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College Football Preview: Can the Alabama Dynasty Be Stopped?

Posted on September 02, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Alabama and coach Nick Saban are looking for their fifth national championship in the last decade.

Alabama and coach Nick Saban are looking for their fifth national championship in the last decade.

So you think there is no way to create a dynasty in today’s college football climate?

Well, then you obviously haven’t been paying close attention to the football being played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama over the last decade.

Since Nick Saban took the reigns at the University of Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide have developed into the closest thing college football has had to a dynasty since the glory days of the Miami Hurricanes in the early 1990s.

Excluding his first season when the Crimson Tide went 7-6 (with five of the wins eventually vanquished by the NCAA), Saban’s squad has registered eight straight seasons with double digit wins and has lost as many as three games in a year only once.

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that they have been ranked number one in the country at some point in each of the last eight seasons while winning four national championships.

With Alabama again beginning the season as the top ranked team in the country, the defending champions continue to have a special aura that makes them the automatic favorite at the start of every season.

So, can the Crimson Tide repeat as champions despite losing the Heisman Trophy winner and having a different starting quarterback for the fourth straight season?

Given that they start the season against the always dangerous USC Trojans and that their path through the SEC includes road games at Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee as well as home clashes against LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Auburn, it certainly will not be an easy trip for the Crimson Tide.

However, if we have learned anything over the last eight seasons, it is that Nick Saban and Alabama have a plethora of talented players capable of moving into the lineup and pushing the team to success.

The offense will look quite different than a year ago, but has two quality returning pass catchers in sophomore receiver Calvin Ridley and senior tight end D.J. Howard. The question will be who is throwing the ball to them as it is still up in the air as to whether junior Cooper Bateman or freshman Blake Barnett will get the starting nod.

The running game will definitely miss Heisman winner Derrick Henry. The good news is that there are five returning running backs looking to replace Henry. The bad news is that they enter the USC game with a combined 76 career carries at the college level.

Last season Alabama ranked third nationally allowing 15 points per contest. If you discount the 83 points they allowed to Mississippi (43 points) and Clemson (40 points), they allowed only 11 points per game and registered two shutouts in their other 13 contests.

The defense will have to be just as strong in 2016 if Alabama hopes to claim their fifth national championship in the last decade.

Given that the college football season is now a four month sprint in which every game is crucial and one slipup can cost you a chance at the title, Alabama has a tough road to hoe if they hope for a repeat. However, in a town where anything short of a championship creates disappointment, bringing home another title isn’t wishful thinking, it is an expected outcome.

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