The Tide keeps on rolling with back to back National Championships and owners of 3 of the last 4 crystal footballs. Alabama was on track to a perfect season in 2013, until SEC newcomer Texas A&M Aggies came into town with eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. In 2013, the Tide defense allowed an average of 10.9 points per game. Offensively, Bama averaged 38.7 points per game, 12th best nationally. Alabama had 9 Players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, 3 in the first round. 4 of those players from the vaunted Defense. Quarterback A.J McCarron and 7 other seniors return for their final season with the Tide with their eyes on a 3rd straight crystal trophy in their sights. Can or will anyone get in their way?
8/31 Virginia Tech
Give credit to the Tide for one thing, they aren’t afraid to open the season with a big game. Since 2008, the Tide has opened the season with games against Clemson, Michigan and in 2013 will have faced VaTech twice. All those opponents have a lot in common as well… they all got slaughtered. VaTech is coming off of a 7-6 season with the only wins vs. GaTech, Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Duke, Boston College (in OT), Virginia and Rutgers (in OT). They were 0-2 vs. teams in the Top 25. The Hokies will face the best defensive team in the country after coming off a season where their offense was 83rd best in the country with an average of 25.1 points. In 2009, Tide rolled over the Hokies 34-24. As I recall, it really wasn’t much of a game. It won’t be much of a game in 2013 either. Tide by 20.
9/7 OPEN DATE
9/14 @ Texas A&M
Nick Saban will probably go out of his way to tell that the Tide is not seeking revenge for the super upset the Aggies managed on the Tide holy ground in 2012. This will probably be considered the game of the year. The Aggies had two warm up games versus Rice and Sam Houston St before the Tide roll into Kyle Field. But after a date with Virginia Tech in Atlanta to open the season, the Tide have a week off to prepare for Sumlin and Manziel. They have a week off to remember how the Aggies nearly ruined the Tides chances at repeating as national champions. The Aggies aren’t going to surprise or sneak up on anyone, especially Nick Saban. You can bet Saban and his cronies will have put extra focus on the Aggies in the film room this summer. Johnny IShouldntTweet will be looking for another statement win on his path to repeat as Heisman winner. You don’t beat Nick Saban two years in a row, but the Aggies will keep things interesting with a fired up 12th man. Tide roll by 7.
9/21 Colorado State
Former Tide Offensive Coordinator Jim Mcelwain returns as head coach of a Colorado State team who went 4-8 in his first season. Their dismal offense averaged 21.2 points per game and their defense allowed 30.3 points per game. Because of Mcelwain’s familiarity with Saban and the Tide you might think that the Rams might make things a bit interesting.. until you realize that all of CSU’s losses came by double digits. McElwain may urge the Rams to a better season than last… but not enough to even scare the Tide. Bama by 30.
9/28 Ole Miss
Freeze’s first season a head Rebel ended with a 7-6 record, but 0-4 vs. teams in the Top 25. The Rebel wins came against Central Arkansas, UTEP, Tulane, Auburn, Arkansas, Miss. State and Pittsburgh. While some of those names may look impressive… most of those teams were just awful. By this point in the season, Ole Miss will have faced @Vandy, SE Missouri State, and @Texas before hitting the road again to Tuscaloosa. In 2012, they allowed an average of 27.6 points and put up 31.5 points per game. Freeze has recruited well and you have to think he has the team and momentum going into the right direction with perhaps with only one loss on the board. I’m afraid the Rebels still have a bit of building to do before they reach Baima’s level. Bama by 17.
10/5 Georgia State
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The starters will be warming the bench by halftime. Bama by 30 (perhaps bazillion).
To say Kentucky had a bad season in 2012, would be quite the understatement. As a result, Joker Phillips is out and now coaching the WR for THE FLORIDA GATORS, and replaced with Mark Stoops of Stoops brothers fame and former FSUcks Defensive Coordinator. So the team whose was 119th in the nation 2012 is going to face the #1 defensive team in the country from the same year. While Stoops has recruited well… it’s gonna take a while before Ky will even become competitive especially against a team like the Tide. Bama by 20.
Welcome to the SEC Big Talkin Bret Bielema. Its no doubt that Bielema helped establish the Badgers as a power in the B1G with a few trips to the Rose Bowl. He takes over the Hogs after a dismal and very tumultuous season. Bielema has a little bit of a rebuilding job to do at Arkansas before they will be relevant again. He will need a few recruiting cycles to get those big ole nasty lineman he likes to use in place and QB Brandon Allen will likely need a season under Jim Chaney to get the offense rolling. Arkansas will have faced Louisiana, Samford, Southern Miss, @Rutgers, Texas A&M, @Florida, South Carolina before facing the Tide and likely a few games shy of becoming bowl eligible. But they won’t be any closer after this week. Bama by 17.
This isn’t just a normal clash of SEC cross divisional foes. There is a certain amount of vitriol in this rivalry due to certain dramatic events that stubbed the Tides toe for a few years. Since 2008, Tennessee has gone 0-5 and lost by an average of 23 points to Bama. In 2012, the Vawls went 5-7 and 0-5 vs. Top 25 teams. The only SEC victory came at the hands of equally dismal Kentucky. Those losses didn’t happen because they can’t score points. The Vols averaged 36.2 points per game, but that was with Tyler Bray under center and Justin Hunter out there catching passes. Both are gone to the NFL. The Vols woes were due to the fact that they couldn’t stop anyone allowing an average of 35.7 points last year. It wasn’t much of a surprise that Derek Dooley was ousted, and eventually replaced by Butch Jones from Cincinnati. Let’s face it….Butch was not their first, second, third and probably even fourth choice and the Vols also have a lot of rebuilding to do. Vols don’t have the firepower or defense to even come close to stopping this Tide team. Bama by 24.
11/2 OPEN DATE
The NFL Scout Combine part 5. Bama and LSU has become a greater rivalry than Bama and Auburn. Sorry Iron Bowl fans… its true. Face it. It’s not even close anymore. Since 2008, Bama only has the edge in this series by 1 win and the winning score only by an average of 5 points. It’s possible this game decides who will represent the west in the SEC Championship Game and perhaps the National Championship game. LSU lost to THE FLORIDA GATORS, Bama and Clemson (in the Bible Thumper Bowl) in 2012. LSU welcomes Cam Cameron as the new Offensive Coordinator and improve the Tiger offense. Bama will have a week off again before having to face another major SEC west opponent and second of their biggest threats to take them down. This year LSU has to travel to Tuscaloosa… but the Tigers aren’t scared of that road trip. It was the Tigers who upset Bama on their home turf in overtime in 2006 only to go on and lose in the National Championship game in big time fashion in LSU’s back yard. This may be a bit of a slug fest again for Bama… and I think the Tigers and the Mad Hatter will have a few tricks up their sleeve. LSU squeaks out a win in OT by 3.
11/16 @Miss. State
By this point in the season, it is quite possible that every team, including Alabama has at least 1 loss and struggling to keep their lock on the BCS National Championship scene. Luckily for Bama though, they get a 3 game stretch to make up for their loss to LSU with a few stop to Starkville to face the cowbells. Hopefully their head won’t be ringing, but if any coach can get a team refocused, it’s Saban. Since 2008, Bulldogs-West have lost to the Tide by an average of 24 points. Even with players departed to the NFL, Miss State is still outmatched. Bama by 28.
See Georgia State… only multiply by like a bazillion.
Malzahn was the last offensive coordinator at Auburn to lead the WarKitties to a win over the Tide. In his 3 year stint as OC at Auburn, they lost by 5, won by 1, and lost by 28 (after losing Cam Newton and a slew of other talent to the NFL). Then Gus departed for a year long stint at Arkansas State before returning, this time as the Head Coach. His first game as head coach in the Iron Bowl will take place a few miles away in Tuscaloosa. By this point in the season they will have faced Washington State, Arkansas State, Miss. State, @LSU, Ole Miss, Western Carolina, @Texas A&M, Fla Intl, @Arkansas, @Tennessee, UGAly before facing their bitter in state rival. The Tigers are better suited and staffed for Malzahns offense but still have a bit of building to do. By this point, Malzahn should know what he has to work with and gotten the kinks worked out. Malzahn knows how to use the best of what he has. I think Auburn may battle for a while in this game… .but the second half will be too much. Bama by 17.
After winning back to back National Championships… it’s safe to say that expectations in Bama are probably beyond astronomical. 11-1 in the regular season for most teams would be somewhat acceptable… but not for this team. Not for Saban. The only questions now are… does that 1 loss knock them out of contention for the SEC and National Championship games?