For the past two years, the Alabama Crimson Tide have not only made it to the National Championship game, but they have won both times. Being the only school in FBS history to complete such a feat, all eyes are on the Tide again at they strive to be the only school in the history of college football to win three straight National Championships. Here are my three reasons why I believe the Crimson Tide will make it to Pasadena, California,to play for their third straight title:
1. Schedule– This season Alabama has a favorable schedule. That being said, the Tide cannot lose a game and still advance to the National Championship game like they’ve done the past 2 years. With five away games this year (Texas A&M being the hardest), the Tide has to execute at away games not only with statistical numbers but with big scores.
Alabama will open up its season against Virginia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. Alabama needs to have a dominant season opener to prove to themselves and to America that the Tide is just as dominant as last year. Also, Alabama has to beat Auburn, Kentucky, and Mississippi State by 15+ points in order to continue on their trek to their 16th National Championship.
As for home games, Alabama is hosting three non-conference games which could negatively affect their strength of schedule rating, but if they can execute to perfection, and potentially have three shutouts, these games could help the Tide. In addition, the Crimson Tide is hosting Tennessee, LSU, Arkansas, and Ole Miss as their home SEC opponents.
Alabama has a fairly difficult home schedule, especially the game against LSU. If there is one thing any SEC fan has learned over the years it’s that once the game starts, it doesn’t matter who is ranked #1 or #100, it just matters who wants it more.
2. Experience– Although the Tide lost several key players on offense this past season, with Nick Saban’s recruiting skills, those positions will be filled with top players. The Tide has faced it all the past few years: great victories and heartbreaking losses. But what separates the Tide from other teams is the experience gained in those wins and losses.
Saban does a fantastic job instilling a humble mindset into his players. If they win, they could have done a few things better, and if they lose, they could have done a lot of things better. His players have learned to take each game one at a time and not focus on trying to get to Pasadena. Instead, they focus on being the best team they can be during each game. I feel that the lessons they have learned the past two seasons will help them make it to Pasadena.
3. Coaching– Although the Tide has made some transitions on the coaching staff this season, Alabama doesn’t have anything to worry about. Doug Nussmeier (from the University of Washington) replaced Jim McElwain last year and did a wonderful job his first year. Mario Christobal (from the University of Miami) was hired this year as the offensive line coach. Greg Brown (from University of Colorado) was hired as the new secondary coach.
After Bear Bryant and before Nick Saban, there were many years when fans would worry during the offseason about the upcoming season. But now there is a sense of peace and confidence in Tuscaloosa. Fans now know what it’s like to trust your head coach to execute in all areas in the program, and that’s exactly what he has done.