Paul Finebaum Paul Finebaum, radio and ESPN television personality, gets ready to speak on television near activities outside the Superdome, before of the College Football Playoff National Championship game in New Orleans Monday, January 13, 2020. Pregame Fans Clemson Lsu Football Cfp National Championship New Orleans

For the first time in a long time, the Alabama Crimson Tide has entered an unfamiliar position. They aren’t favorites to win the national championship.

Despite finishing with an 11-2 record and No. 5 ranking in the country last season, there are many doubters who say the dynasty is dead.

The Georgia Bulldogs are overwhelming favorites to three-peat but ESPN’s Paul Finebaum says don’t count out Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Finebaum says even if the Crimson Tide’s offense struggles in the beginning, they may be able to withstand if if their defense is good.

“They can probably get away with it offensively as long as 1 thing is true and that’s if the defense is elite,” Finebaum said. “If they can shore up what were some deficiencies last year, then I think they can survive.”

The Alabama defense was not elite last year in close losses to LSU and Tennessee. In years past, the Alabama defense would have found a way to make stops for the Tide.

With the changing of the guard and Kevin Steele coming back as defensive coordinator, that may be the difference if the Tide wants to compete for another championship.

The key, Finebaum says, is ultimately how good the defense is.

“The ultimate concern though is if the defense is not like some of those defenses that your partner was often bailed out by,” he said. “I don’t know how they will handle certain teams Texas, Ole Miss, LSU, teams that can score a lot of points. I think that’s the 1 unknown.”

{McElroy and Cubelic}

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.