The 2018 NCAA football season is just two months away and all eyes will be on the SEC as many will wonder if the Alabama Crimson Tide can repeat as National Champions. After one of the most thrilling comebacks in championship history, there are a number of reasons to believe that Alabama will roll to their third title in the last four seasons.
Saban Loves to Show Up the Doubters
No one takes criticism more personal than the Tides’ Head Coach, Nick Saban. However, he does not do so in a negative way. It is motivation for him and all he does is take that motivation and turn it into another reason to get his team fired up and ready for Saturday evening. Several media outlets have already declared that his team can’t even win the conference title. That was true last season and it made no difference at all, so why should it matter this year?
Saban the Best of All-Time?
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This is a question like Lebron vs. Jordan, but there is no arguing that Saban has put together one of the most, if not the most impressive run in the history of college football. Only Division-III coaches have this kind of run, and so you can never rule out a Saban led team. He is worth two extra wins a season just because he is the coach.
Reloaded for Another Run
Of the top 300 high school football players from last year’s senior class, 13 opted to go to Alabama. Consider those odds for a moment. There are 133 schools playing Division-I football. Yet, 13 of the very best players wound up at Alabama, including two of the top six. 247Sports ranked Alabama as the sixth-best class with 21 blue chip prospects. With a team that already was loaded, sixth best sure isn’t anything to cry about.
Plenty of Talent at the Quarterback
Last season, sophomore Jalen Hurts led the Tide to a 12-1 record and was a Heisman Trophy contender all season. However, he struggled in the title game, paving the way for freshman Tua Tagovailoa to lead an improbable comeback. Both quarterbacks are back, despite the talk that Hurts would transfer. Tagovailoa is clearly the better true quarterback, and Hurts is a dynamic playmaker that can beat you in 20 different ways. He did not leave and will likely be the starter, however, the team has two threats. Yipes!
The move is also another example of the genius of Saban. What coach turns away from a quarterback who led his team to the title game for a freshman down by 13 in the second half? Not only did he do it – it worked!
Talent All Over the Offense
We are used to hearing about all the talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Crimson Tide, but this is a team that is going to put up points. They return their two quarterbacks, the leading rusher, and the receiver who made the game-winning catch in the championship game in OT. What is really scary is that Tagovailoa, Najee Harris (leading rusher), and DeVonta Smith (game-winning catch) were all freshman last year. Not only is this team going to be good this season, they could go on a run or a roll.
Weaknesses in the Challengers
With all due respect to the other 125-plus teams playing Division-I college football, there are really only a couple of teams that have as much talent to compete with Alabama, and all of them come with glaring holes. Georgia is going to have to rebuild half of their defense, and that may take six or seven games to reach a point where they gel properly. Ohio State has a solid team and a great coach, but J.T. Barrett was exposed against Oklahoma last season, and he has to prove he can win the super big game.
The one team that should scare Alabama is Clemson. They have a superstar quarterback in Kelly Bryant and most of their key offensive weapons from a season ago are returning. If they are able to get any defense at all, this is going to be a very scary team because they are going to score points.
NFL legend John Madden was famous for saying that you go with the champs until someone beats them. That is a really smart idea for this season.