Three-peat for ‘Bama? 2013 Alabama College Football Preview
Is there ever going to be a year that Alabama will NOT be the favorite, or one of the favorites, for a national title? Well, after 2012, when Alabama waltzed home with its second straight National Championship, we’ll answer that: Probably not.
Nick Saban’s the country’s best coach. Nick Saban’s one of the country’s best recruiters. All Nick Saban does (unless you’re referring to his NFL career) is win.
His team brings back their starting quarterback who just knows how to win, and an exceptional wide receiver who doesn’t drop anything. Their running back stable is the best in the country. And their defence is frighteningly good.
But will he get his third straight National Championship? A lot of people think that he will. Alabama is an almost unanimous No.1 with the AP.
Last year Alabama had wins where they destroyed teams, wins where they squeezed by and times when they had more than a little bit of fortune. The wins where they destroyed teams? Michigan. Missouri. Tennessee. Auburn. Notre Dame in the National Championship Game. The wins where they got away? LSU. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The bit of fortune? When they had lost to Texas A&M at home and then Kansas State and Oregon don’t do what they were meant to.
But that was OK by Alabama. All that mattered was the Crystal Ball. And that’s what they got.
We procrastinated over whether we’d put Alabama’s McCarron over Georgia’s Aaron Murray in our list of the SEC’s best QBs, but we put McCarron over Murray because we believe a few things. One: McCarron’s got two National Championships. Two: We believe McCarron’s a better game manager than Murray – see him pull one out of the box against LSU and Georgia for details. Three: He’s got better wide receivers. Amari Cooper is one hell of a weapon to have. Cooper helped McCarron to an excellent 2012, where he threw for 2,900 yards and 30 TDs, giving up just 3 INTs, with a SEC-topping QB rating of 175.3. That’s pretty gaudy numbers.Oh, and the TJ Yeldon/Derrick Henry running back combination? We could see Yeldon as a Heisman contender, people. And we see Derrick Henry as a future Heisman contender.
Sure, Alabama is going to have to blood three new starters in the offensive line (we’d argue that the biggest loss is center superbrain Barrett Jones), but Nick Saban will be OK with that. He’s Nick Saban, after all.
Alabama returns seven players from a fearsome defense that ranks first in points per game (10.7 pts), rushing (76.4 yards/game), and total yards (250 yards per game). They were seventh in passing defense (173.6 yards/game).
We’ll start with the ‘weakness’ – the Alabama secondary. Sure, they lose Dee Milliner and Robert Lester, but it’s not like they bring back duds. Free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had five INTs, strong safety Vinnie Sunseri who 5th on the team in tackles (54), CB Deon Belue (40 tackles, 2 INTs). For a ‘weakness’ it’s a lot more experienced than most secondaries out there!
And up front, the loss of leader/nose guard Jesse Williams, DEs Damion Square and Quinton Dial will definitely hurt. I’m sure of it. But it won’t show on the field. CJ Mosley, Trey DePriest and Adrian Hubbard are all back. They had over 200 tackles between them (well, Mosley had a tidy 107!). It doesn’t matter if Alabama doesn’t have a dominant pass rusher – they’ll choke you if you try and run on them.
What’s interesting for us is how they deal with an offense like a Texas A&M’s, who beat them by forcing turnovers, but also beat them because of the seeming uncatchability of Johnny Manziel.
8/31 vs. Virginia Tech (in Georgia Dome)
9/14 at Texas A&M
9/21 COLORADO STATE
9/28 OLE MISS
10/05 GEORGIA STATE
10/12 at Kentucky
11/16 at Mississippi State
11/30 at Auburn
Right, we know what the biggest game of Alabama’s season is, and it’s not the November 23rd showdown with Chattanooga. It’s the September 14th showdown on the road at Kyle Field with Texas A&M. If they can get through that unscathed, then the schedule is extremely generous to Nick Saban. There’s no Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina. LSU and Ole Miss are both games that will be played in Tuscaloosa. The opening day of the season is being played in Atlanta against Virginia Tech, so they avoid playing on the road in Blacksburg (thanks, ESPN).
BOTTOM LINE: Alabama wins at Kyle Field, and rolls to a SEC Championship. And then rolls to a National Championship. Then wins another one.
Tagged with: Alabama • Arkansas • Auburn • Crimson Tide • Florida • Georgia • Kentucky • LSU • Mississippi State • Missouri • Nick Saban • Ole Miss • Predictions • Roll Tide Roll • SEC • SEC East • SEC West • South Carolina • Tennessee • Texas A&M • Vanderbilt
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