Can Alabama Crimson Tide Overcome Odds Stacked Against Them?

By Tim Letcher
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Alabama Crimson Tide will try to make even more history in 2013, but the numbers say that it will be tough for Nick Saban and crew to three-peat as BCS National Champions this season.

Sure, the Tide has a ton of talent back for 2013. A.J. McCarron will be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference again this fall. T.J. Yeldon blossomed last season while playing behind Eddie Lacy, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be even better this season. Wide receiver Amari Cooper developed a chemistry with McCarron last season when he led the Tide in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

So, why in the world would anyone think that Alabama wouldn’t be hoisting the crystal trophy at the end of this season? The law of averages could be the reason.

Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, no team had ever repeated as national champions until Alabama did it last season. In fact, no team since the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 1994 and ’95 had repeated as college football champions.

Winning three in a row in this era would be taking that success just one step further. According to the official NCAA website, no team has won three straight college football national championships since the Minnesota Golden Gophers did it from 1934 through 1936.

The Tide may see that their success could work against them in another way. Alabama is likely to be the preseason number one team in the country when the coaches’ poll is released this fall. Since the beginning of the BCS Era, only two preseason number ones have gone on to win the BCS Championship (the Florida State Seminoles in 1999 and the USC Trojans in 2004).

Another interesting thing to watch is Saban’s success rate at Alabama. The head coach has won four BCS national championships, and will be vying for another this season. Former Alabama head coach and legend Paul “Bear” Bryant holds the record, in the poll era (since 1936) with six national championships. How will Saban be treated by Alabama fans and alumni as he approaches one of the immortal Bear’s records?

None of these numbers affect what happens on the field. By the end of the season, Alabama is likely to be adding to its trophy case, because the Tide appear to have the best team in the country once again this season. But believers in the law of averages, as well as football fans from schools other than Alabama, are looking for a glimmer of hope in the Crimson Tidal Wave currently occurring in college football.

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