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2019 SEC Football Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

2019 SEC Football Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

2018 Recap

2019 SEC Football Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide
2018 Schedule

2018 Record: 14-1 (8-0)

1st in the West

Another year another playoff. Nick Saban has mastered the formula for success in Tuscaloosa and anything less than a playoff appearance is unacceptable by Alabama standards.

It took 13 games to have one that was within three touchdowns in 2018. Georgia gave the Tide a run for their money in the SEC Championship game but ultimately fell short like so many others.

Alabama would finish the season in a surprising blowout loss to National Champion Clemson. While Alabama expects to win the Championship every year, it was still a wildly successful year once again. The Tide scored over 50 points or more in 8 of their 15 games in 2018. There were only two games they didn’t win by more than two touchdowns – the SEC Championship Game and the National Championship game.

2019 Schedule Breakdown

2019 Schedule

Ceiling: 12-0 (8-0)

Floor: 11-1 (6-2)

2019 Projected Record: 12-0 (8-0)

Conference Standings: 1st in the SEC West

  • Week 1 Duke*: W
  • Week 2 New Mexico State: W
  • Week 3 @ South Carolina: W
  • Week 4 Southern Miss: W
  • Week 5 Ole Miss: W
  • BYE
  • Week 7 @ Texas A&M: W
  • Week 8 Tennessee: W
  • Week 9 Arkansas: W
  • BYE
  • Week 11 LSU: W
  • Week 12 @ Mississippi State: W
  • Week 13 Western Carolina: W
  • Week 14 @ Auburn: W

*Denotes neutral site game

Alabama hasn’t lost a regular-season game in two of the last three seasons. Why would this year be any different? In fact, outside of the 2017 Auburn upset, Ole Miss is the only team that has been capable of beating Alabama in the regular season since 2013.

Saban hasn’t lost two games in the regular season since 2010. An 11-1 worst-case scenario will once again have Tide fans excited about a season that should see them as a lock-in for the College Football Playoff once again.

2019 Outlook

All Eyes on Tua

Tua Tagovailoa led all passers last year in most categories – and it wasn’t even close. His 199.4 passing efficiency rating was followed by Jake Fromm’s 171.3. His 43 touchdowns were also followed by Fromm, at 30.

Tua also led the conference in passing yards last season as well as completion percentage. It’s very possible he may be the best quarterback Saban has had on one of his teams.

Tua was a big part of Alabama’s best passing offense in school history in 2018. The receiving core is mostly one year older and more experienced. The only question will be on the offensive line where the Tide lost veteran Jonah Williams and Irv Smith Jr. It is a safe assumption that the recruiting excellence in the Saban era should be able to easily replace these sorely missed pieces upfront.

Defense A Strong Piece Once Again

It’s hardly ever a weak point. However, there was some cause for concern among Alabama fans at the end of last year. Prior to the November 17th game against The Citadel the Tide had given up 17 or more points in just three games.

2019 SEC Football Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide
Junior Tua Tagovailoa is widely expected to be the top Quarterback taken in this year’s NFL Draft. (Photo courtesy of si.com).

From November 17th on the Tide defense seemed to collapse worse with each game. They gave up 17, 21, 28, 34 and 44 in the final five games of the season. This included the worst first half performance by Alabama under the Nick Saban era.

Alabama returns some good experience on the defensive line from a year ago. Anfernee Jennings, Dylan Moses and Raekwon Davis should be serious factors for offensive lines to have to deal with.

The pressure up front is sure to help a secondary that lost little to nothing from a year ago. What was once a fairly young and inexperienced group returns the main pieces that is sure to finish higher than the No.33 pass defense it did from a year ago.

Recap

It’s hard to ever keep Alabama out of the National Championship game let alone the College Football Playoff. Alabama should be back once again next year and as the script goes, it will likely come down to a final matchup with Clemson.

Last year saw a younger and less experienced Alabama team take on a dominant Clemson team that saw one of the best defensive fronts College Football has ever seen. Alabama also had inexperience in its defense as well as some injury issues in the secondary. This year’s matchup looks to be another good one with Alabama being much more competitive this time around.

 

 

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