CFB: 2024 Rose Bowl preview – The Offenses for Michigan and Alabama

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
11/12/2023/
NCAAF

Highlights

  • No. 1 Michigan will face No. 4 Alabama in the 2024 Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 1. This is also a CFP semifinal.
  • In the first part of our preview, we compare the similar offenses for the Wolverines and the Crimson Tide.
  • The Wolverines remain a slight favorite over the Tide according to the best Michigan sportsbooks.

The countdown is on to New Year’s Day and the first College Football Playoff semifinal between unbeaten Michigan and 12-1 Alabama in the Rose Bowl.

My guess is by kickoff people will have forgotten all about the controversy over Alabama getting in over unbeaten ACC champ Florida State. Hmm, probably not.

You don’t need to guess on the best Michigan sportsbooks which will have bursting markets and odds on the 2024 Rose Bowl. Michigan remains a 1.5-point favorite at BetMGM with the total at 45.5, but the line has shifted some at BetRivers, where the Wolverines are just a 1-point favorite.

We’re going to break down this match-up in detail, first looking at both offenses, and later the defenses, special teams and X-factors.

Comparing The Numbers 

Michigan’s offense is 14th in the nation in scoring (36.7 points). Alabama’s offense is 19th (35.1).  

Alabama is 49th in the nation in rushing (172.7 yards per game). Michigan is 60th (161.7). In passing, Alabama is 61st (228.4) and Michigan is 75th (218.8). In total offense, Alabama is 54th (401.2) while the Wolverines are 68th (380.5). Michigan is +17 in turnover margin, second in the nation. Alabama is +8.

These teams are both better on defense than offense (we will get to that) but have experienced quarterbacks who don’t turn the ball over.

The Tide’s Offense Rolls…Sometimes 

Alabama’s offense got off to a horrible start this season and current starter Jalen Milroe was benched after the Tide’s loss to Texas. But the Texas native has been not-quite-great, but pretty good ever since. The biggest change lately for Milroe is he’s begun using his legs. He ran for minus 47 yards in October, but nearly 300 in November. That extra dimension has become a difference maker for the Tide.

Outside of Milroe, the Tide’s offense is balanced. Like Michigan, they have two running backs they can depend on in Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams. Williams averages 5.1 yards per carry. Milroe has two good wide receivers in Jermaine Burton – the deep threat -- and Isaiah Bond.

The only bonafide NFL first round pick on this offense is 6-6, 360-pound right tackle JC Latham. When Bama needs a play, they run his way.

Blake the Great for Michigan 

While Alabama’s offense has seemingly improved this season, the Wolverines offense has leveled off. Quarterback JJ McCarthy, yes, he has been nicked up, hasn’t thrown for over 150 yards in his last four games. But you know what? He’s 26-1 the last two years as a starter.

The Michigan offense has become more Blake Corum centric. The star running back is over 1,000 yards and is tied for most rushing TD in program history with 55. Donovan Edwards is still a presence in the backfield, but instead of it being 50-50, it’s now Corum as the clear No. 1.

No Michigan wide receiver has really blossomed. Roman Wilson has 11 touchdowns, but six of them came early in the year. Tight end Colston Loveland has become a big target with 21 catches in his last six games.

The Wolverines offensive line lost All-American Zak Zinter in the Ohio State game, but it’s still an elite group led by Drake Nugent.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.