#1 Alabama Football 2013 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide

Overall Rank: #1
#1 SEC

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Coming into most seasons, there are a few favorites to win it all. These schools are in the upper echelon as far as recruiting and coaching goes. They also have superior athletes across the line of scrimmage and often use talented underclassmen to support their veterans. This season, six of the top 12 teams in the country come from the SEC and yet, there still remains just one favorite to win the BCS National Championship. And that school is Alabama. Head Coach Nick Saban has built a behemoth in Tuscaloosa. There may be teams with a better individual facet to their game but nobody challenges the Crimson Tide as far as top to bottom team talent and production.

2012 Record: 13-1, 8-1
2012 Bowl: BCS National Championship vs. Notre Dame (W 42-14)
Coach: Nick Saban (68-13 at Alabama, 159-55-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier
Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: T.J. Yeldon, RB, 1,108 yards
Passing: A.J. McCarron, QB, 2,933 yards
Receiving: Amari Cooper, WR, 1,000 yards
Tackles: C.J. Mosley, LB, 107
Sacks: Adrian Hubbard, LB, 7.0
Interceptions: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, 5

Other Key Returnees: RB Kenyan Drake, WR Kevin Norwood, OL Anthony Steen, OL Cyrus Kouandijo,  DL Ed Stinson, DL Jeoffrey Pagan, LB Trey Depriest, DB Vinnie Sunseri, DB Deion Belue

Key Losses: RB Eddie Lacy, TE Michael Williams, OL Chance Warmack, OL Barrett Jones, OL D.J. Fluker, DL Quinton Dial, LB Nico Johnson, DB Dee Milliner, DB Robert Lester

Rushing defense: first. Total defense: first. Scoring defense: first. Pass defense: first...oh, my apologies. Those were Alabama defensive rankings from 2011. Here is last year. Rushing defense: first. Total defense: first. Scoring defense: first. Pass defense: seventh. So take solace in the fact that they are not perfect. The problem for opponents is that the offense is approaching the defense as far as being awesome goes. Their rush offense and scoring offense were second only to Texas A&M in the SEC and the Crimson Tide ranked first nationally in pass efficiency. The return of Heisman candidate A.J. McCarron behind center gives Alabama one of the most reliable passers in the nation. Behind a supremely talented offensive line, with the likes of sophomores Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon, there is no reason to believe this Tide offense will hold the team back even one iota.

For a squad this stacked on both offense and defense, it is hard for opponents to pinpoint weaknesses. Sure Eddie Lacy is gone but T.J. Yeldon may end up being better. Sure McCarron gets no credit for being an elite quarterback; he only tallied a 30:3 touchdown to interception ratio as a junior. Chance Warmack, Dee Milliner, Barrett Jones and others have moved on to the NFL but no team reloads any better than Alabama. Really the only thing these guys were poor at in 2012 was overall passing offense but, as has been established, this was not a reflection of a bad passing game. They were number one in passing efficiency so when they threw, they did it very well. With this much going in the Tide's favor and so much talk about them being unbeatable, their season will really come down to managing expectations and pressure. Coach Saban should be a pro at this as he comes into each and every season with the highest of expectations for himself. But each new year brings at least some new personalities into a locker room and winning is no given, even for a team as talented as Alabama.

The Bottom Line:
Alabama plays Virginia Tech at a neutral site and then travels to Texas A&M in a flurry of a start to the season. They will also obviously face LSU later in the year to see who's the cream of the crop in the conference's west division. As odd as it sounds though for a Southeastern Conference school, Alabama got handed a pretty easy schedule this season. They play eight SEC games, six against the West division schools and two against random East schools. The two teams from the East that UA is playing are Kentucky and Tennessee. That means no Georgia, no Florida, no South Carolina at least until the conference championship. Usually a weakened regular season schedule would hurt a team vying for the BCS title but with Alabama starting as preseason number one, they have no one to hurdle over if they handle their own business.

Projected Bowl: BCS National Championship Game

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 227.50 (16th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 218.00 (75, 8)
Total Offense: 445.50 (31, 4)
Scoring Offense: 38.71 (12, 2)
Rushing Defense: 76.36 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 173.64 (7, 1)
Total Defense: 250.00 (1, 1)
Scoring Defense: 10.93 (1, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (13, 4)
Sacks: 2.50 (28, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.64 (46, 4)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#8 Cyrus Kouandjio
#10 C.J. Mosley
#17 Adrian Hubbard
#23 Trey DePriest
#41 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
#56 A.J. McCarron
#60 Jeoffrey Pagan
#74 Deion Belue
#92 Vinnie Sunseri
#122 Anthony Steen

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#10 Reuben Foster
#12 Jonathan Allen
#20 Alvin Kamara
#22 Derrick Henry
#24 O.J. Howard
#30 Robert Foster
#42 Dee Liner
#44 A'Shawn Robinson
#47 Altee Tenpenny
#69 Grant Hill
#72 Tim Williams
#77 Maurice Smith
#85 Darius Paige
#97 ArDarius Stewart
#105 Cooper Bateman
#107 Tyren Jones
#151 Anthony Averett


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