Why Alabama will beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl and advance to CFP rematch with Texas | Goodbread

Prediction columns can make for dangerous receipts.

The internet, after all, never forgets. And there's no crystal ball on the outcome of anything as unpredictable as college football, least of all for a playoff game in which betting line is a scant 1.5 points. Oddsmakers have favored Michigan by that slight margin to beat Alabama in Monday's College Football Playoff semifinal in the Rose Bowl (4 p.m. CT, ESPN). Michigan is the CFP's No. 1 seed, so from that standpoint, the Wolverines should be the favorite.

But after watching every 2023 Michigan snap over the last few weeks, I can't envision the UM offense generating enough points to advance to next week's national championship game in Houston against Monday's Texas-Washington winner.

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Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy is highly skilled. He sees the field well, he's elusive, and he's incredibly accurate when throwing on the run. He'd be fully capable of beating Alabama if he had the help of Michigan's usual high-powered ground attack. But that's where I expect the Wolverines' offensive equation will fail to add up.

The Crimson Tide run defense, 31st in the nation at 124 yards allowed per game, has been good but not great. But running quarterbacks (see Jayden Daniels, for one) have accounted for plenty of that, which has obscured the fact that Alabama has excelled at stopping the opposing team's top running back.

Quick quiz: What do Texas' Jonathon Brooks, Ole Miss' Quinshon Judkins, Tennessee's Jaylen Wright and Kentucky's Ray Davis have in common? Those are the only four 1,000-yard running backs on Alabama's schedule this year, and the Crimson Tide run defense shut the door on all of them: Brooks (1,139 on the year, 57 against UA), Judkins (1,052 on the year, 56 against UA), Wright (1,013 on the year, 22 against UA) and Davis (1,129 on the year, 26 against UA).

Despite Michigan's stout offensive line, which placed all five of its primary starters on the All-Big Ten squad (either first- or second-team), I expect Alabama to contain Blake Corum, Michigan's 1,000-yard rusher, in much the same way. And McCarthy, in turn, will have an awfully hard time carrying the offense against the combination of a vicious pass rush and the blanket-like coverage of cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold.

As with any game, turnovers and/or big plays on special teams can generate cheap points and supplement a struggling offense. If the Wolverines are gifted a couple drive starts deep in Alabama territory, that could make all the difference in a close game. As such, the top-notch ball security Alabama's offense has displayed late in the season − only two turnovers over its last five games − will be of paramount importance. In other words, if Alabama doesn't give points away, expect Michigan to find them hard-earned.

Alabama 24, Michigan 13.

Rematch with Texas on tap.

Tuscaloosa News columnist Chase Goodbread is also the weekly co-host of Crimson Cover TV on WVUA-23 and the Talkin' Tide podcast. Reach him at Follow on Twitter @chasegoodbread.

Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.
Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Why Alabama will beat Michigan in Rose Bowl for Texas rematch in final