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CBR's "Way Too Early" Top 10
No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide
In seven years at Alabama, Nick Saban has won three BCS National Championships. With six straight double-digit win seasons, you can almost pencil in Bama for a BCS game every year as they've missed only one in the last six years. In 2013, Bama finished 11-2 but had a bad taste left in their mouth as they dropped their final two games. First, they lost in spectacular fashion to in-state rival Auburn, then they got beat up in the Sugar Bowl by Oklahoma. Expect Alabama to refocus this off-season as they strive to head back to the SEC Championship Game and to the first FBS College Football Playoff.
Alabama is stacked at RB and WR. The RB tandem of TJ Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry is among the best in college football and expect Henry to have a breakout season. At receiver, the weapons are plentiful with Amari Cooper, Christion Jones, DeAndrew White and OJ Howard. The defensive talent is off the charts. There is a lot of turnover here in terms of personnel but with the way Alabama has recruited, they should be able to plug and play at a lot of positions.
Since Nick Saban took over in 2007, Alabama has only had three starting QBs. AJ McCarron leaves the fold and now it's time for Nick to find his next offensive captain. Will it be Blake Sims or Cooper Bateman?
When you are as successful of a program as Alabama is, you have to get used to losing players early to the NFL Draft. This year they must replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Adrian Hubbard, Jeoffrey Pagan and Vinne Sunseri on defense and Cyrus Kouandijo on offense. But the biggest loss for the Tide (along with McCarron) will be CJ Mosley. Mosley was the leader of the defense and the Tide will need someone to fill his role in terms of not only play but also leadership.
There is no doubt in my mind that Alabama will be in the thick of the National Title discussion in 2014. The big question for me is if they will be as dominant as they've been in years past or if they will be a team that is being discussed as on the playoff "bubble". The Tide have some big turnover this year as they must replace arguably their top three players in McCarron, Mosley and Kouandijo. I expect Bama to fill those spots with competent players and I expect Bama to be fighting for a birth in the SEC Championship Game and maybe more once again this season.
Be sure to check out the rest of CBR's "Way Too Early Top 10":
6. Ohio State