Wisconsin and Alabama will finally meet to kickoff their 2015 schedules Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff. The matchup is one of the marquee contests in the entire Week 1 college football slate, between Alabama's name brand and Wisconsin's intrigue with a new coaching staff leading the Badgers into the post-Melvin Gordon era.
For Wisconsin, head coach Paul Chryst brought a very familiar staff with him back to Madison after three years at Pittsburgh. The Badgers lost Gordon on offense as well as some linemen, so the offense will be more of a question mark than usual. That's somewhat surprising to see considering Joel Stave locked up the starting quarterback spot coming out of spring practice, but his inconsistency last season while dealing with the "yips" doesn't foster much confidence at this point. For what it's worth, reports from camp pegged Stave as one of the strongest performers.
Of course, Wisconsin's offense will still revolve around the running game, and Corey Clement is widely assumed to be the next great Badgers running back. If the junior rusher can prove as electrifying as Gordon, so many questions on offense would be answered.
As for Alabama, the Crimson Tide must replace their starting quarterback, running back and top three wide receivers. Junior Derrick Henry will start at running back that nearly rushed for 1,000 yards behind T.J. Yeldon last year, but the quarterback situation remains unsettled. Head coach Nick Saban said there's a chance multiple quarterbacks could play Saturday night.
As usual, Alabama's defense is incredibly stout, especially up front. As B5Q's Kyle Vos said in his "Getting to Know Alabama" preview from earlier this week:
Wisconsin's defensive line accounted for 11.5 tackles for loss last year. Alabama's Jonathan Allen was responsible for 11 by himself last year, and he won't even be on the field all the time. A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed also return, both coming in at 6'4 and 310 pounds, and recording 6.5 TFL a piece last year. The line is big, disruptive, and interchangeable. It has a sophomore former No. 1 recruit listed as third string. It's a nightmare matchup for an inexperienced Wisconsin offensive line that will be trying to figure itself out.
Read below for complete viewing information for the game.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide | Saturday, Sept. 5 | 8 p.m. ET | AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Live stream: The game can be live streamed on WatchESPN.
Mobile: The game can be watched on Android and iOS phones via the WatchESPN app.
TV crew: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox
Odds: Alabama -14, 48 o/u