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How to watch Alabama vs. WVU: Preview, TV schedule, odds, more

Can the Mountaineers pull off a shocker in the Georgia Dome?

SB Nation 2014 College Football Guide

Three seasons ago, West Virginia was fresh off of its 70-33 throttling of Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Alabama had just won the BCS Championship, shutting out LSU in the Game of the Century, Part 2. When the Mountaineers and Crimson Tide announced in 2012 that they would open their 2014 seasons by playing each other in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, the matchup promised a clash of college football titans with contrasting styles.

In the two intervening seasons, Alabama has maintained its dominant position in the college football landscape and is poised to make another run in 2014. Meanwhile, West Virginia has fallen and fallen some more. The Mountaineers have lost 16 of their past 20 games and desperately need to make something good happen during a difficult opening month of the season.

The Saturday afternoon matchup in the Georgia Dome will represent the first time the two programs have met on the gridiron.

How to witness

TV: The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET. You can find it on ABC or ESPN2, depending on your local market.

Radio: You can find a full list of Alabama Crimson Tide radio affiliates right here. Stations carrying the Mountaineer broadcast can be found here.

Online streaming: The game will be available on WatchESPN.

The numbers

Rankings and records: Alabama is No. 2 in just about every major poll, including the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Poll. West Virginia is unranked.

Vegas: The Crimson Tide enter as heavy favorites, with most oddsmakers setting the line in favor of Alabama by about 26 points. The over-under is 53.5 points, so there's not really a ton of optimism in the Mountaineers scoring points this Saturday.

Weather forecast: The climate-controlled Georgia Dome should be nice and comfortable.

Three names to know

Jacob Coker / Blake Sims - Nick Saban has not built his dynasty at Alabama by allowing uncertainty at critical positions to persist deep into the season. In that regard, it will be interesting to see which quarterback ends up getting the start and if he performs well enough to retain that title heading into game two against Florida Atlantic. If the oddsmakers are correct about the margin of victory, there's a good chance that we'll see both quarterbacks take plenty of snaps.

Lane Kiffin - Will Alabama's offense look appreciably different under the guidance of the former USC, Tennessee, and Oakland Raider head coach? Will Kiffin make a step toward proving that he's a competent football coach who got promoted a few too many times?

Clint Trickett - Alabama isn't the only school breaking in a former Florida State quarterback. Both Jacob Coker and Clint Trickett left Tallahassee after losing out to a guy named Jameis Winston. You might have heard of him. Unlike Coker (or whomever the Alabama quarterback ends up being), Trickett won't have much help around him. The Mountaineers return adequate but unexceptional talent at the skill positions and could be in big trouble on the offensive line, where they lose three starters from a group that was pretty terrible to begin with.

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Two things at stake

An upset of mighty Alabama would go a long way towards quieting the unrest in Morganstown. In fact, it might erase all ill feelings entirely and remove Dana Holgorsen from the hot seat, at least through the end of the 2014 season. A loss -- even a blowout loss -- shouldn't be considered too much of a setback unless things get really out of hand.

For the Crimson Tide, this game is about avoiding embarrassment and heading into week two with a solid handle on who their starting quarterback is. An upset here would represent a difficult blow to Alabama's national championship hopes, although recent seasons offer a cautionary tale on ruling any SEC team out too early.

Further reading

Check out our Crimson Tide blog Roll Bama Roll, and catch our coverage of the West Virginia Mountaineers at The Smoking Musket.