The last time we saw No. 2 Alabama on the field, it was getting smoked by Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship in January. An angry Crimson Tide team will hit the field for the first time in the 2019 season Saturday against Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. And one has to wonder what that means for the Blue Devils.
You never know what coach David Cutcliffe has up his sleeve -- especially when going up against an SEC opponent -- but this is an angry Bama team that plays exceedingly well not only in this venue but especially in kickoff games. Nick Saban likely has Alabama salivating after a tough offseason, particularly against another ACC opponent. There will be some Tide suspensions in the game -- the top two running backs are at least missing the first half -- and star defender Dylan Moses is out for the season with a torn ACL. But that does not mean this deep Alabama team will ultimately be affected by those absences.
So what should we expect Saturday when the Crimson Tide and Blue Devils meet? Let's break the game down and make a pick. Also, be sure to check back here at CBS Sports for live coverage of Alabama-Duke throughout the game.
Alabama: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is back along with the best wide receiving corps in the country -- which includes reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy. Gone are running backs Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, which leaves junior Najee Harris, who is reportedly after missing a team function, as the No. 1 running back this season for the run-heavy offense. Nobody knew who Quinnen Williams was this time last year, but he became a star in the middle of the Crimson Tide defense. Now that Williams is gone, coach Nick Saban and the defensive staff are looking for the next star to descend into the middle of that defense and dominate -- a task that might be even more important with the loss of All-America linebacker Dylan Moses, who is out indefinitely after earlier this week.
Duke: The Blue Devils are coming off an 8-5 season, but lost veteran quarterback Daniel Jones -- who was selected No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Senior Quentin Harris will take over for Jones after throwing for 437 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago. Can Harris jump right in and be a star with only four returning starters on the offensive side of the ball? We'll see. The good news for the Blue Devils is that they return their entire defensive front and eight total defensive starters, which will certainly ease the transition to a new quarterback.
Date: Saturday, Aug. 31 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- Atlanta
TV: ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
Alabama games with massive spreads are always tough to pick, because it really just depends on when Saban wants to take his foot off the gas. After what we saw at Levi's Stadium in January, it'll stay to the floor for a while on Saturday. Tagovailoa will get in a nice rhythm with his wide receivers and the defense will have no problem slowing down the Blue Devils. Pick: Alabama (-35.5)
So who wins Duke vs. Alabama? And which side of the spread can you bank on in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up more than $4,500 on its top-rated college football picks, and find out.