Kickoff: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
Spread: Alabama by 13
Watchability: Two of the most storied programs in college football history are squaring off for only the fourth time. They have 25 national titles between them, both start off the season in the Top 10 and both have national championship aspirations this year. If you can only watch one game this weekend, this should be it.
Shining stars: Alabama: C Barrett Jones is the defending Outland Trophy winner. He anchors the Alabama OL, but he's really only a representative of the overall talent on the line. T D.J. Fluker, G Chance Warmack and Jones are all potential All-Americans. They will pave the way for RBs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, while also protecting QB AJ McCarron. Michigan: QB Denard Robinson is one of the most dangerous players in the nation. He could vault himself into an early-season Heisman lead with a big night Saturday. His numbers were slightly down in 2011, but the top dual-threat QB in the nation is a threat to run every play. He can also burn defenses through the air, as evidenced by his 58.3-percent career completion percentage for nearly 5,000 yards.
Who could steal the show: Alabama: S Robert Lester will be one of the Alabama defenders keeping an eye on Robinson. Lester knows Robinson served up 15 interceptions in 2011, and he will be looking to add to his career total of 10 picks. He'll also have the tough task of tackling Robinson in the open field should he break into the secondary. Michigan: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint -- will he play or not? Coach Brady Hoke has danced around the question all week after the star back was arrested over the summer. He pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while visually impaired on Tuesday, but it's unclear if he'll be in the lineup Saturday. If he is, the Wolverines will hope he can continue the strong numbers he put up in the second half of 2011. Toussaint had four 100-yard games in the last six contests of the season on his way to a total of 1,041 yards on the ground.
You going? Ranking the road trip: It's one of the top games of the year, and it's being played in the nicest venue in the nation -- college or pro. Worried about being able to instant replay? Check out the 160-foot wide HD screen in the stadium. Great game atmosphere with more than 80,000 passionate fans wearing the maize and blue or crimson and white and the nicest stadium imaginable. Yes, you should go if there's an opportunity.
Magic number for Alabama: 8. That's how many players received preseason All-America honors. It might not have a top Heisman contender like Trent Richardson in 2011, but there's talent all over the field.
Magic number for Michigan: 222. That's how many rushing yards the Wolverines averaged per game in 2011. That's an almost impossible number to reach against an Alabama defense that finished first the nation in 2011 in total yardage given up, but if the Wolverines can come close, they'll have a great chance.
The game comes down to: Alabama must contain Robinson. He has made the Big Ten his personal playground over the past three years, running at will on almost any defense. He's never seen a defense like Alabama, but its never seen a QB as shifty as Robinson. If he runs wild, the Wolverines can pull off the upset. If Alabama keeps him in the pocket and can capitalize on a few of his throwing mistakes, it will start 2012 off with a big win.
Prediction: Alabama 28, Michigan 21
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.