2019 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
Last season did not end exactly the way that the Tide hoped. To put it bluntly, they got their butts kicked all over the field by Clemson in the national title game. It was the most humiliating performance we have seen from Alabama during the Nick Saban era. And it has led to a whole lot of change with the program.
The team comes into this season with seven new members on their coaching staff, including their offensive coordinator and one of their two defensive coordinators. It's the closest thing to turmoil we have seen around the program - though Saban's staff has not exactly been defined by their loyalty and long tenures. The new offensive coordinator is Steve Sarkisian, who some - including me - would accuse of being an idiot. Add it all up, and there could be cause for concern with the eternal force that is the Tide - or at least there would be if it wasn't Alabama we are talking about.
They return a ridiculous amount of starting talent, and the guys who are new to starting are all blue chips and freaks. They have a favorable schedule. And Saban is still a savant. They are the co-favorites to win the national title again and a sound bet to make yet another trip to the playoff.
2018 in a Nutshell
Tua Tagovailoa was the phenom everyone expected him to be, and he was on track to win the Heisman right up until the last couple of weeks when he slowed down his production to merely mortal levels at the wrong time. He led the team through a regular season that not only didn't include a loss but lacked a game that was even sort of close. It was a cruise - albeit against a schedule against which they absolutely should have cruised. Things got tougher from there as they played a tough game against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, got into a battle with Oklahoma in their playoff opener, and then got crushed by Trevor Lawrence and Clemson.
Key Additions and Departures
The team lost 10 players to the draft, including three first-rounders. Third overall pick Quinnen Williams, the defensive tackle who was so dominant he produced his own gravity, leads the departures. Those losses would hurt any team, but Alabama less than most. They have dealt with this type of loss every year and have ridiculous depth everywhere.
Of the seven coaches, the loss of the two offensive coordinators - Mike Locksley is the head coach at Maryland, and Josh Gattis is running the offense at Michigan - hurts most. Sarkisian takes over off a wildly uninspiring time running the offense for the Atlanta Falcons and has a long history of underperforming expectations. In Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy, he has an incredible amount of talent to work with, but if he struggles to maximize that talent it would be a real waste.
The recruiting class wasn't quite as strong as we have come to expect. It featured just two consensus five-stars but still ranked between fifth and 10th in the rankings of every recruiting service.
Biggest Area of Concern
The offensive line. Alex Leatherwood is an experienced junior, but not at left tackle, where he moves to this year. And right tackle Jedrick Wills is back as well. But the interior of the line is all new and will feature a freshman at left guard. Depth could be a problem here, and they will have to mesh and find chemistry fast. Those depth concerns aren't exclusive to this spot, either - defensive high-end talent is as impressive as ever, but the depth is probably a step behind where it has been. They will be fine as long as they stay healthy.
Alabama Crimson Tide Schedule Analysis
It's a bit of a joke, really. They get LSU at home and travel to Texas A&M, and both of those could be tough games - though neither was last year. And beyond that it is not much more than an extended preseason to prepare for the playoffs. They open against two hopelessly outmatched nonconference foes in Louisville and New Mexico State, and they play Western Carolina later. If they don't win those three games by a combined 100 points or more, we should be very concerned. Their only road opponents besides the Aggies are South Carolina, Mississippi State and Auburn, and they will be soundly favored in all three. And they play neither Georgia nor Florida. If this is anything close to a typical Alabama team, they should be unbeaten heading into the postseason.
2019-20 Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has the Tide as the co-favorites to win it all at +225 with Clemson, well ahead of third choice Georgia at +700. Tagovailoa is favored to win the Heisman at +250, ahead of Trevor Lawrence at +300. Jerry Jeudy at +2500 is also listed.
2019-20 Alabama Crimson Tide Predictions and College Football Picks
I want to be negative about this team. I really do. I hated that national title performance, the offensive line and defensive depth concerns me, I have less than no respect for the job Sarkisian does, and the loss of coaches is a little concerning - even for a guy as tough to work for as Saban. But I just don't see where the losses come. This team is very talented, they will be well prepared, and their regular-season schedule is very weak. It is far more likely that they finish unbeaten than not. And that sets them up for an SEC Championship Game that will be a de facto playoff game for them. I don't see any value in them at all in the price they are at, but I can't enthusiastically pick against them. If they are in the playoff this year, I will be a long, long way from shocked.
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