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Posted on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

Alabama wins BCS title, will be third defending champion to open season against Michigan

By Rich Rezler


Alabama's DeMarcus DuBose celebrates after a 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS National Championship game. Next up for the Crimson Tide is a 2012 season-opener against Michigan.

AP Photo

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.


Alabama's Nico Johnson (35) and Dre Kirkpatrick (21) celebrate after stopping LSU's Tyrann Mathieu on a kickoff return during the second half of the BCS National Championship game Monday in New Orleans.

AP Photo

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.


BCS National Championship
Alabama 21, LSU 0
New Orleans Times-Picayune coverage
Birmingham News coverage
Story | Boxscore



New Mexico Bowl
Temple 37, Wyoming 15
Story | Boxscore

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio 24, Utah State 23
Story | Boxscore

New Orleans Bowl
Louisiana-Lafayette 32, San Diego State 30
Story | Boxscore


Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl
Marshall 20, Florida International 10
Story | Boxscore


Poinsettia Bowl
TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 34
Story | Boxscore


Boise State 56, Arizona State 24
Story | Boxscore


Hawaii Bowl
Southern Mississippi 24, Nevada 17
Story | Boxscore


Independence Bowl
Missouri 41, North Carolina 24
Story | Boxscore


Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Purdue 37, Western Michigan 32
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Belk Bowl
North Carolina State 31, Louisville 24
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Military Bowl
Toledo 42, Air Force 41
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Holiday Bowl
Texas 21, California 10
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Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14
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Alamo Bowl
Baylor 67, Washington 56
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Armed Forces Bowl
BYU 24, Tulsa 21 Story | Boxscore

Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13
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Music City Bowl
Mississippi State 23, Wake Forest 17
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Insight Bowl
Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14
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Meineke Car Care Bowl
Texas A&M 33, Northwestern 22
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Sun Bowl
Utah 30, Georgia Tech 27 (OT)
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Liberty Bowl
Cincinnati 31, Vanderbilt 24
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Fight Hunger Bowl
Illinois 20, UCLA 14
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Chick-fil-A Bowl
Auburn 43, Virginia 24
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TicketCity Bowl
Houston 30, Penn State 14
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Capital One Bowl
South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13
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Outback Bowl
Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3 OT)
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Gator Bowl
Florida 24, Ohio State 17
Story | Boxscore

Rose Bowl
Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38
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Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38 (OT)
Story | Boxscore


Sugar Bowl
Michigan 23, Virginia Tech 20 (OT) coverage | Boxscore


Orange Bowl
West Virginia 70, Clemson 33
Story | Boxscore


Cotton Bowl
Arkansas 29, Kansas State 16
Story | Boxscore


BBVA Compass Bowl
SMU 28, Pittsburgh 6
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Arkansas State (10-2) vs. Northern Illinois (10-3)
Story | Boxscore



Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Technically, the Alabama game will be Michigan's fourth season opener against a national champion. UM faced Appalachian State to open the 2007 season, who had won the FCS Championship in both 2005 and 2006.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

On the way down to NO for the Sugar Bowl, I get on the airplane and next to me, a young guy says "you ever hear of App State". He was in high school or younger at the time, and is now a Miami cheerleader. He's from Boone, NC and even 4-5 years later, that loss still haunts us. Should have never scheduled that game. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. Believe me, I'd rather lose to Bama than App State (though winning is much better). That loss continues to hurt and will follow us for years to come!!


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

Well, not to be a "Debbie Downer," but I feel that playing Alabama in the very first game of the season could be UM's undoing. All it would take is for a key player (like Denard or some others) to get injured and possibly sidelined for the season by the Crimson Tide's powerful defense. I hope it doesn't happen, but I'm just being a realist here.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

The 2012 BCS Championship game was a disgrace to College Football. Neither team should have been playing for anything other than a regualr BCS non-championship bowl. From what I saw last evening, this Fan will take MIchigan over Bama in the 2012 season opener. The 2013 BCS Championship could very well be Michigan's to win or loose; just give us a team like LSU or Bama to compete against.!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

I'll bet you even up if you want.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Well, I agree. Anyone who knows anything about good football could see that Illinois vs. UCLA was the true championship game.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Bama's 2nd and 3rd stringers are no joke. The game next fall will be a challenge. That being said, if we lose by a close margin to Alabama and win out , and Alabama wins out, don't we deserve to be in the NC game against them next year?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

With Alabama losing a possible 12 starters (7 of 11 on the D), it is hard to imagine that they will be as good as they were this season and in last night's game. 7 defensive starters is a lot to replace. With that said, it will still be a difficult game for us, and our offense will have to play more like it did against Nebraska and OSU and less like the Va. Tech game. Our D will need to continue to improve, and we will have to have a solid game by the D to beat Bama. I agree that DRob's play will be critical next season. We will learn alot in that game against Bama, and we will see if we are ready to be in the BCS title picture yet. It sure will be a lot of fun to watch. Go Blue !


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

I hope there is no dilemma. I'd like to see it decided when practice begins in August. Devin is physically and emotionally ready to take the reins. I'd love to see Borges continue to explore offensive sets with Denard as a hybrid running back/slot receiver (can he catch??). We all know Denard will never play QB in the NFL.. so why not launch him to the next level properly? Let Devin run the offense with Denard its primary weapon. Devin is still a threat to run, albeit not the threat that Denard is. He can see over the line, though.. and he's got a cannon.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

DonAZ, it will be very interesting to see what happens to Devin. I would love to see him continue to develop and push DRob for the starters role. If he improves alot, it could prove to be an interesting dilemma for Coach Borges.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Or Devin Gardner comes on strong in the spring and fall.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

I agree.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

DonAZ, Your quote, "Which is why Denard's progress becoming a better passer in the off-season is, to me, the #1 factor for the upcoming season", is easily the main & only #1 concern for the Maize-n-Blue Nation with the #2 concern in keeping Denard healthy and the final #3 concern is the development of the other QB's. I know there are some minor issues relating to other phases of the game but for Michigan, it is all about the QB's. GO BLUE!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

So inconsistent I'm not sure Borges trusted him to do the screens against VT's defense. Michigan's receivers weren't able to get much separation from VT's defenders. A poor throw in a screen that's picked is 6 points.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

I agree Denards passing has to improve. He is very inconsistent.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Either (a) Robinson gets better in Borges' offense, or (b) Borges gives up on his experiment and uses Robinson in a read option, or (c) they develop another QB. I'm still struck by McCarron's play last night against that LSU defense -- lots of screens and play action passes for 5, 10 yards. We didn't see any of that in the Sugar Bowl. If a defense is going to load up to stop the run then an offense has to make them pay for that. I wish Robinson was a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier. I think his stature is a big part of the problem. I doubt he has much visibility downfield when he's standing in the pocket with all these massive trees around him.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Gotta hand it to 'Bama this time. Such defense. I bet Brady Hoke is still sitting in front of his TV re-running the game ans dreaming. LOL It was a terribly boring game, but we couldn't stop watching it. Yikes.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Alabama is executing the formula to win BCS championships. Over-recruit and stockpile 4 and 5-star defenders. Hire the best defensive coaches in the country. Play smothering, boring defense. Win championships. Alabama was probably one loss away (last season) from a three-peat. Unless they get hit with NCAA penalties, they won't be relinquishing their title anytime soon. As much as it pains me to say this, we now have less than 8 months to prepare for our beatdown in Dallas.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

That's it I'm all done. Goodbye.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

No Big 10 team can realistically expect to challenge the SEC next year. Certainly not Notre Dame. The Big East is a complete mess. Ditto the ACC.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Re: your first sentence -- that's exactly right. The SEC has won 6 straight BCS championships. Next year will be 7. I can't see any realistic challenger emerging. And it's not the SEC overall ... it's a relatively small handful of SEC teams -- LSU, Alabama ... and at one point Florida, but I think Florida is for now out of that race. Arkansas has glimmers of goodness, but given they play in the SEC west against LSU and Alabama it's tough to exit unscathed. The potential challengers from 2011 will be different teams next year -- Oregon loses James, Stanford loses Luck, OSU loses Wheeden. Potential challengers to SEC are USC (I think they're eligible next year) and *maybe* FSU (if they settle down and live up to their talent potential). I don't hold much hope with Texas or Oklahoma ... Mack Brown is overrated and Oklahoma always finds a way to stumble. Meanwhile, Alabama and LSU stock up and reload. The NFL drools over what they see. Recruits see the NFL drooling. The cycle repeats.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Complete domination by Alabama. I think Al Borges should study Alabama's offensive game plan. A. J. McCarron did an excellent job from the start to get the ball into receivers' hands using various screens and play actions. LSU was stacking the box against the run. McCarron went 23 for 34 passing for 234 yards. And as I read the play-by-play I see lots of 5 to 10 yard passing completions. Conversely, LSU's offensive game plan was ... a mystery to me. In retrospect I would have liked to see Oregon vs. Alabama. Irresitable force vs. immovable object. The way Alabama's defense was playing last night I think Oregon's offense would have had a problem. I am happy Alabama destroyed LSU. I grew sick and tired of hearing people speak of LSU's "body of work in the regular season" as a justification for granting a share of the title even if they lost. (Gary Danielson and Mark May hinted of this after the SEC championship game.) Early season games can be unpredictable, and Michigan can win against Alabama. But it's *not* going to be by trying to pound it up the middle against Alabama. You can bet Alabama's defensive game plan will be pretty much just like MSU's and VT's -- stack the box and challenge Denard to pass. Which is why Denard's progress becoming a better passer in the off-season is, to me, the #1 factor for the upcoming season.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

LSU's offensive coordinator devised a game plan as if he had other things on his mind.....such as maybe leaving LSU to coach elsewhere. Nah...couldn't be that.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Yes, Michigan's secondary needs improvement. I'm sure Mattison understand that. Alabama traditionally has great offensive lines, so we can't assume Michigan's defensive line will be able to get much penetration. Your sarcasm in the first sentence is duly noted.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

According to Hoke Denard was completeing 70% of his passes in practise, nothing to worry about. Alabam will use the same offensive strategy against UM they used against LSU. Pass, Pass, Pass. Every team that used that strategy against UM was successful.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

With all the key starters Alabama will lose prior to the Michigan game, I believe it will be a great game. GO BLUE!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

"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." Actually, Michigan hosted ND to start the 1989 season - that was the Rocket Ismail game...

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

We don't use words like Rocket Ismail around these parts. Clean it up or move on. lol


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

As good as bama looked on defense LSU was just as bad on offense. I think the wolverine offense would of did a heck of a lot better job than LSU offense and would of made a game out of it. Alabama's offense had a lot of trouble getting into the end zone. Like I keep saying U of M is going to beat Alabama in the opener next year. Senior Quarterback Denard Robinson and Offense will overpower that defense. Everyone is scared about the bama game. " WE ARE MICHIGAN" and they better be scared. GO BLUE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#1.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

LSU's offensive showing was not all Alabama's defense. Bama's defense had a lot to do with the showing, but LSU's offense in last night's game was ... flat. Michigan's offense in 2010 was one-dimensional and good defenses shut it down. Michigan's offense in 2011 developed another dimension in Toussaint and was improved over 2010. But until Robinson can prove he can torch safeties lining up a yard off the linebackers the offense is going to struggle. But ... if Robinson does develop the skills to read, evade and pass over defenders crowding the box ... well then ... things will get very interesting.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

LSU's offense looked pathetic in this game. I think the U of M's offense would of been better. Sorry, even one has a right to there opinion. If LSU's offense had showed up it would of been a good game. I guess we will see at next years season opener. Right.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Are you for real? Going into the bowl games, LSU averaged 38.5 points a game with an average margin of victory of 28 points. This was against 8 ranked teams, playing 6 of them away. UM averaged 34 points a game with an average margin of victory of just 17 points. You played 2 ranked teams (4 of your opponents had losing records), lost twice and played 8 HOME games. And you can actually claim your offense is better than LSU's? Quit drinking the cool-aid! The big 10's envy/jealousy is really becoming quite pathetic.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

I'm bitter that good defense wins championships. It's extremely boring to watch. Total dud of a game, unless you're an Alabama fan. Thankfully we still have teams like Oregon, WVU and Oklahoma St. that gameplan around lighting up the scoreboards.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

@missionbrazil -- yes, that's right. Can you imagine Alabama's defense coupled with Oregon's offense? Holy cow, that would be something to watch.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Whether you like it or not, offense is still only 1 of 3 phases of the game. Teams better have a good to great defense if they want to compete for conference titles and national championships.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Yeah, they're fun to watch...but like you said, defense wins championships and the two best D's were playing for the title. I'd rather win boring than lose exciting.

roll tide

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Payback for LSU! "ROLL TIDE"


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 8:40 a.m.

Fellas, What a difference between this past season and the preceding 3 years. Thanks to everybody who contributed to making a justified ruckus on the internet forums like this one. Thanks to University of Michigan Wolverines & AD Brandon for making the needed changes (oh, not those "special" uniform changes, mind you). Thanks to Hoke and his fabulous staff. See ya all later this fall. TiM...GO BLUE!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Papes & RJ, Amen!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

I will third that about the uniforms. Trying to keep up with the Joneses doesn't work. Michigan is the Joneses .


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:47 a.m.

They've done a heck of a job. And i agree about the uniforms. If it aint broke dont fix it.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6 a.m.

Bama's Defense is down right nasty. Easily the best in the NCAA and they really showed it tonight. Its going to very interesting to see how Michigan handles themselves against them for the opener. Bama is definitely going to lose a lot of very good players, but im sure they have plenty of talent waiting in the wings. UM however, will be more or less intact, with a lot of experience. The players leaving the from the offensive and defensive lines will hurt, but i think UM has players that can step up and fill in nicely. I think Molk will be the hardest spot of them all to fill. Im optimistic about the Dline though. I think Roh, Washington, Black, and Brink will be steady, and I think Clark is going to end up being a Fantastic edge rusher. Then theres X factors like Campbell, who could end up playing well if given extended time, and of course the incoming freshmen could provide a boost. As we should all know, Well coached freshmen can be very successful as the season goes on. (Countess, Morgan, Ryan)


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6 a.m.

Thank goodness they will lose 12 starters to graduation and early entry into the NFL draft. We should have a shot. We only lose 4 starter. should be a good game.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

Is that a mistake or did Oklahoma really get to play in two bowl games?

Rich Rezler

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:52 a.m.

Thanks for pointing that out, Mick52. That was obviously Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. That typo has been fixed.

Matt Patercsak

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:30 a.m.

win or lose im excited, and happy that our team gets to play alabama. consider it a baptism by fire. they will be exposed to physical, intense play, that will no doubt resonate in the young players on defense, and the offensive line. there is no better teacher than failure. michigan will get lessons in physicality and toughness that maybe they thought were lofty dreams from coach hoke. win or lose, michigan will learn how to bring it. and our hearts will be measured. i love it. id like to expose weaknesses that can be addressed. cough!o-line.cough!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:23 a.m.

Even though Saban really really quit on MSU because he would never rise above Michigan, (his words paraphrased),...he sure has proven to be an outstanding defensive coach with quite solid offenses. Even with loss of many players, the speed and intensity that they play with is enough to make me nervous already. I imagine he will look at the MSU tape, the va tech tape and lick his chops. Michigan better have a more creative offensive game plan than what they had in the sugar bowl. Just look at what bama did to prolific LSU tonight and figure what they will do to inexperienced lines with denard throwing off his back foot...hopefully the 9 mos will change things and Michigan will shock the world. Should be an exciting match up but I sure hope that we look more like we did against Nebraska than against va tech.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:16 a.m.

One of the most boring big games ever. Just feels empty to me that Bama got a rematch despite losing at HOME the 1st time. College Football, as great of a sport that it is, leaves a lot to be desired with these worthless Bowl Games and long gaps between games is awful. The one good thing about Bama winning is hopefully they'll have a big ego going into the Michigan Game next season and losing so many key starters. Even though they have a lot of young talent, they'll still be inexperienced in many spots. Can't wait for that game.