SEC Championship talk: The case for Alabama

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SDS will be taking a look at the six main contenders in the SEC for 2013. Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina headline the conference. Next up, Alabama.

Championship Talk

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama returns once again with a loaded roster, the most favorable schedule in the SEC and the machine driving it all, Nick Saban. In fact, there’s not much to dislike. Saban has the program on autopilot and somehow finds a way to keep his players hungry and motivated. The drop off between Alabama and the SEC’s second best team isn’t as wide as the gap between the SEC and everyone else. In their three toughest games of 2012 – LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia, the Tide lost one and easily could have lost the other two. But the mark of great teams is getting the job done, right? The Tide enter 2013 looking for a three-peat.

Why they will

1. Schedule: It sets up perfectly. Give Nick Saban bye weeks before Texas A&M and LSU, and he has a distinct advantage. Tennessee and Kentucky come calling in the East. Years where teams have favorable schedules, they have to take advantage of it, and this is one of the most favorable schedules in quite some time.

Related: How does Alabama’s 2014 schedule compare?

2. Nick Saban: Mr. Process is the driving force behind the dynasty in Tuscaloosa. Is he the best coach in the 144-year history of college football? That’s debatable. He can take his best team and beat your team. Then, he can turn around and take your team and beat his best team with them. That’s how much of a factor he is, and what he’s doing in a time where college football has so much parity all within the golden age of the SEC is remarkable.

3. Loaded roster: The Tide have four- and five-star caliber players at every position, but that alone doesn’t win games – development does. There’s speed, size, athleticism and experience all over the field. Between CJ Mosley and AJ McCarron, they aren’t going to let this team get the big head. McCarron, TJ Yeldon and Amari Cooper lead the offense, while Mosley, Ed Stinson and HaHa Clinton-Dix will lead a reloaded defense.

Why they won’t

1. Complacency: Alabama’s biggest opponent is Alabama. But with so much success comes entitlement. Players stepping into starting roles woke up on third base without knowing how they got to first. Complacency is a disease for a football program, and Alabama will fight against itself the entire year.

2. Vulnerability: The two main roster concerns for the Tide entering the season are the offensive line and the secondary. The O-line replaces three starters, including the most decorated linemen in BCS history Barrett Jones. DJ Fluker and Chance Warmack were All-Americans, and it won’t be easy to just plug and place other linemen. But the biggest concern is the defensive secondary. Not only do the Tide replace two starters, but how good is Deion Belue? Clinton-Dix is an All-SEC caliber safety, but the Tide are vulnerable to vertical passing teams. They’ll see three of them in 2013 – Texas A&M, LSU and the SEC East winner. Johnny Manziel exploited it last year, and Mettenberger had success, too.

Photo Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • Last year I don’t think Bama struggled With the passing Game as a whole as much as they struggled against slot Receivers Running slants right over the Middle. This year should be better since we actually have 3 decent CB which will help alot. Even though one Geno Smith will be out at least one game if not more for violating (dui) so hopefully someone else will step up during the v tech game

    • I can name multiple instances where Bama gave up big yards from outside WRs – Michigan, Georgia, Texas A&M, I could go on. Bama’s weakness wasn’t slot WRs running slant patterns over the middle – that’s too easy if a problem to fix. And you say this year that Bama will “actually have 3 decent CB?” So Milliner, Belue, and Smith/Fulton weren’t adequate? Alabama’s success mainly depends on staying healthy. Sure, the CBs might be a little green, but I trust that Saban will produce. And yes, the Offensive line, by all reports, still needs work to be done, but they are still very talented. I think for the first time in years, Alabama’s offense will be able to match the defense in talent and production. From a skills position point, Alabama is blessed with a multitude of weapons, which presents major obstacles in defensive preparation. On the defense, Alabama might have the best overall front 7 in the conference. Overall, the secondary is talented. HaHa Clinton Dix and Vinnie Sunseri are both at safety, with highly touted recruit Landon Collins working at the “money” position – deadly trio.

      • Yeah I’m not so sure Bama secondary was realy a weakness at all. When you’re lining up against offenses like TAMU and UGA…theyre gonna have some success. I don’t care how good ya are. Nebraska came into the bowl game with “the best pass defense in the nation” statistically and just got shredded. In fact I’m pretty sure Bama had the number 1 pass defense in the SEC (statistically)

      • guess it’s just a matter of opinion but every time Bama’s d struggled.on pass imo was on nickel back slants(for example the western Kentucky game) what little success they had was t there

        • that’s a pretty good observation…perhaps that is what Saban is willing to give..because ya can’t just shut down everybody.

  • Texas A&M is going to get annihilated against Bama. It won’t be pretty.

    • Bama is going to get annihilated against Texas A&M. It won’t be pretty.

      • Step up, Timothy. “Annihilated” against Texas A&M. How many points qualifies as an “annihilat(ion)” in your educated opinion. I’ll take all you want, be a man, don’t get scared. You said it, now back it up. 10K enuff for you? Name your price, genius.

        • Look up the comment chain. its a reversal of the previously stupid comment, which is why it was a stupid comment. Take your panties off your head and put them back on. The game is decided by a touchdown or less.

  • The only way I think Bama gets into any kind of trouble during the regular season is if:
    A: Injuries up front
    B. They get behind late or are forced into more 3rd and longs… Throwing into the teeth of an sec D in obvious passing situations is a little more difficult. This is just something that they haven’t had to do an awful lot of before.