2011-2012 Football Previews – Southeast Conference – Alabama Crimson Tide
Tide head coach Saban is as close to the top of his game as you can get in such a cutthroat business.
2011-2012 SEC | Alabama Crimson Tide Football Preview
Coach: Nick Saban
2010 Record: 10-3
Alabama Gambling Odds from Bodog to win BCS: +450
Alabama Team Page – Players Stats – Roster – 2011 Schedule –>
Saban is routinely hauling in elite recruiting classes and Alabama’s cupboards are stocked with talent reminiscent of USC from the mid-2000s.
Yet, unlike Florida State from the 1990s or USC from the last decade, the Tide play in the brutal SEC West division, which makes the annual chase anything but a foregone conclusion.
This team will be fuelled by the defense and the running game. Running back Trent Richardson – finally getting his time in the sun following the departure of Heisman Trophy-winner Mark Ingram – is one of the nation’s best, is a surefire NFL player and a Heisman candidate himself.
The “D” is stout top to bottom, but is commanded by freak LB Dont’a Hightower and safety Mark Barron. Another notable on that side of the ball is CB Dre Kirkpatrick, who is huge for the position going at 6”3, 195 lbs. Defensively, the Tide has speed, size, athleticism and depth that few teams can boast of.
Yet another strength of this team is the offensive line, led by All-American guard Barrett Jones, C William Vlachos and massive RT D.J. Fluker. This unit will have no problems blasting open holes for Richardson and whoever else totes the rock for the Tide in ’11.
The quarterback position is an unsettled one for Alabama. The graduation of sensible veteran Greg McElroy means that someone new must fill the void, be that sophomore A.J. McCarron or redshirt frosh Phillip Sims. It is not like ’Bama will be unable to get production from the QB; both starting options have talent.
But in a division that also boasts LSU, Arkansas, upstart Mississippi State and Auburn (merely last year’s National Champion) pivot play can make or break a championship team – just ask first overall NFL draft pick Cam Newton, who basically single-handedly led Auburn to a National Title and, perhaps more rewardingly, a soul-crushing comeback win over hated Alabama last year.
2011 Alabama Football Prediction: 12-2
They say defense wins championships, and Alabama has the best defense in the NCAA. Alabama returns every starter from the defensive back seven and has more experience on the D-line despite the loss of NFL first-rounder Marcell Dareus.
The Tide may find success with a workmanlike approach of run-heavy offense and helmet-chipping “D”, but they are the most talented team in the SEC – if not the country – and should expect to win the conference and appear in the BCS National Title game. After the numbing loss to rival Auburn and a relatively pedestrian 10 wins last season, this team is hungry.
It took many years for this program to return to the dominance of the Bear Bryant-era, but over the past few seasons Saban and Co. have been making up for lost time for the Tide’s rabid fan base.
2011 Alabama Crimson Tide Schedule
9/3/11 12:00 PM ET KENST
9/10/11 12:00 PM ET @PENST
9/17/11 12:00 PM ET NOTEX
9/24/11 12:00 PM ET ARK
10/1/11 12:00 PM ET @FLA
10/8/11 12:00 PM ET VAN
10/15/11 12:00 PM ET @MISS
10/22/11 12:00 PM ET TENN
11/5/11 12:00 PM ET LSU
11/12/11 12:00 PM ET @MISST
11/19/11 12:00 PM ET GESOU
11/26/11 12:00 PM ET @AUB
Steve Janus has some more 2011 Alabama Football Predictions at Betfirms