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2013 Pre-Season Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

2012 Record: 13-1 (7-1 in SEC; SEC Champion, National Champion)

Head Coach: Nick Saban (68-13 at Alabama, 159-55-1 All-Time)

Four Year Trend: 12.25 wins and 1.25 losses per season

Last Bowl Game: 2013 BCS NCG: beat Notre Dame 42-14

Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL (capacity = 101,821)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 6th out of 69 BCS teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Out of Conference: 8/31 vs Virginia Tech, 9/21 vs Colorado State, 10/5 vs Georgia State, 11/23 vs Chattanooga

Toughest Conference Home Game: 11/9 vs LSU

Toughest Conference Road Game: 9/14 at Texas A&M

 

Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stats to Cheer: converted on 47.9% of third downs (2nd in SEC), scored TDs on 74.19% of red zone trips (2nd in SEC), held opponents to 32.11% on third down conversions (3rd in SEC)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 1st out of 124 teams

 

Personnel:

Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 6, Defense: 7, Special Teams: 1

Key Defensive Returnees: LB CJ Mosley (107 tackles), LB Trey DePreist (59 tackles), LB Adrian Hubbard (41 tackles, 7 sacks), S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (37 tackles, 4 INT), S Vinnie Sunseri (54 tackles)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB AJ McCarron (2933 yds pass, 67.2% completions, 30 TD, 3 INT), RB TJ Yeldon (1108 yds rush, 6.33 ypc, 12 TD), WR Amari Cooper (58 rec, 11 TD), OT Cyrus Kouandijio

 
 
 
Verdict:
 
What do you do for a follow-up after you've won three National Championships in four years? Alabama just seems to keep reloading no matter who they lose. This year should be no different as they head into the season as the favorites to win the National Championship for an unprecedented third straight season.
 
The offense should continue to prosper with the only slight concern being reloading the offensive line. AJ McCarron returns at QB and the only real issue could be the depth behind him as his back-up threw just five pass last year. The RB corps is absolutely stocked even with the loss of Eddie Lacy. TJ Yeldon was an impact player as a freshman and he's joined by Kenyan Drake, Dee Hart and Jalston Fowler. Did I mention that the Crimson Tide also landed four, yes four, of the best RB prospects from the 2013 class? Amari Cooper broke out last year and he returns this season along with Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones and Kenny Bell. The only question-mark in this group is who will replace TE Michael Williams. The OL must replace two first round draft picks and Barrett Jones. That's a lot to lose and they go from having the best offensive line in the country to what both Athlon and Phil Steele rank as the fourth best in the conference. If the offense does take a step back it will be here along the line.
 
The defense allowed just 10.9 ppg last year. They only gave up more than twenty twice and that was to two of the best offensive teams in the country, Texas A&M and Georgia. On the line, the Tide lose three of their top five players in Quinton Dial, Jesse Williams and Damion Square. There will be plenty of opportunity for youngsters to contribute here. The LB corps replaces just Nico Johnson. C.J. Mosley, Trey Depriest, Adrian Hubbard and Xzavier Dickson all return and LB will be a strength again for the Tide. The secondary must replace first round draft pick Dee Milliner and starting safety Robert Lester but there is more than enough talent here with Ha-Ha Dix, Vinnie Sunseri, Deion Blue, Landon Collins and Geno Smith. If there is a weakness here it is at corner especially with the suspension of Smith. 
 
The schedule works out very nicely for the Tide as they get Kentucky and Tennessee from the East so they once again avoid Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The big game for the Tide will be on Sept 14th when they travel to Texas A&M. This is a concern because the defense will be reloading and this is an early season game. On the flip side, you know that Nick Saban has been obsessing about this game ever since the season ended. On this schedule, it's really tough seeing the Tide lose to anybody other than A&M and LSU. The real test, other than those two games, will come in the SEC Championship game as the top-half of the East is getting closer and closer to getting back on the level with the West and we saw that last season in the SEC Championship Game. Put your money on the Tide for the regular season but the odds are against them to repeat as National Champion.
 
Prediction: 12-0
 
 

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:

The American-  Cincinnati,  HoustonLouisville,  Memphis,  Rutgers,  SMUTempleUCFUConnUSF

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section, This Given Sunday and Crossover Chronicles

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