Saturday, August 31, 2019

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Alabama Crimson Tide VS Duke Blue Devils

In a return to its ACC-SEC roots, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will host the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Duke Blue Devils in their first matchup since 2010.  Alabama romped past the Devils 62-13.

The Blue Devils, who have gone head-to-head against the Tide a total of four times, have emerged victorious only once:  the 1945 New Year’s Day Sugar Bowl.

Duke finished last season giving up an average of 319 yards per game, 197 through the air and 222 on the ground.  Their defense allowed 27.4 points per game.

Bama is favored in this one by 33.5 points, despite first-half suspensions of Najee Harris, Brian Robinson, Devonta Smith and Terrell Lewis for missing a team function during fall camp.

Dyed-in-the-wool Bama fans know All-American linebacker Dylan Moses is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in practice, but Coach Saban is high on a 245-pound four-star prospect, Shane “The Hulk” Lee.

Henry Russell, who coached at Lee’s high school said of the true freshman, “He’s a brick house. He runs well. He’s strong as an ox. So physically, I don’t really worry about him too much. I think it’s more getting all the mental stuff down and the speed of the college game, but I think he’s a lot more comfortable. If you had asked him to come in and start at the beginning of the spring, it would have been really tough. But now, he’s got the spring under his belt, camp under his belt and now the only thing he’s got to get is some game experience.”

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting ten years, yes, ten long years for Bama to find a guy who can consistently kick the ball through the damn uprights.  Tide fans thought the curse had been broken when Joseph Bulovas was tapped for the job.  Bama is better at almost everything EXCEPT the kicking game.  Its kickers are worse than the national average.

Now though, the team will turn to Will Reichard.  Will he be the long-awaited answer?

“Will’s a very talented guy and he’s done extremely well in fall camp, and we think that he can do a good job,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “But like any other guy, he’s got the talent and ability to do it, but what’s he going to do in a game? We’re confident in him. He gets the ball off quickly. He’s got a really strong leg. His accuracy in scrimmages and practice has been very good.”

Today’s game will be a chance to totally dominate the Blue Devils.  It won’t erase the heartbreaking loss to Clemson, but it will get Bama back to being Bama again.  No more stewing over what happened seven months ago.

I hope you’ll toddle over to Diogene’s Middle Finger for some humorous perspective on other Week One SEC games.

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