Alabama wins BCS title, will be third defending champion to open season against Michigan
Next up for the Michigan football team: the national champs.
Alabama’s 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS National Championship game on Monday night assures the Wolverines will open their 2012 season against the defending champion for just the third time in program history.
Michigan and Alabama play Sept. 1 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
A dominant Crimson Tide defense that led the nation in every major category -- scoring, total yards, rushing yards and passing yards -- smothered No. 1 LSU at the Superdome in New Orleans, allowing just five first downs and 92 total yards and recording the first shutout in BCS title game history.
Fortunately for Michigan, that defensive unit will look different when the Wolverines line up across from it in September. Five defensive starters’ eligibility expired at the conclusion of the BCS game and two key juniors -- linebacker Don’t’a Hightower and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick -- are expected to enter the NFL draft.
Offensively, Alabama loses four senior starters -- including both of its wideouts -- and junior running back Trent Richardson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, is considering entering the NFL draft. Offensive coordinator Jim McElwain was named head coach at Colorado State.
The Wolverines have opened the season against the defending national champion twice before, both in the 1980s. Coincidentally, the first came after Michigan made its only other Sugar Bowl appearance.
On Jan. 2, 1984 -- the day Michigan lost 9-7 to Auburn in New Orleans - Miami (Fla.) upset No. 1-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl and was later voted national champion.
The Hurricanes opened the 1984 season at Michigan Stadium, losing 22-14 to the Wolverines.
Notre Dame hosted Michigan to open the 1989 season after it had won the 1988 national title by going 12-0 (including a 19-17 home win against No. 9 Michigan) and beating No. 3 West Virginia, 34-21, in the Fiesta Bowl.
Notre Dame also won the 1989 opener at Michigan Stadium, 24-19.
Notable: The Wolverines did play 1880 co-champions Princeton and Yale in their second and third games of 1881, losing both.
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