Published August 22, 2013 - 9:45amNEW: Follow on facebook -
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.
- Texas A&M Aggies
- South Carolina Gamecocks
- LSU Tigers
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Florida Gators
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.
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