It is being reported that West Virginia will face Alabama to kick off the 2014 season. This matchup is being sponsored by Chick-fil-A, which for four years has sponsored a game featuring two big teams to start the college football season. The game is scheduled to be played in Atlanta. While this game isn’t 100% confirmed yet, there are many hints saying it will definitely happen.
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban talked about the game briefly at fund-raiser this week while WVU Deputy Director Mike Parsons said it’s a work in progress. This is a game that will draw huge numbers of fans from both sides and could prove to be an interesting matchup as well.
When you have coaches like Dana Holgorsen and Nick Saban you know this is going to be a very well drawn out game. Saban has been in the head coaching chair longer than Holgorsen, but Dana is learning quickly and in some games looks like a veteran head coach. Probably the most intriguing about this matchup is that these are two coaches and teams are capable beating any opponent who faces them. Both teams as of right now have very complete offenses and defenses and if they can keep it that way for one more year then this will be a game for the ages.
However, there could be some major problems for the Mountaineers heading into this matchup. One of which is the quarterback situation. This game will be on the shoulders of junior quarterback Ford Childress. Childress will already have a year of playing time under his belt and there are many factors that could happen during that time. Such as Childress having problems problems learning the offense, finding open receivers, scrambling to avoid sacks and of course getting injured. Once this game is confirmed it might be in Holgorsen’s best interest to give Childress more reps during practice or give him some significant playing time this season in order to better prepare him better for this matchup.
Another problem for the Mountaineers could be the depth of the wide receivers. By 2014 most of West Virginia’s top receivers will have left which means the new recruits will have to step up and show they can fill the voids. If they can’t they will have to depend on the runnning game which isn’t a major part of Holgorsen’s offense. This will have to be a huge season for freshman receivers if they want to be major players in this Alabama game.
The Mountaineers could also run into some trouble on the defensive side of the ball. Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCaron could be returning for his senior season and if he can continue to pick defenses apart then the Mountaineer secondary could be in for a rough day. All secondary players will have to play with a lot more intelligence this season since last season they got burned countless times and if they continue to let this happen then Alabama will have a field day on offense.
While McCaron will probably return for his senior year there is also a possibility that he applies for the NFL Draft. If McCaron decides to go pro, then his most likely successor will be Phillip Sims. Sims was second on the depth chart to McCaron, throwing for only 163 yards and two interceptions. If Sims plays, then the game might look a little brighter for the Mountaineer defense.
If there is any game that Holgorsen has to create trick plays for this is the one. Much like the plays that were used in the Orange Bowl win over Clemson, the Mountaineers have to be able to fool a tough Crimson Tide defense. Last season, the Alabama’s defense allowed 1,449 yards through the air and only 938 on the ground. Most of their players were drafted this year and if Alabama’s current defense can’t keep up with Holgorsen’s offense then it could be a repeat of the Orange Bowl all over again.
While this game is a long ways away, both coaches will probably prepare for it at times during the season and absolutely once their seasons end. There are also many questions that haven’t been answered and this year’s college football season is still four months away and there is a lot that can happen between now and 2014. So for right now only time will tell.