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Fans of college football and those that bet on it every passing week at online sportsbooks likely can’t wait to see what type of team the Alabama Crimson Tide march onto the gridiron in 2019-20. It’s not often we get to see a Nick Saban coached team get the ever living tar kicked out of it, but that’s exactly what went down in the National Championship game when the Clemson Tigers thumped them by four touchdowns to hand them their only defeat of the season. It almost feels wrong and dirty to think Bama’s stranglehold of the sport has started to loosen, but that’s exactly what’s occurred with the Tigers offering up the blueprint on how to beat the Tide when it matters most two of the last three seasons. Because of it, Alabama cleaned house bringing in seven new coaches while imprinting the “Alabama Factor” mantra into every kid currently in the program. Will 2019-20 be the ultimate revenge tour?
Tua Tagovailoa is the current +250 frontrunner to take home the Heisman Trophy after finishing second in the voting behind Kyler Murray last season. He rewrote the Alabama record books by throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and a whopping 43 touchdown passes. He also proved to be resilient and one that could take a hit. While his front wall is getting a nice overhaul, those filling in for the departed are of the four and five-star recruit variety. He should be just fine but the offense must keep him injury-free; unlike last season when he went down in the SEC title game. Jerry Jeudy led the team in receiving with 68 catches of which 14 went for scores. He also averaged nearly 20-yards per reception! He’s flanked by Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle to form arguably the best wide receiver trio in the country. While Damian Harris and Josh Jacobs are no longer in the backfield, Alabama still figures to unleash a punishing ground attack with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. ready, willing and able to step in and carry the load. The Crimson Tide will once again be in possession of one of the most lethal offensive attacks in the country.
As good the defense has been in Tuscaloosa throughout the Saban era, it comes as no surprise to see more defections from last year’s dominant unit. Only now, the losses have started to create some depth concerns that the coaching staff is firmly aware of. That however doesn’t include the secondary where the unit is once again loaded. Sure, the secondary got torched by Jake Fromm, Kyler Murray and Trevor Lawrence to the tune of 1,000+ passing yards and 8 combined touchdowns, but that trio will all be playing on Sundays for a very long time in the near future. Don’t for one minute discount the NFL talent the Crimson Tide have in the secondary due to those results. In fact, the secondary is the defense’s one true strength heading into 2019-20 with Patrick Surtain II and Trevon Diggs back at the corner positions and third leading tackler Xavier McKinney at safety. The front-seven is where the concerns stem from, but it also looks to be in great shape with Raekwon Davis, LaBryan Ray and Dylan Moses all back in the mix.
It’s rare that Alabama isn’t automatically penciled into the Final Four. However, this could be the season the Crimson Tide ultimately misses out on the College Football Playoff for the first time in its existence. That said, it would take some unfortunate injuries to some of the most important players on the team to allow that to occur. We’re talking season-ending type injuries to Tua, Surtain, Najee or Raekwon. While that’s certainly within the realm of possibility of occurring since this is the game of football we’re talking about, it likely won’t. If that turns out to be the case, you can expect last year’s runner-ups to get another crack at championship glory. Only Clemson currently has shorter odds than Alabama to qualify for the CFP at offshore sportsbooks, and that has everything to do with the top end talent the program possesses at a number of different positions. That said, the depth just isn’t there this season and it could ultimately bite them if the injury bug strikes or the hangover effect from last year’s title game beat down is still lingering.