No. 2 Alabama takes on West Virginia in season opener - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

No. 2 Alabama takes on West Virginia in season opener


Let's look at the facts. The Alabama Crimson Tide team has won three national championships in the past five seasons. They have dominated college football with the most wins of any team since 2008. Yet, the only thing on the minds of players and fans is the disappointing end to the 2013 season.

Alabama's 2014 season starts on Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia when the No. 2 ranked Crimson Tide takes on the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Tide will look to bounce back in 2014 and make a run for another national championship.

Saturday's game will mark the first time that Alabama and West Virginia have faced off on the gridiron.

Last year, the Crimson tide finished the season with an 11-2 record, losing both games at the end of the season.

Alabama lost to the Auburn Tigers in heart-breaking fashion on a last second play in the Iron Bowl by a score of 34-28. The Crimson Tide then lost to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Allstate Sugar Bowl by a score of 45-31.

West Virginia went 4-8 in the 2013 season, with their only wins coming against William and Mary, Georgia State, Oklahoma State and TCU.

The good news for Alabama is that the Crimson Tide is 95-21-3 all-time in season openers, and an astounding 7-0 under head coach Nick Saban. The Tide is currently in the midst of a 12-game win streak in season openers, and since the 1977 season, Alabama is 33-4.

Some of the most notable season openers include a 2008 34-10 victory over the Clemson Tigers, a 2009 34-24 victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies, a 2012 41-14 victory over the Michigan Wolverines and a 2013 35-10 victory over the Hokies.

Another bit of good news is the fact that Alabama is 11-4 in neutral site games under Saban's tenure, and the programs 72 wins is the most in college football since 2008.

One of the biggest storylines to watch on Saturday is who will replace former quarterback A.J. McCarron under center as the Crimson Tide's signal caller.

Currently, the starting job seems to be a heated battle between senior Blake Sims and recent Florida State transfer Jacob Coker. Saban has made it clear that neither has won the starting job as he has named both Sims and Coker co-starters on the depth chart.

Another new face for the Crimson Tide this year is Lane Kiffin. Newly hired Kiffin takes over as offensive coordinator, replacing Doug Nussmeier who left to take a job with the Michigan Wolverines.

Kiffin faced off against the Crimson Tide in his lone year as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers in 2009. The game was the closest game for the Crimson Tide that year as a last second field goal block by Terrence Cody gave the Tide the victory on their way to their first National Championship in 17 years.

Something that will not be new to Crimson Tide fans however is the seasoned running back corp., which has a reputation of dominating football games. The Tide will be led by junior T.J Yeldon along with junior Kenyan Drake, but fans can expect to also see sophomore Derrick Henry who had a break out game in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.

Even though the Crimson Tide is dominates at running the ball, they are also masters of stopping the run on defense.

The Alabama run defense ranks first in college football, only allowing 14 100-yard rushers since 2005. The closest team to the Crimson Tide is Ohio State, only allowing 18 100-yard rushers since 2005.

Staying with defensive statistics, the Crimson Tide's defense has allowed the fewest touchdowns since 2009, only giving up 91. The next best team on the list is LSU, who has given up 127 touchdowns.

The Tide has also led the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense for five consecutive seasons, something that no other SEC school has done.

With the potential to make a run at the 2014 national championship, Alabama will look to make a big statement against the Mountaineers in their first game.

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