Miami football versus Alabama national analysis and predictions

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team opens the season against Alabama with most pundits project as the second biggest game of week one behind Clemson against Georgia in Charlotte. Miami will kickoff against Alabama at 3:30 PM ET at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Alabama is 19.5 favorite on Saturday according to WynnBet.

Miami returns 19 starters against Alabama who is starting a new quarterback, running back and lost their top two wide receivers from 2020. WynnBet has the over/under for Alabama at 40 with Miami at 19.5 to arrive at the 20.5 point spread. Most national pundits project the final margin to be near the point spread.

Miami enters year two with Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator. Lashlee had moderate success against Nick Saban and the Alabama defense as the Auburn defensive coordinator from 2013-2016. Auburn scored 78 points in Lashlee’s first two games against Alabama with the Tigers, but only 25 in the next two.

Chris Hummer and Brad Crawford of 247 Sports provided their own analysis of the Alabama Miami football game. Hummer and Crawford both expect Alabama to slightly cover the point spread. Hummer projects an outcome almost exactly to the spreads from WynnBet. Crawford likes the under and Alabama.

"Hummer: The Hurricanes will be good this year. D’Eriq King is among the top players in college football, and Manny Diaz retaking control of a defense that struggled at times last year will help that unit. But I have major concerns about Miami’s o-line against Alabama.The Tide’s front seven is the best in the country, and star Miami left tackle Zion Nelson is banged up entering Saturday. Combine that concern with a front four defensively that might not be able to generate much pressure, and I like Alabama to cover. … Alabama 41, Miami 21.Crawford: If I had to pick a lock this week, I’m comfortable going with the Alabama cover here…Do we know if D’Eriq King is at full strength or how well the Hurricanes will be able to contact the Crimson Tide’s fierce defensive front? That’s the biggest question to me in this one.If Miami gets into an early hole, that could set up for disaster against the more talented opponent. I’m anxious to see the first glimpse of Alabama’s Bill O’Brien-led offense with Bryce Young at quarterback, too. … Alabama 38, Miami 17."

Getting in an early hole plagued the Miami football team in its three 2020 losses. Miami was outscored 49-3 in the first quarter against Clemson, North Carolina and Oklahoma State in 2020. Those numbers could be worse. The Tigers finished off a drive six seconds into the second quarter with a Travis Etienne touchdown run.

Getting off to a good start or at the very least maintaining a close margin will be critical for Miami against Alabama. The Miami coaching staff has stated repeatedly throughout the offseason that King has reached every benchmark in his rehabilitation from a torn ACL against Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl last December.

Dual-threat QBs like King have occasionally had success against Saban defenses at Alabama. When the Lashlee led Auburn offenses scored 78 points combined in 2013 and ’14, Nick Marshall led the Tigers. King is more talented and versatile than Marshall was. If Miami is going to have success, King has to have a big game.

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Miami is likely going to have to create big plays, force turnovers on defense and limit them on offense. This is arguably the biggest Miami game in nearly 20 years. The experience Miami has with 19 starters returning should keep them focused. Miami shouldn’t be in awe of Alabama and the game is not likely to be too big.