If a team wins a championship during the midst of a pandemic where there’s hardly any fans in stands, players are being withheld from play, and nothing whatsoever about the season could be described as normal does it really count?
Many would say no! Alabama, on the other hand, emphatically believes their championship counts. But even if you scoff at the Tide winning the zombie season national title umm they’re probably going to win the title again this year. Life is still pain. We all die. Alabama continues to kick ass. Eat at Arby’s.
Alabama Crimson Tide
2020: 13-0 (10-0 SEC) National Champions (allegedly)
2021 S&P+ Projection: 1st
2021 Recruiting: 1st
Head Coach: Nick Saban (170-23, 15th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill O’Brien
Defensive Coordinator: Pete Golding
Good Lord look at that record. Saban’s won 88 percent of his games at Alabama, has made the College Football Playoff in six of the seven years of its existence and is 9-3 in CFP games.
It doesn’t matter who is on his coaching staff nor who is on his roster, the Crimson Machine won’t stop for as long as Nick Saban’s at the controls. Saban at Alabama is Death and, as Beric said to Jon Snow in Game of Thrones “Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last. The enemy always wins, and we still need to fight him.”
Is Alabama losing a lot from last season’s team? Yes. Will it end up mattering? Probably not because the Tide brought in the No. 1 recruiting class this spring, their eighth in a 10-year span.
So who are these new faces we need to get familiar with? For starters, there’s sophomore quarterback Bryce Young who is the No. 20 prospect all time according to 247. That’s right, Saban’s had a quarterback go in the first round of the past two drafts and he might have his best one yet on hand. I hate it here!
Saban, always on the recruiting trail, casually mentioned at SEC Media Days that Young has been cashing in on the new NIL world we’re living in. Young, per Saban, is close to “seven figures” in endorsement money. And it’s money well earned because while Matt Corral may be the preseason’s best quarterback in the SEC, I fully expect Young to be a Heisman finalist come December.
Bama has the unenviable position of trying to replace Najee Harris, who leaves as the program’s all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer. There’s a trio of returning backs vying to pick up the mantle and the leader in the clubhouse seems to be redshirt senior Brian Robinson Jr. Robinson scored 12 total touchdowns last season, six on the ground and six receiving, and averaged five yards a touch on 91 carries.
If it’s not Robinson, then perhaps one of Jace McClellan, Roydell Williams or Trey Sanders can stake their claim as the bellcow back. McClellan was the No. 6 running back in the 2020 cycle, Williams was right behind him at No. 9 in the cycle, and Sanders was the No. 1 back in 2019. Sanders has had injuries derail his career so far. An ankle injury in 2019’s fall camp ended his freshman season, and injuries suffered in a car accident last season ended his sophomore campaign. And hey if none of those guys are up to the challenge don’t worry because the Tide signed five-star running back Camar Wheaton.
Out wide John Metchie gets his chance to shine after being buried behind four first rounders (Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and Jerry Jeudy). I found this clip of Metchie lighting up a Florida DB in the SEC championship game with Jim Ross on the call for you wrasslin fans out there.
Slade Bolden, out of West Monroe, looks to be the leading slot receiver option and our friends at RollBamaRoll have the No. 2 spot as a battle between Xavier Williams and Javon Baker. Alabama also signed three of the top-six receivers in last year’s class Jacorey Brooks, Agiye Hall, and JoJo Earle who infamously flipped to Alabama from LSU during the early signing period.
Along the offensive line Alabama once again has studs at all five positions and it’s headlined by Evan Neal; Neal looks to assume the left tackle job and is a lock to be a top-five pick in next April’s draft. The Tide also continued to bolster the offensive line at recruiting, an area that LSU hasn’t come close to competing at. Just this year alone Bama signed:
- The No. 1 offensive tackle per the 247 Composite
- The No. 2 offensive tackle per the 247 Composite
- The No. 6 offensive guard per the 247 Composite
- The No. 1 center per the 247 Composite
They also signed a four-star guard. You know, just for giggles. LSU currently has five-star offensive tackle Will Campbell in their 2021 class and that’s all well and good, but Bama signs multiple Campbells every single year. You want to challenge these guys you have to get better up front.
I’d go a little further in depth on the defense but as I’m writing this it’s 11:15 at night and I need to get to bed. But the short version of it Bama’s got really good players at all three levels and the unit is led by future first round pick Christian Harris who, might I remind you all, went to high school on LSU’s campus at University High. What a whiff on LSU’s part.
Here’s Bama’s schedule. Try to talk yourselves into them losing a game.
September 4 vs. Miami (In Atlanta)
September 11 vs. Mercer
September 18 @ Florida
September 25 vs. Southern Miss
October 2 vs. Ole Miss
October 9 @ Texas A&M
October 16 @ Mississippi State
October 23 vs. Tennessee
October 30 BYE
November 6 vs. LSU
November 13 vs. New Mexico State
November 20 vs. Arkansas
November 27 @ Auburn