There is no turning back now.
The Miami Hurricanes (0-0) ranked No. 14 open the season vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0).
Crimson Tide favored by 19 ½. And the nerds in the dessert predict they will raise the National Championship trophy at the end of the season.
It is easy to say that it is over for the Hurricanes before kickoff; nonetheless, that is why the game is played between the lines and not on paper.
Hurricanes have a chance. It sounds cliché; however, this is what it will come down to, Miami offense outplaying Alabama’s defense.
The most experienced offense in this game is on the Miami sideline.
Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King enters the season with 9,570 career combined passing and rushing yards. Among active FBS quarterbacks with at least 1,000 rushing yards, only Utah transfer Charlie Brewer — who had 10,739 over the past four seasons at Baylor — has piled up more than King.
King is still trying to come back from a torn ACL suffered in the Cheez-It Bowl loss to Oklahoma State; this game will be the barometer for his season ahead.
“It is a great measuring stick to see where we stand,” Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz said. It is the first chapter of this 2021 Miami Hurricanes team.”
The weapons around King are seasoned and comfortable at each position. It starts with the Tight End position. Key target TE Brevin Jordan is gone, but 6-5, 245-pound junior Will Mallory is a strong receiving option to go along with all the veteran receivers. Will Mallory will be one of the best tight ends in the ACC moreover make a case in all of college football.
The top wide receivers are back, starting with leading wide receiver Mike Harley and juniors Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins.
There is plenty of big-play and emerging targets to work in – getting Charleston Rambo from Oklahoma will help King.
King having lack of experience playmakers around him against Clemson last year were a factor. This year they can play a role in keeping pace.
“It will be us versus the world; no one thinks we can do it,” King said.
Can the Hurricanes defense stop the Alabama offense? Last season no, this season yes.
Hurricanes’ secondary is talented and healthy to face Alabama. Leading tackler Bubba Bolden is back after coming up with 74 tackles last season, and Amari Carter will play a role as a veteran.
The corners are deep with a nice rotation to stay fresh. DJ Ivey will be ready for good open-field tackles. Transfers will play a huge role helped by getting corner Tyrique Stevenson from Georgia.
The defensive line will be a coin flip. Either good or struggle early. Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche are gone – they combined for 12.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. The Canes were fourth in the nation in tackles for loss, but the D as a whole was just okay, allowing 408 yards and 27 points per game.
Senior Zach McCloud, redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey, and Tennessee transfer Deandre Johnson will feel the pressure to keep up the production. There’s an excellent size to work around in 318-pound Jonathan Ford and 305-pound Nesta Silverà inside.
For Miami, the game represents a chance for arguably the program’s biggest win in 20 years. Miami is 5-11 all-time when facing the AP national champion from the previous season, 0-2 when that opponent is Alabama (losing those games by a combined score of 66-3).
Be prepared for the Crimson Tide to roll.
Alabama is seeking a 20th consecutive season-opening win. It has not been even a game under .500 since the 2006 season when the Tide finished 6-7. Nick Saban took over as coach the following season. Saban is 79-8 in games where the Crimson Tide enters ranked 1 in the AP poll.
Alabama has 15 first- or second-year players on its offensive two-deep, including three offensive linemen and four freshman wide receivers.
The headline will be at quarterback for Alabama.
The lights will be bright for QB Bryce Young, the top-rated dual-threat quarterback out of high school makes his much-anticipated starting debut. If the offense skips a beat, it won’t necessarily be because of his inexperience. Young is surrounded by new starters on an offense, though tailback Brian Robinson Jr. and receiver John Metchie III are established threats.
Bill O’Brien will be the fifth offensive coordinator for Saban in the last six years.
Saban is a defensive mind.
The Crimson Tide defense is still talented after allowing just 352 yards and 19 points per game.
It starts with the linebackers. Heart-and-soul leading tackler Dylan Moses is done, but the foursome is loaded around second-leading tackler and future NFL starter Christian Harris.
He’s a next-level prototype at one of the inside spots, Christopher Allen is a 6-4, 252-pound hybrid pass rusher on the outside, and Will Anderson is coming off a 52-tackle, seven-sack, 10.5 tackle for loss first year. Throw in Tennessee transfer Henry Too And several other huge recruits who waited their turn, and the Tide have an almost unfairly good defense.