13. Alabama vs Duke
The Alabama Crimson Tide will start off their next season in a very familiar place to them when they kick off against the Duke Blue Devils team in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of the Chik-fil-A Kickoff on Aug. 31. This Kickoff game is a really big opportunity for the Duke Blue Devils and head coach David Cutcliffe.
The Blue Devils finished a solid 8-5 last year, winning four of six games on the road, despite winning just three of their eight conference games. Led by NFL-bound Daniel Jones, who starred at Senior Bowl practices, the Blue Devils won the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl last year to finish their season on a high note. Duke lost to some talented teams last year, but let a few disappointing losses slip away from them. It will be interesting to see how they can face Alabama on a neutral field.
Alabama comes into Atlanta at 8-1 in games played in the city, with a 4-0 record in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff, and 4-1 record in SEC Championship Games. The last meeting the Crimson Tide had with the Blue Devils came with a 62013 beat down in 2010.
Alabama returns a large portion of its stud players from last year, despite (as the tradition seems to go) losing a massive amount of players to the NFL. Heisman runner-up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returns for what is likely his last season with the Crimson Tide, as well as guys like future-star running back Najee Harris, Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy and a defense hungry to get over the title game debacle.
As is typical for Alabama, who holds the No. 1 recruiting class for 2019, they look a solid bet to win the championship. They’ll have to get past Duke first, but if the Blue Devils can keep it a close game, they’ll like their chances against most of their schedule going forward.