Rant Sports College Football Top 100: No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
As rare as it might be there’s no reason why Alabama should not be favored to win their third straight BCS National Title in 2013. The Crimson Tide have the chance to make history by winning their fourth national title in five seasons and with the talent they have returning, to go along with a favorable schedule, it’s easy to see them playing in the Rose Bowl on January 6.
One thing that will always put a coach’s mind at ease during the offseason is knowing that he has a talented and experienced quarterback returning to lead the offense. However, it’s not often that the quarterback also boasts two national championships to his name. Head coach Nick Saban has nothing to worry about in the quarterback department with senior AJ McCarron coming back for a shot at another championship. Last season McCarron proved that he was not just a game manager by putting up almost 3,000 yards passing to go along with an impressive 30-3 touchdown to interception ratio. McCarron is primed to have his best season yet as a senior and he’ll have plenty of talent to work with once again.
It seems like every year Alabama loses a top-talent running back just to have another workhorse step in and not miss a beat. That will once again be the case in 2013. The Tide lose Eddie Lacy to the NFL but sophomore TJ Yeldon returns and he only posted a 1,108 yard and 12 TD season as a freshman. Bama once again has their next NFL-caliber back in Yeldon and with more carries this season he could be a darkhorse Heisman trophy candidate.
At receiver the Tide are stock full of playmakers. Amari Cooper burst onto the scene as a freshman, finishing the season with 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He became McCarron’s favorite target and should once again receive top-billing. Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones return as well as Kenny Bell, who is coming off an injury, to form one of the top groups in the conference.
The only question mark Alabama has on the offensive side of the ball is the line upfront. They replace three starters this season but it’s not something they haven’t had to do before without seeing success. In 2009 they were faced with the same dilemma and not only did they increase their average rushing yards per game from the season before but they went on to win that year’s BCS National Championship. Alabama will hope for similar results this season with only Cyrus Kouandjio and Anthony Steen coming back.
Alabama loses three key guys from the defensive line but they have plenty of talented players right behind them ready to fill the void. Jeoffrey Pagan, Brandon Ivory and LaMichael Fanning join the only veteran of the group in senior Ed Stinson. There shouldn’t be too much drop off from the production they saw last season but this group needs to create a more consistent pass rush this year.
At the second level, the Tide boast the best linebacking unit in the entire country. CJ Mosley is the clear headliner of the group after leading the team in tackles last season while earning a first team All-American selection. Mosley is the stud in the group but the other guys aren’t anything to scoff at. Juniors Adrian Hubbard, Trey DePriest and Xzavier Dickson join Mosley to form, not only one of the most experienced units in the country, but the most formidable.
The secondary is littered with a combination of veteran playmakers and promising up-and-comers. Senior Deion Belue and juniors Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri make up the returning starters while sophomores Geno Smith and Landon Collins represent the talented youngsters. Overall, this group figures to be just as good as last year’s group but with even more experience.
As was mentioned at the beginning of the article, Alabama has a pretty favorable schedule in 2013. For starters, they avoid the big three teams from the SEC East. Beyond that their schedule seems to set up perfectly each week. The Tide open with an interesting game against Virginia Tech in Atlanta but then they get a bye week before their big game at Texas A&M. With a week off to prepare, not to mention they will be seeking revenge for their lone loss last season, they have more than a good chance at taking care of the Aggies. If they can get past A&M, which they should, it will be smooth sailing until November when they have another bye week before hosting LSU. Overall, this team is stronger than the 2012 version and they are capable of proving it by winning an unprecedented fourth title in five years.