#3 Alabama Football 2020 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide
Overall Rank: #3
#1 SEC
 Alabama Logo
By Alabama’s standards, 2019 was a disappointing season. The Crimson Tide finished 11-2 overall and failed to win at least a share of the SEC West title for the first time since 2011. Losses to eventual national champions LSU and rival Auburn are not bad losses by any means, but Coach Nick Saban and company expect to win those games and expect to be competing for a national title.
2019 Record: 11-2, 6-2
2019 Bowl: Citrus Bowl vs. Michigan (W 35-16)
Coach: Nick Saban (152-23 at Alabama, 243-65-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Sarkisian
Defensive Coordinator: Pete Golding
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Najee Harris, RB, 1,224 yards
Passing: Mac Jones, QB, 1,503 yards
Receiving: DeVonta Smith, WR, 1,256 yards
Tackles: Shane Lee, LB, 86
Sacks: Christian Barmore, DL, 2.0
Interceptions: Patrick Surtain, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Brian Robinson Jr, WR Jaylen Waddle, OL Alex Leatherwood, OL Landon Dickerson, LB Christian Harris
Key Losses: QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, OL Jedrick Wills Jr, DB Xavier McKinney, LB Anfernee Jennings, LB Terrel Lewis, DB Jared Mayden, DB Trevon Diggs, DL Raekwon Davis, DB Shyheim Carter
Mac Jones earned some very valuable experience last season while Tua Tagovailoa was injured. He completed 68.8 percent of his 141 pass attempts for 1,503 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. That experience has given him the early lead in becoming 2020’s starting quarterback, but true freshman Bryce Young can give him a strong push if he can prove that he’s ready to play at this level. Alabama lost two great receivers in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but they still have plenty of playmakers on hand. DeVonta Smith opted to return for his senior season after leading the Tide with 1,256 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Jaylen Waddle is an explosive athlete who should see a much bigger role this season. Alabama will have the luxury of relying on Najee Harris if the passing game struggles. Harris rushed for 1,224 yards and 13 scores last season and added seven more trips to the end zone through the air.
All four of Alabama’s first round selections were on the offensive side of the ball, but the other five selections that came in the second and third rounds were on the defensive side. Injuries were a big problem last year, but that has led this to being quite an experienced squad. The front seven will welcome the return of Dylan Moses, who missed last year with an injury. He entered the 2019 campaign as a preseason All-American after recording 86 tackles in 2018. Christian Harris and Shane Lee were both forced into action as freshman and played quite well. With that year of experience under their belt, Alabama’s rush defense should be much better than their disappointing seventh in the SEC of 2019. The secondary lost a lot of experience, but Patrick Surtain is a proven cornerback and there is plenty of talent looking to step into starring roles.
The Bottom Line:
After not playing for a national title, Coach Sabin will have his team ready to go. And they better be ready to play from day one with a trip to Arlington, Texas to take on USC. Two weeks later Georgia comes to Tuscaloosa. A trip to LSU on November 7th and the home date with Auburn on November 28th should again be the games that Alabama fans have circled on their calendar. Those two will likely decide if Alabama is playing for a national title in 2020 or are following up their disappointing 2019 campaign with another one.
Projected Bowl: Rose Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 168.5 (56th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 342.2 (3, 2)
Total Offense: 510.8 (6, 2)
Scoring Offense: 47.2 (2, 2)
Rushing Defense: 137.2 (37, 7)
Pass Defense: 187.2 (11, 3)
Total Defense: 324.5 (20, 4)
Scoring Defense: 18.6 (13, 3)
Turnover Margin: 1.38 (3, 1)
Sacks: 2.46 (44, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 0.92 (3, 1)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#6 Patrick Surtain
#13 Jaylen Waddle
#17 Alex Leaterwood
#18 Josh Jobe
#19 DeVonta Smith
#24 LaBryan Ray
#27 Deonte Brown
#46 Dylan Moses
#71 Najee Harris