2012 Recap: College football’s most dominant team. Alabama played three games against teams equipped to compete with them. They edged wins against LSU and Georgia. They lost to Texas A&M. Blemished BCS Titles are, nonetheless, BCS titles. Nick Saban won his third in four seasons.
Offense: The Tide should maul teams. A.J. McCarron returns for his senior season, after leading the nation in passer rating. They have perhaps the best running back in the country, T.J. Yeldon, and six underclassmen who were highly touted recruits behind him. They return their top three receivers from last year, including Amari Cooper who should be an All-American candidate as sophomore. They lose a former Outland trophy winner on the line and two high first-round draft picks. But most would try their luck with one of the nation’s best left tackles, a third-year starting senior at guard and a gaggle of Alabama recruits.
Defense: Saban gets the benefit of any doubt. They lose three defensive linemen, but can fill out two three-man lines of guys who aren’t freshmen. They return five of their top six linebackers, and have recruits waiting behind them. C.J. Mosley deciding to come back for his senior year is huge. They have arguably the best group of safeties in the country. Their vulnerability is at corner. If you’re trying to move the ball against them, it’s probably deep down the sidelines.
Schedule: About as easy as it gets in the SEC West. Virginia Tech is their toughest non-conference opponent. They do not play Florida, Georgia or South Carolina from the East. They play two games where they aren’t three-score favorites: at Texas A&M and LSU at home. Win those two and they go the SEC title game. Split those two and they still have a reasonable chance.
Ceiling: 12-0. Alabama overwhelms everyone. They are an SEC title game win away from their fourth BCS title in five years.
Floor: 10-2. There are only two teams on the schedule that can conceivably touch them. They drop close games to LSU and Texas A&M.
Prediction: 12-0. Roll Tide.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]
25. USC Trojans 24. Miami Hurricanes 23. Northwestern Wildcats 22. Oregon State Beavers 21.Nebraska Cornhuskers 20. Texas Longhorns 19. Louisville Cardinals 18. Baylor Bears 17. Michigan Wolverines 16. TCU Horned Frogs 15. Oklahoma Sooners 14. Clemson Tigers 13. Florida State Seminoles 12. LSU Tigers 11. Boise State Broncos 10. Florida Gators 9. Oklahoma State Cowboys 8.Georgia Bulldogs 7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6. South Carolina Gamecocks 5. Texas A&M Aggies 4. Ohio State Buckeyes 3. Stanford Cardinal 2. Oregon Ducks