The Alabama Crimson Tide are the defending national champions and there are two words to describe them this season … Nick Saban. Saban has established himself as THE coach in college football and he does so by reloading yearly.
The Tide return junior quarterback A.J. McCarron, who didn’t have a spectacular season last year, but when you play quarterback on a Nick Saban team you don’t have to. McCarron did all the Tide needed him to do to propel them to a 12-1 season and that national championship. He threw for 2634 yards and 16 touchdowns, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but in the defense first SEC apparently it was enough.
McCarron could rely on running back Trent Richardson last season, but this year Richardson is gone and junior Eddie Lacy will have to step up. Lacy rushed for 674 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. That’s another thing Saban does well, find running backs. One year a back may have a spectacular season and the next year he may not even see the field but it’s almost a guarantee that his replacement will run for more than 1000 yards. The last three year starting running back for the Tide was Kenneth Darby in 2006.
The Tide offense will be mediocre, but what about their defense? After having about 100 players drafted last the Tide are pretty depleted, or so it would seem, but again this is Nick Saban we are talking about and the Tide have ranked in the top 5 in total defense every year since 2007. It may be a reach to expect the new guys to step in and dominate like the Dre Kirkpatrick and Courtney Upshaw’s of last season, but I wouldn’t put it past Nick to have a top 5 defense again this season.
Why Bama should be ranked higher:
Two national championships in 3 years and Nick Saban. Not to mention the Tide have their quarterback back.
Why Bama should be ranked lower:
They really did lose a lot on defense, and while the SEC isn’t known for offensive power, the Tide do face some pretty good quarterbacks in Denard Robinson, Tyler Wilson, and Tyler Bray.
Returning Starters: 7 Offense / 5 Defense
Best games: Michigan, at Arkansas, at LSU, Iron Bowl
2011 Total Offense: 75th
2011 Total Defense: 1st
2011 Turnover margin: 34th
Championship odds: 6:1
Projected record: 11 – 1
3. Alabama, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Oregon, 6. Wisconsin, 7. Florida State, 8. Georgia, 9. West Virginia, 10. Michigan State, 11. Clemson, 12. Michigan, 13. Virginia Tech, 14. TCU, 15. Arkansas, 16. Kansas State, 17. Texas, 18. Nebraska, 19. Ohio State, 20. South Carolina, 21. Stanford, 22. Oklahoma State, 23. Boise State, 24. Cincinnati, 25. Notre Dame