2012 Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Expert Predictions, Picks, Vegas Odds and Schedule – Alabama College Football Preview: Coming off their second national title in the last three seasons, the Alabama Crimson Tide are on the verge of creating a college football dynasty. The fact that they have done it while playing in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the country only makes it more impressive. Head coach Nick Saban has been the architect of the program’s recent success, and even with heavy personnel losses on both sides of the ball, Saban’s ability to recruit a stockpile talent will make Alabama a serious threat at repeating as national champs in 2012-13.
Defense has been the calling card of the Crimson Tide under Saban’s watch, and last year’s unit was one of the best in college football history. Alabama allowed the fewest points per game (8.8), total yards (191.3) and rushing yards in the country last season. Losing studs like Mark Barron, Courtney Upshaw and Dont’a Hightower will probably cause a slight drop in numbers compared to last season’s record-setting unit, but Alabama will still be tough to score on. Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley anchor a strong group of linebackers, and safety Robert Lester will provide leadership in the secondary. Not to mention that Saban has plenty of former four and five-star recruits waiting to take on expanded roles.
While the defense might take a slight step back, the Crimson Tide offense should be even better this year. Yes, workhorse running back Trent Richardson is now in the NFL, but Eddie Lacy is a capable replacement. He had seven touchdowns last season and averaged 7.1 yards per carry. More importantly, Lacy will be running behind the best offensive line in the country. Defending Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones shifts to center this season, and he is the leader of a group that should dominate the line of scrimmage. Alabama loves to run the ball and play defense, and Jones and company will absolutely wear out opposing defenses all season long.
The X-factor for the Crimson Tide will be quarterback A.J. McCarron. After proving to be a competent game manager in his first year as starter, McCarron blossomed in the national title game. He made big plays against a tough LSU defense, proving he can be the center of the offense if need be. In his second year as starter, McCarron should provide even more balance in the passing game. His ability to stretch the field will only make the Crimson Tide’s power running game that much more effective.
Looking at the schedule, the season opener against the Michigan Wolverines and a trip to Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers are the only hurdles for the defending champs. The Crimson Tide dodge SEC East powerhouses South Carolina and Georgia, and they also get their arch rivals the Auburn Tigers at home this year. Aside from another meeting with Les Miles’ Tigers, this year’s slate of games is actually mild compared to years past.
At the end of the day, Alabama really could be looking at a repeat of last season. Going into Death Valley and knocking off LSU could prove a tough task, but even after losing at home to the Tigers last year, the Crimson Tide found their way into the BCS title game. The Crimson Tide will have one of the best defenses and best running games in the country, and running the ball and playing defense has always been a recipe for success. At worst, Alabama looks like a one-loss team this year, and Saban’s bunch should be in the conversation when it comes time to decide which two teams will play for the national championship.
2012 Prediction: 11-1, Second Place in SEC West Division
Preseason 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide NCAA Football Odds:
Odds to Win 2012 BCS Championship: +500
Odds to Win 2012 SEC Champonship: +185
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2012 Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Schedule
Sat, Sep 1 at (12) Michigan 8:00 pm —
Sat, Sep 8 Western Kentucky 3:39 pm —
Sat, Sep 15 at (5) Arkansas 3:30 pm —
Sat, Sep 22 Florida Atlantic TBA —
Sat, Sep 29 Mississippi TBA —
Sat, Oct 13 at Missouri TBA —
Sat, Oct 20 at Tennessee TBA —
Sat, Oct 27 Mississippi State TBA —
Sat, Nov 3 at (2) LSU 8:00 pm —
Sat, Nov 10 Texas A&M TBA —
Sat, Nov 17 Western Carolina TBA —
Sat, Nov 24 Auburn TBA —
Check out NSAwins.com’s official 2012 SEC Football Predictions and Odds article.
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