts. If the Tide takes care of business it would be Michigan’s fourth straight bowl loss under head man Jim Harbaugh. That might be enough to get Coach Khakis fired.
Alabama 42, Michigan 27
This game was decided when all of Alabama’s offensive weapons elected to play in the game. Michigan proved in the Ohio State game that it can be bowled over by elite offenses, which Alabama has, and its offense is not equipped to thrive in shootouts. That makes for a bad combination with this particular version of the Crimson Tide.
Alabama 35, Michigan 34
It’s a new decade at the Citrus Bowl and time for the kicking karma to swing Alabama’s way for once. Also, it’s the 20th anniversary of Tom Brady vs. Alabama. So will it be Mac Jones? Or Shea Patterson?
Alabama 43, Michigan 17
With Alabama at almost full strength for this contest, I don’t see the Wolverines being able to keep it close. It’s certainly not where the Crimson Tide wanted to end its season, but it will at least end on a high note.
Alabama 38, Michigan 24
We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum when Alabama doesn’t have a chance to win the national championship, but I think this year’s team will be motivated to end a disappointing season on a positive note.
Alabama 35, Michigan 31
With a good amount of players on the Crimson Tide making the decision to play, I think the added preparation plays right into Nick Saban’s hands and Alabama will finish the season with a win.
Alabama 37, Michigan 24
Which team shows up more motivated will have a huge bearing on the outcome. Alabama needs to follow the same offensive blueprint it used against Auburn, minus the turnovers, because the Tide has the weapons on the perimeter to make things difficult for the Michigan defense.
Alabama 45, Michigan 20
For the first time since it’s existence, we will have to see how Alabama responds to not being in the CFP. With most uninjured draft-eligible players expected to play, and because of the way the regular season ended against Auburn, I think this Alabama team will be plenty motivated to finish the season on a positive note.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
By Edwin Stanton
Key stat: Career-high eight tackles against South Carolina this season
Buzz: Jobe will be looked to as the guy to replace Trevon Diggs at cornerback today. Diggs opted to not play in the game in preparation of the NFL Draft. Jobe has played in 11 games with one start and has 22 tackles, mostly on special teams.
Key stat: Has 12 catches for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns in eight games
Buzz: Forristall has not played since a throat injury, which required surgery, against Arkansas. His absence as a leader on the field was felt he could have been the difference in the Crimson Tide’s two losses. He’s expected to play against Michigan. We will see if he can have an impact today.
Key stat: Has four games with 100-plus yards this season
Buzz: This will most likely be Jeudy’s final game with the Crimson Tide as he is a high first-round NFL Draft prospect. The 2018 Biletnikoff winner hasn’t put up quite the numbers he did in 2018, but he sure hasn’t disappointed in his three seasons in Tuscaloosa.
Key stat: Sixth on Michigan’s career list for passing touchdowns (44)
Buzz: The Wolverines’ offense starts with Patterson. He’s thrown for 2,828 yards with 22 touchdowns and averages 235 yards a game. Patterson faced Alabama in 2017 as quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels. He wasn’t successful (165 yards, 5 sacks in a 66-3 loss), but Patterson at least knows what type of team he’s up against.
Key stat: Is sixth in the Big Ten in tackles and tied for 10th in sacks
Buzz: Paye leads the team in tackles for loss (12.5) and is second in sacks (6.5). He’s got 49 total tackles and one fumble recovery. Alabama will have to make sure Paye doesn’t find his way to the backfield very often and keep him from stopping the run game.
Key stat: Has just one touchdown despite leading the Wolverines in receiving yards
Buzz: Bell leads the offense with 44 receptions for 705 yards (16 avg.) and has more than 80 yards receiving in six games. He’s quarterback Shea Patterson’s top target and can also be dangerous as a punt return man.