No team in recent history has had the sustained level of success that the Alabama Crimson Tide have. Alabama has gained the top spot in the AP poll for at least one week in each of the past nine seasons. Unlike almost every other team in college football, the Crimson Tide don’t rebuild, they reload. Despite losing 11 starters off of last year’s team, the Crimson Tide are once again the favorites to win it all. If so, it would be Nick Saban’s fifth title in a little over a decade of time in Tuscaloosa.
2016 Record: 14-1 SU, 10-5 ATS, 7-8 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 11
National Championship Odds: +260
Odds To Win SEC: -158
Alabama was ranked No. 1 from the beginning of the season all the way up to the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide were scarcely tested, rolling over everything in their path on their way to a rematch of last year’s CFP Championship. Once there, Bama played an instant classic against Clemson, falling just short after DeShaun Watson led the team to a game-winning touchdown with one second left.
The Crimson Tide found their quarterback of the future in Jalen Hurts. For the first time, Saban eschewed having a traditional pocket passer as his starter and instead started a quarterback with some mobility. Hurts ran for 13 touchdowns and threw for another 23 touchdowns last season. He had a bevy of talent to throw to in OJ Howard, ArDarius Stewart, and Calvin Ridley and took advantage of that.
Surprise, surprise. Alabama had one of the best defenses in the country once again. The Crimson Tide allowed opponents to score just 13 points last season. If that number isn’t impressive enough, opponents averaged just two yards per carry on the ground against this squad. Seven Alabama defenders were taken in the NFL Draft and most of them were both All-Americans and high draft picks.
Hurts, Bo Scarbrough, and Damien Harris all return to make the running game formidable. The trio ran for almost 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. The main question on offense revolves around new coordinator Brian Daboll. Daboll hasn’t coached at the collegiate level since 1999 and his offenses in the NFL were usually terrible.
There’s no doubt that the defense will be elite once again. It doesn’t matter that this side of the ball lost so much talent, when there are so many former four- and five-star recruits waiting in the wings with plenty of assistants to coach them up. The secondary should be the best in the country with Minkah Fitzpatrick returning to lead the unit. He is a prime candidate for First Team All-American honors.
Saban doesn’t shy away from playing a difficult non-conference schedule and will open the season with one of the most highly anticipated matchups in recent years. Alabama and Florida State will open Mercedes-Benz Stadium in what should be a battle between two Top 5 teams. In SEC action, the two potential pitfalls are LSU and Auburn. Both of these matchups are in November and it would be shocking to see Alabama with a number other than zero or one in the loss column.
Saturday, September 2: Alabama vs. Florida State (in Atlanta)
Saturday, September 9: Alabama vs. Fresno State
Saturday, September 16: Alabama vs. Colorado State
Saturday, September 23: Alabama at Vanderbilt
Saturday, September 30: Alabama vs. Ole Miss
Saturday, October 7: Alabama at Texas A&M
Saturday, October 14: Alabama vs. Arkansas
Saturday, October 21: Alabama vs. Tennessee
Saturday, November 4: Alabama vs. LSU
Saturday, November 11: Alabama at Mississippi State
Saturday, November 18: Alabama vs. Mercer
Saturday, November 25: Alabama at Auburn
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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