Returning Starters – Offense: 4 Defense: 7
Preview: Under head coach Nick Saban the Alabama program has come to the point where if they don’t win the National Title it seems like a disappointing season. That was the case this past year as Alabama went 12-1 during the regular season to earn the top overall seed in the Final Four of the college playoff. The Tide fell to eventual champion Ohio State in the Semifinals by a final of 35-42.
Alabama isn’t expected to lose a step this season despite needing to replace key contributors on both sides of the ball. The luxury for Alabama since they recruit well every year is they have guys ready to step up when the veterans move on to the NFL. Alabama has to replace their QB, top three receivers, and top RB from last season. Alabama seems set at QB with either Coker or Cornwell taking the job. WR has reloaded again with former top recruits Black and Foster ready to step up. The known commodity coming back is RB Derrick Henry who should shoulder a lot of the carries throughout the season. The O-line returns 2 starters with guys ready to take on larger roles.
Alabama is likely to be a work in progress on offense with so many new faces, but the defense should carry the team to another successful campaign. Alabama’s front seven is loaded with depth and talent. The Tide return standout players like Robinson, Reed, and Allen on the line along with LBs Ragland, Collins, and Foster. The secondary was the weakness of the defense late last season and the safety position has to replace 2 starters. Corner has a bevy of returning players with starting experience but will look to have better results this season.
Prediction: Alabama can be penciled in as a double digit winning team every season as long as Saban sticks around. The Tide went 12-2 last season and we could certainly see a similar result this year despite the team needing to replace a lot of talent on offense. The defense is likely to carry the squad through their first two contests of the year, but playing Ole Miss in week three will be a tough test for the offense. I see potentially two SEC losses for the Tide given their brutally tough schedule which could make it tough to get back to the Final Four.
Projected Record: 10-2 (6-2)