It’s time for college football to get underway once again, and that brings up the age-old question. Will Alabama be national champions at the end of the season?
Why Alabama Will Be National Champions
It has been something that has been asked each of the last five seasons. Alabama has been in the title game in each of the last four, so why would it be surprising to see them return? They are favored by many oddsmakers to return, as odds put them at +250.
Here are five reasons why they could be national champions this year.
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Tagovailoa was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy last season. His team was runner-up as national champions. Those are two pretty strong incentives for the young quarterback to put up big numbers.
Consider that Tagovailoa replaced a Heisman Trophy candidate as quarterback last season. Then all he did was throw for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns. The junior is the real deal and could be headed to the NFL after the season. There is no doubt he would love a Heisman Trophy and a national title before departing.
Schedule Is Challenging, Not Overwhelming
Contrary to what many would like to believe, the SEC is not as dominant as it once was. It’s not an easy schedule but is not a grueling one either. The toughest part of this schedule may be when they face Ole Miss and Texas A&M in back-to-back games. However, Alabama has a bye week between those games. That means they get an extra week to heal and regroup. Even before taking on LSU the Crimson Tide have a bye week.
They also get the advantage of facing Mississippi State and Western Carolina before taking on Auburn. This is not a tough schedule at all, not by normal Alabama standards. They should easily be 12-0 heading into the SEC championship.
Time for Revenge
The one thing we have learned about Alabama head coach Nick Saban over the last 10 years is that he doesn’t take defeat well. Three seasons ago, his team lost in the national championship game to Clemson. They responded by knocking the Tigers out of the playoffs the following year on their way to winning the championship. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Saban come with that kind of dedication again.
He isn’t an angry coach. He isn’t of a vindictive coach. He does carry a chip on his shoulder, however. The Alabama head coach is tied with Bear Bryant for the most national titles. No doubt he would love to eclipse that this year.
A Better Defense
Alabama can match Clemson in terms of offensive firepower, but where they are better is on defense. Clemson lost eight of their 11 starters from last season. The Crimson Tide lost some key performers, but their losses were not as many.
Returning is Mack Wilson, Deionte Thompson, and Quinnen Williams, among others. They also have a more mature Patrick Surtain, Jr., the son of a former NFL standout, manning one of the safety positions. It is going to take a few weeks for this defense to gel. However, with Duke and New Mexico State to open the season, that shouldn’t be a problem.
The Best Recruiting Class in the Land
Many experts believe that Alabama had the best recruiting class in the country in 2019. That follows up a number five ranking from the 2018 class. The Crimson Tide have been in the top 10 in terms of recruiting classes the last six or seven years. They suffer important losses but have top talent ready to fill the void.
The truth of the matter is that as long as Saban is there, Alabama is going to be a top two or three team every year. He recruits better than everyone, as his number one ranking for this season proves it. You simply can’t argue with excellence.
Why They Will Not Win the Title?
While it is easy to see why Alabama will win it all, there are a couple of barriers that will stand in their way. There are three reasons why they will not win.
Clemson didn’t just beat Alabama last season. They manhandled them. The Tigers’ freshman quarterback completely outplayed Tagovailoa, and he still kept many of his weapons. The Tigers lost a lot on defense, but their offense is going to roll.
What the Crimson Tide coaching staff has to be most concerned about is that they got outplayed in every aspect of that game. Alabama had no answers, and one has to wonder if they will have any this season either.
The Defense Has Issues
While there will be a lot of talent on defense for Alabama, this is going to be a very young secondary. It’s a secondary with talent and speed, but inexperience can lead to mistakes. Mistakes lead to big plays and big plays lead to losses.
This defense is going to have to gel right away, or they are going to have issues against Southern Mississippi, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M. Any one of those three contests could easily become a trap game.
It’s the National Championship Every Week
While Alabama is playing for a national championship, none of the 12 teams on their schedule are likely to be doing so as well. Teams like Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU, and Tennessee have nice teams. They are not championship teams.
However, they will be up for that Alabama contest. It will be their national championship. They will want to do everything they can to defeat Alabama because their whole season will be made then.
Those are the kind of tough games a team like Alabama could get tripped upon. It’s hard to be up each and every week for three months. All those teams have to do is be up for one.
While there are some reasons to doubt Alabama not making it to the national title game, that would be foolish. This is the best team in the country, at least one of the best two. The sad thing for college football fans is that the next 16 weeks may be played with everyone already knowing what the final outcome will be.