PST Contributor: Des Boodram
Date: August 2nd, 2016,
The of Alabama have lost roughly half their starters from last season’s National Championship team, but is there reason for concern in Tuscaloosa?
This really is par for the course for Nick Saban and company, as he has grown accustomed to losing players after two or three seasons. The cupboard is seldom bare and replenished every season as college football fans have learned over the last several years. Rest assured Alabama will be fielding a team that can not only win the SEC, but will be in the National Championship discussion until they prove they shouldn’t be in the National Championship discussion.
It’s certainly tough to watch All SEC players like Derrick Henry, Reggie Ragland, and Cyrus Jones leave for the NFL, but the incoming class will make fans forget about what once was, and think about what is to be, even if what once was, was in fact a National Championship.
As alluded to earlier, Alabama will take the field every week as a top ranked program in the country, but with rise of other programs like LSU, Tennessee and Georgia careful thought should be given to the personnel Alabama is going to roll out, and where there may be weaknesses.
QB BATTLE BREWING IN TIDE COUNTRY?
Offensively the QB battle will be one to watch, but not as mission critical as it is with other teams. Whoever wins the QB battle between Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, David Cornwell and Jalen Hurts simply needs to be a game manager, since no one is expecting much from them anyways. Protect the football, and let your defense take it from there, as Alabama has a history of winning National Championships with QBs that do NOT play on Sundays….
It really is remarkable and this season will be no different.
What Alabama does have is a superstar left tackle in Cam Robinson that will anchor a top rated O-line, which will have no problem protecting the QB and opening holes in the running game. National Championship game hero TE OJ Howard also returns, along with star receiver Calvin Ridley and Bo Scarbrough who will be the next big time running back for the Crimson Tide. The pieces are there, Alabama just needs to effectively manage the QB position.
Defensively this team, although losing some major pieces should be all right though they will need players on every level to step up. If Alabama rolls out their 3-4 defense again they will need to replace three starting LBs from last year’s team, which means players like Reuben Foster and Tim Williams with his 10.5 sacks from last year will need to fill-in and dominate.
5-star recruit Da’Shawn Hand will need to step up on the D-line to fill some holes, but the expectation is that he’ll be coached up and ready to go along with Dalvin Tomlinson and Jonathan Allen at the end position.
The Secondary should be good to go with minimal turnover and the defensive unit as a whole should be as stout as usual.
Who will beat Alabama this season?
There’s no reason to complicate something that should be very simple. Alabama should be able handle their schedule including the season opener against USC (Trojans) in Arlington, TX. They have two extremely slippery games at Tennessee and at LSU, which should be enough to put a blemish on their schedule.
The Crimson Tide have an off week before the LSU game which could be their saving grace, but the stars haven’t aligned this well for LSU in years.
Look for Alabama to finish this season with one single solitary loss, while getting away with a close one in Tennessee. Roll Tide!!
The Alabama Crimson Tide are a -10.5 point favorite in week 1 vs. Soutern Cal. Get your week 1 college football odds in our daily lines section.