The 2012 college football season is just days away. As it draws nearer, Rant Sports will analyze every SEC team using different statistics in its By The Numbers series. In this edition, we profile the reigning national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
13.9: The average number of points allowed per game by Alabama over the past five seasons. Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is a defensive genius and the numbers show it. The 13.9 points allowed to opponents per game over the last five years is the lowest in Division 1 college football. The Tide will be without DE Courtney Upshaw, LB Dont’a Hightower, S Mark Barron, and CB Dre Kirkpatrick on defense this year, meaning this year’s defense will feature younger faces that are new to the spotlight. However, even if his defense is young, Nick Saban will have his team ready to compete at an elite level.
7: The number of rushing touchdowns by running back Eddie Lacy in 2011. Lacy only saw 95 rushing attempts last season behind Trent Richardson but made the most out of them, rushing for 674 yards and seven touchdowns. Though it was a small sample size, Eddie Lacy averaged 7.1 yards per run for the Alabama Crimson Tide last season, a number that should easily excite Alabama fans. He will be the bell cow in this year’s model of Alabama’s offense and will easily top over 1,000 yards rushing this season. Expect Lacy to continue in the footsteps of his predecessors, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
17: The number of receptions by the Tide’s leading wide receiver returnee, Kenny Bell, in 2011. Just as the defense lost a large part of its personnel, the pass-catching corps at Alabama were depleted after last season. The team lost Marquis Maze, Brad Smelley, and Darius Hanks, who together totaled 111 receptions for 1,311 yards and 6 touchdowns. If those numbers do not display how much those three players meant to the Alabama Crimson Tide passing attack, look at those numbers compared to the 2011 stats of quarterback A.J. McCarron. The trio accounted for roughly 51% of McCarron’s completions and 50% of the total yards he threw for. A lot of pressure will be on Kenny Bell, who is the leading returnee in yards and receptions. Bell will have the help of Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones this season but they will have to develop quickly to match the numbers of their former teammates. If not, Eddie Lacy will become a true workhorse for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Chris Lionetti covers the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as a College Football Writer for Rant Sports
Follow him on twitter at: @ChrisLionetti