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While I realize picking the Tide at this point is like betting on the United States military (a fucking lock), it’s undeniable that Nick Saban’s football factory is on its way to another NCAA championship.
This year’s version of the Crimson Tide continues the uniquely Kiffin/Saban trend of having no idea who their quarterback is days from kickoff. Unlike the previous two years, however, Saban and the almighty Kiffin are not choosing between converted running backs (Blake Sims) and Florida State cast offs (Jake Coker). Instead, they have their pick of a bevy of five-star prospects rivaling only Dan Bilzerian’s lineup of nightly companions in the realm of happy conundrums.
Supposedly the formerly four-man competition has whittled itself down to two: Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett, both of whom were ranked as top 100 overall prospects by essentially all recruiting services and have now spent years under the tutelage of the Alabama staff within the confines of quarterback Mecca: Lane Kiffin’s office.
Yes, I do use a bit of hyperbole in my admiration for Joey Freshwater, but regardless of how you feel about his total frat antics off the field, his results with quarterbacks are undeniable, orchestrating the greatest passing attack in the history of Alabama football during his short tenure in Tuscaloosa — and the rest of his resume speaks for itself. Well, aside from the copious firings.
Point being, with Kiffin and Saban at the helm, Alabama will always be fine at quarterback, but with this stable of elite talent (four quarterbacks on the roster of four-star rating or better), the sky is the limit for the eventual winner of the Alabama quarterback Hunger Games. That gladiator will be protected by one of the best offensive lines, as always, in recent memory, led by Cam Robinson. Robinson, who without question would be suspended and or kicked off the team if not for his NFL-player-destroying-teenagers status, looks like another Crimson Tide first round lock, with immaculate footwork and athleticism for a man of his immense stature.
Amazingly, even after losing Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, the Tide are stacked like 90s Pamela Andersen at skill positions, with what is perhaps the deepest and most versatile group of Saban’s tenure. Somehow both running backs, Bo Scarborough and Damien Harris, appear on Heisman Watch lists, with Calvin Ridley, Robert Foster and Ardarius Stewart comprising an Alabama receiving core likely to all play on Sundays. OJ Howard, the super athletic tight end that broke out in the 2015 Playoff after three years of, “Wait why the fuck don’t they throw him the ball?” is a Jimmy Graham clone returning for his senior season.
I could go on about the defense, but new DC Jeremy Pruitt and the Godfather Saban himself says enough. The Tide are experienced, absurdly talented after reeling in the number one overall class three of the last four years, and have so much depth they could survive a Mono outbreak in Tuscaloosa and still roll to an SEC championship. Alabama has such a ridiculous amount of talent that former #1 overall player Da’Shawn Hand will finally become a starter this season. A player projected as an NFL Top 25 draft pick has largely ridden the bench in Tuscaloosa since his commitment in 2014. It’s fucking scary.
In the words of the almighty SVP in his horribly ill-fated LeBron and the Heat’s first trip to Cleveland manifesto: “bet the mortgage payment, this one’s a lock.”.
Image via Instagram/@alabamafbl