College football’s opening weekend is upon us and we’re showcasing the five teams that our College Sports Nation experts think will be contending for the national title come January of 2017. Today? The Florida State Seminoles. Previous posts: Florida State, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma.
This is the end of the line. For our preview of national title contenders and, for the vast, vast majority of opponents, matching up against the Alabama Crimson Tide has been the end of the line for hope. Hope of moving the ball, hope of scoring their season average in points, hope of victory. Alabama since Nick Saban took over has been the cream of the college football crop. The recipe for that success? Dominant line play, efficient quarterbacking, punishing runs and suffocating defense are the not-so-secret ingredients to Alabama’s success.
Brutal, overpowering line play that leaves the opposition feeling as if they’ve matched up against a line of road graders and not men, is a calling card of ‘Bama and that should continue on offense as they return three starters from their national title squad of a year ago. On the other side of the ball? Alabama’s starters are the exact four and five star recruits we’ve all come to expect of a Saban-recruited team. There are some unproven spots in the defense, particularly if injuries mount, but c’mon, this is ‘Bama. And if injuries don’t occur? This defensive line will be amazing. Frighteningly amazing. Brilliant possibly.
Alabama does not have the easiest of schedules. They open up against USC. In Week 3 they travel to Oxford, Mississippi to face an Ole Miss squad they’ve lost two in a row to. They have a back-to-back road set against ornery Arkansas and Tennessee and also face divisional rival LSU in Baton Rouge. Any one of those games could trip the Tide up, but again, this is Alabama and Alabama is very good at winning games and choking all hope out of any stadium.
Should we expect Clemson-‘Bama part 2?
Clemson and Alabama met last year in the national title game and delivered a highly entertaining, back and forth game that saw the Tigers leading the Tide in the fourth quarter. With both teams returning a healthy mix of upper classmen and talented youngsters we should all hope, if not expect, a rematch. Both teams have their hurdles (Clemson: Auburn and Florida State, ‘Bama: see the above paragraph) but both schools should be your best bets for returning to the college football playoff.
Alabama has won four out of the past seven national titles, this is a school of dynastic proportions, folks. DeShaun Watson and Clemson gave the Tide all they could handle last season, but ‘Bama did handle it. Bet against ’em at your own risk.