With the exception of the College Baseball World Series in Omaha and the NBA Finals wrapping up, we are almost in to what we call in the sports world “The Dead Zone”. There’s not much to talk about as football is in the off period, basketball is coming to a close, hockey has crowned a champion, and baseball until October is not exactly focusable for the general public. So as most do, we here at Our Tupelo, are scrounging ideas together to keep the sports a’comin’. Over the next few weeks we will be previewing the 2019 college football season team by team for the SEC. To kick it off we will start on top, to Tuscaloosa we go.
2018 Record 14-1 (8-0 SEC)
Notables: SEC Western Division Champion, SEC Conference Champion, Birth in the CFB Playoffs, only loss was to Clemson in the National Title game.
King Saban begins year 12 for the Crimson Tide with the constant expectation of “National Title or Bust”. With Alabama, Nick Saban is responsible for bringing home five national championships. With said results, of course the fan base has high expectations (who can blame them?).
Key Player Losses 18-19
Jalen Hurts (QB) Transfer to Oklahoma
Josh Jacobs (RB) 1st Round Draft Pick Oakland Raiders
Jonah Williams (OT) 1st Round Draft Pick Cincinnati Bengals
Quinnen Williams (DL) 1st Round Draft Pick New York Jets
Damien Harris (RB) 3rd Round Draft Pick New England Patriots
This is nothing new to Alabama. Year in and year out there’s an exodus of players to the NFL. That’s why they go there. Going to Alabama you are expected to become an NFL player. The main notable here is the transfer of Jalen Hurts. Does it hurt the Crimson Tide on the surface? No. They have a sure fire 1st round (potentially number 1 overall) quarterback in Tua Tagovaila. The question is really, does Hurts going to Oklahoma help Lincoln Reilly and company get over the hump that is the playoffs? The next concern is the depth behind Tua. Last season you saw a lot of him in the 1st half of games then he would take a break after halftime because Alabama was absolutely dominating their opponents in 30 minutes. Also there were injury concerns with the Hawaiian gunslinger. Should he go down, who can they turn to that’s battle tested when facing the LSU’s and Georgia’s of the world.
Key Player Returning 18-19
Tua Tagovaila (QB)
Najee Harris (RB)
Jerry Jeudy (WR)
Henry Ruggs III (WR)
Alex Leatherwood (G)
Raekwon Davis (DE)
Dylan Moses (LB)
This list could go on and on and on and on. But there are four main players I certainly want to look at. Your offensive skill players. Tua, Jeudy, Ruggs, and Harris will be opposing defensive coordinator’s headaches for the 2019 season. For Najee Harris the sky is the limit. The former number 1 running back in the nation for High School will be the clear number one for Saban and Steve Sarkishian. One missed viewpoint for Harris is that he was utilized sparingly during his tenure in Tuscaloosa to this point. So, in conclusion, you have a beast running back from the mold of Todd Gurley that is relatively fresh and injury free. Look for big things in the running game despite the capabilities of the Crimson Tide air attack.
A look at the Crimson Tide Schedule
- Duke (Atlanta, GA)
- New Mexico State (Home)
- South Carolina (Away)
- Southern Miss (Home)
- Ole Miss (Home)
- Texas A&M (Away)
- Tennessee (Home)
- Arkansas (Home)
- LSU (Home)
- Mississippi State (Away)
- Western Carolina (Home)
- Auburn (Away)
2019 Regular Season Prediction: 12-0
That’s right, the Crimson Tide will play in Atlanta twice this year. To start the season with Duke and to begin post season play in the SEC Championship. Weeks 1-5 Alabama will probably be on cruise control before heading into the bye week. The first challenge for Saban and company will be week 7 as an emerging Texas A&M Aggies team will host Alabama. The Aggies will be good, but Jimbo Fisher is still developing that program and it will be a close one but it’s just not time yet. Tennessee, Arkansas: W, W.
The next intriguing game will hail in Tuscaloosa when Ed Orgeron and the Bayou Bengals come to town. LSU typically plays Bama close. But close means nothing in football. It’s still a loss for the Tigers. Then there’s Week 11 when the in state Bulldogs welcome the Crimson helmets to Starkvegas. Give me last year’s defense and I almost want to give Mississippi State the nod of victory. Western Carolina will have Bryant Denny Stadium empty by halftime. Then the grand mecca of college football rivalries, the Iron Bowl. You never know what’s going to happen in this game (kick six). But this year barring some miraculous occurrence, the Tide should have their way with their in state rival.
That’s all for this preview. Disagree? Let us know. Good with it? Let us know. Sound off in the comments on Facebook and we’ll see you with our next team preview.