It's been nearly eight months since the Alabama Crimson Tide hoisted its fifth national championship trophy of the Nick Saban era, but now it's time to strap it back up and begin the quest for number 18.

The Tide heads south to Orlando for a neutral site matchup with the Louisville Cardinals. Here's everything you need to know about the first game of 2018.

No. 1 Alabama (0-0, 0-0 SEC) vs Louisville (0-0, 0-0 ACC)

When: Saturday, Sept. 1 at 7:00 PM/CT

Where: Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL

Weather: A hot afternoon will begin cooling down as kickoff approaches. Expect the kickoff temperatures to be in the mid to upper-80s and dropping slowly as the game plays out.

TV: ABC (Play-by-play: Chris Fowler, color analyst: Kirk Herbstreit, sideline reporter: Maria Taylor)

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Play-by-play: Eli Gold, color analyst: John Parker Wilson, sideline reporter: Rashad Johnson). Listen on 95.3 the Bear and Tide 102.9/100.9 in Tuscaloosa or download the station apps to stream the game for free.

Spread: The Crimson Tide opened as a 25.5-point favorite and that line has dropped a point to -24.5. The total is 60.5. Alabama finished 2017 with a 6-8 record against the spread.

Series History: Alabama and Mercer will meet for just the third time on Saturday and the first since 1940. Frank Thomas' teams beat Mercer 20-0 in both 1939 and 1940. The program actually folded two years later and the school went without a football team from 1942-2012. Amazingly, Mercer posted winning seasons in three of its first four years back.

Last Meeting: These two programs have squared off just three previous times but the last was nearly 30 years ago. Louisville's only victory over Alabama came in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl in a game that saw head coach Howard Schnellenberger and quarterback Browning Nagle lead the Cardinals to 34-7 upset victory over the Crimson Tide. If you want a great look back at that historic matchup, check out this story from the Louisville Courier Journal. 

Last Week: This will be the opening game of the 2018 season for both teams. The last time we saw Alabama, the Tide was lifting another College Football Playoff championships trophy after an incredible overtime victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. Louisville, meanwhile, couldn't hold onto a lead in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State and dropped the Tax Slayer Bowl, 31-27.