Alabama Football 2015 Bowl Capsule

Alabama Crimson Tide


The West division of the SEC had been the place where mediocre teams went to die. For the past few years, even elite national teams couldn’t survive a season residing in the SEC West. Yet year after year, one team seemed to rise to the top of arguably the best division of this century in college football. For the fourth year in a row, the Alabama Crimson Tide won (or finished tied atop) the SEC West. It’s been on top six of the last eight years as well. For all its other accomplishments under Nick Saban, Alabama’s dominance of this group may be the most impressive.

2015 Record: 12-1, 7-1
Coach: Nick Saban
Coach Bowl Record: 8-8

Big Wins: 11/7 LSU (30-16), 11/14 at Mississippi State (31-6)
Bad Losses: 9/19 Mississippi (37-43)

The things that make Alabama great in 2015 are the same things that have propelled the Crimson Tide to the top of the country in many seasons under Coach Saban. This is an elite defensive bunch with one of the premiere running backs in the country. That is the recipe, and it works. This season, Alabama’s defense was one of the best in nearly ever facet of the game: run defense, pass defense, scoring defense, first- and third-down defense, you name it. Although the individual players didn’t necessarily get all the publicity that Bama defenders have received in years past, this club still has a load of talent. Led by linebacker Reggie Raglund and defensive back Eddie Jackson, the back end made tons of plays. Up front, Jonathan Allen, A’Shawn Robinson and their cohorts filled out one of the best front fours in the conference. To balance out the defense, Derrick Henry led an upper-echelon running game on the offensive side. Alabama controlled time of possession as Henry put together a Heisman Trophy-worthy season in his junior year. If not for the injuries to Kenyan Drake, the attack could have been even more potent.

As has been the case for a couple of different times over the years, the passing offense couldn’t keep up with the rushing attack for Alabama. Senior transfer quarterback Jake Coker received most of the snaps behind center this year but never really put together strings of dominant play. He even occasionally ceded drives to sophomore Cooper Bateman when Saban was disgruntled with the production. In the Crimson Tide’s loss to Mississippi early in the year, each quarterback threw at least 14 passes in the game and each also threw at least one interception. Derrick Henry was magnificent on the ground, but the passing game couldn’t get the team over the hump. Of course, the defense also had its shortcomings in that game, where it allowed 40+ points. It didn’t help matters all year that Alabama’s offense struggled to convert third downs and really fell behind the eight ball on punt coverage and kick returns. JK Scott seemed to take a step back in his second season punting the football, although he was a Ray Guy Award finalist as a freshman last season, so it was a high pedestal to begin with.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Derrick Henry, RB, 1,986 yards
Passing: Jake Coker, QB, 2,489 yard
Receiving: Calvin Ridley, WR, 893 yards
Tackles: Reggie Ragland, LB, 90
Sacks: Jonathan Allen, DL, 10.0
Interceptions: Eddie Jackson, DB, 5

2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 206.2 (28th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 215.2 (73, 5)
Total Offense: 421.3 (51, 6)
Scoring Offense: 34.5 (34.3)
Rushing Defense: 78.9 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 185.7 (16, 5)
Total Defense: 264.6 (2, 1)
Scoring Defense: 14.3 (3, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.58 (27, 3)
Sacks: 3.42 (3, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.42 (31, 3)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2014    Sugar Bowl-Semifinal    Ohio State (35, 42)
2013    Sugar Bowl    Oklahoma (31-45)
2012    BCS Championship    Notre Dame (42-14)
2011    BCS Championship    LSU (21-0)
2010    Capital One Bowl    Michigan State (49-7)
2009    BCS Championship    Texas (37-21)
2008    Sugar Bowl    Utah (17-31)
2007    Independence Bowl    Colorado (30-24)

*all team stats through 11/30


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