5 reasons Alabama will win the national championship
When it comes to Alabama football, people are witnessing one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. They are constantly in the mix to win it all, and this season will be no different.
Here are five reasons why the Tide will win it all in 2017.
1. The schedule is relatively easy
The Crimson Tide open up with Florida State — which will be ranked somewhere in the top 5 nationally. While Alabama has played some tough opponents to open up the season, this might be their biggest challenge under Saban.
There’s good news, however. If they can make it past the Seminoles, things should lighten up from there. They get to play Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU at home, where a Saban-led Alabama program has never lost by more than seven points.
Having to play Auburn at Jordan-Hare stadium is never easy, but the Tide should get to rest up the week before with a home game against Mercer.
When looking to the SEC East, there isn’t one team that stands out above the rest. More than likely, Alabama would face off against Florida or Georgia if it makes it to the SEC championship game. Both teams have talent, but the Tide would more than likely be a heavy favorite over either.
Playing in the SEC never provides an easy road to the national championship, but the stars might have aligned perfectly to give Alabama an easier path than expected.
2. The run game
Alabama has made five appearances in the national championship game over the last decade. In the five seasons where they made the big game, these have been their rankings among college football’s top rushing offenses:
- 2009: 12th
- 2011: 16th
- 2012: 16th
- 2015: 32nd
- 2016: 12th
That means that they’ve averaged having the 18th (17.6 to be exact) best rushing offense during those seasons. Now, let’s look at the five seasons in which they didn’t make it to the championship:
- 2007: 56th
- 2008: 30th
- 2010: 30th
- 2013: 25th
- 2014 :37th
When compared, the Crimson Tide didn’t even average a run game in the top 30 (35.6) in years they weren’t participating in college football’s last game of the season. Alabama is clearly at it’s best when it fields one of the nation’s top rushing attacks, which means that Alabama will once again be in the mix.
The Tide returns their top four rushers from 2016, a group that contributed to a run game that was ranked 12th nationally — tied for highest that it has been under Nick Saban. On top of that, they also added 5-star RB Najee Harris, who has the potential to be the best ball-carrier that has ever played at Alabama.
When you include Jalen Hurts’ ability with his legs, Alabama should yet again have one of the nation’s elite rushing attacks. That bodes well for their chances of winning another national championship. Speaking of Hurts …
3. Jalen Hurts
When you have a quarterback who can consistently make game-changing plays, life seems to get a lot easier. It makes things easier for the rest of the offense, and it makes things easier for the defense as well.
Hurts has the ability to carry this Alabama team to another national championship. After throwing for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns as a true freshman, Hurts looks poised to build on those numbers as he enters his sophomore season. He showed tremendous improvement on his deep ball in the A-Day game in April, which only makes him more lethal moving forward.
In addition to his impressive statistics through the air, Hurts also added 954 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. It wouldn’t be surprising to see those numbers take a dip to keep him better protected from injury, but that doesn’t mean the threat won’t constantly be on the minds of opposing defenses.
With Hurts having a year of experience — and an entire offseason as the starter — under his belt, he should become one of the premier players in college football.
4. The talent level
There isn’t a more talented team in the country from top to bottom than Alabama. For the seventh consecutive year, the Tide finished with the No. 1 recruiting class according to 247Sports.
Not only does Alabama bring in premium talent, they also do an excellent job of addressing their needs. Following last season, the offensive line lost All-America left tackle Cam Robinson to the NFL. They countered that loss by bringing in two 5-star tackles — Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills — in addition to signing the No. 1 JUCO OT, Elliot Baker.
The team lost defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson, and what did the Tide do? They signed 5-star DE LaBryan Ray, 4-star DT Phidarian Mathis and the No. 1 JUCO DE, Isaiah Buggs. It’s like that at almost every position, and that only helps to ensure that the team is never having to rebuild at any position.
Position-by-position, it’s hard to compete with the depth that Alabama has in any given year. That makes them a favorite to win the national championship in 2017 — and every other year for that matter.
5. Nick Saban
When is the last time that you stopped and really admired what Saban has done during his time at Alabama? In case you forgot, let’s take a look at some of his statistics since 2007.
- 119-19 record (86.2 win percentage)
- 5 SEC championships
- 5 national championship appearances
- 4 national championships
- 43 All-Americans
- 22 first-round NFL draft picks
- 7 consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes
Saban has produced more first-round NFL picks (22) than he has losses (19) at Alabama. If you exclude his first season, his win percentage jumps from 86.2 percent to 89.6. There is little doubt that what he has built in Tuscaloosa will never be replicated.
Any success that Alabama has starts at the top, and at this point, Nick Saban doesn’t seem ready to give up his position in this game of thrones. The Tide’s national championship hopes are clearly in great hands.