Alabama has been consistently incredible for a decade now, but their 55-4 record over the past four seasons with four straight national title appearances is borderline unprecedented, with the only losses coming to Ole Miss, Auburn, and Clemson twice. Some extra credit has to be given to Nick Saban on top of the praise he already receives for doing this with seemingly new coordinators every year. In 2019, the new faces are former Washington/USC head coach Steve Sarkisian on the offense, and former UTSA DC (and ILB coach here last year) Pete Golding on the defensive side. Saban has a near-flawless track record when it comes to recruiting assistants, and his track record at recruiting players also means that even though just 12 starters return, this is likely to be your preseason #1 by a very wide margin.
The college football world moves fast, it feels like just yesterday that Tua Tagovailoa was an exciting young freshman that people laughed at when some threw out the possibility of him dethroning Jalen Hurts, a guy that came four points shy of a national title as a freshman himself, now he’s coming off of a season with 48 combined touchdowns, nearly 4,100 combined yards, and a 199.5 QB rating, all culminating with another national title loss to Clemson.
Tua returns his top four wideouts from last year, all of whom averaged over 16 yards per catch, including Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy (1,315 yards, 19.3 YPC, 14 touchdowns). Najee Harris returns in the backfield after averaging 6.7 yards per carry as a sophomore, and while the line loses some key pieces, it returns star left tackle Alex Leatherwood and come on, this is Alabama, they have some big names in the pipeline up front.
The entire starting lineup will be upperclassmen and I honestly think after averaging an incredible 45.6 points per game last year they may beat that high mark.
Alabama loses five players to the NFL and has just six starters returning, but for the talent factory that is Alabama, that’s actually a pretty good ratio. Talent returns all around the defense, from stud end Raekwon Davis to MLB Dylan Moses (leading tackler, 3.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL), and guys that haven’t yet gotten enough attention like Xavier McKinney, Shyheim Carter, and Patrick Surtain should step up after having incredibly underrated years in 2018.
This is the most talented defense in the country, but if there’s one guy to keep an eye on, its jack linebacker Anfernee Jennings, who had one of my favorite stat lines in the country last year with 6.5 sacks, 7.5 TFL, and 11 PBUs. This will be a more experienced Alabama defense, but that’s not to say that there won’t be roles for young guys, the nose guard spot is one where a pair of four-star true freshmen will share snaps. I feel great about the group on the whole and I think they improve after a down year.
Alabama played young last year, and they’ll be more experienced in 2019, somehow projecting out to improve on both offense and defense despite losing ten NFL draft picks. After being embarrassed in the national title game, I think they’ll be out to prove a point. The Crimson Tide will be favored by two or more touchdowns in every regular-season game this year, and are the clear national title favorite.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|31-Aug||vs. duke (ATLANTA, GA)||71||32.9|
|7-Sep||new mexio state||125||50.6|
|14-Sep||At south carolina||21||22.2|
|12-Oct||at texas A&M||11||16.8|
|16-Nov||at mississippi state||13||18.0|
Average Projected Record: 11.0 wins, 1.0 losses (7.1 wins, 0.9 losses)