Making it to the national championship in back to back years is an incredible feat. Auburn and Oregon failed to do it this year but LSU and Alabama both have legitimate chances to do it again in 2012.
But whose shot is easier?
For Alabama, the biggest problem is the NFL Draft. There are nine seniors starting for the Tide right now including five on defense and as many as six more could declare for the draft including Heisman finalist Trent Richardson and leading tackler Dont’a Hightower.
A team simply cannot lose that much talent and expect to realistically compete for the national championship, especially not in the ridiculously difficult SEC West.
As for the schedule, the Tide get the far worse end of the stick, having to travel to both Arkansas and LSU. Trips to Missouri and Tennessee won’t be terribly easy either and anything can happen in the Iron Bowl against Auburn.
For LSU, the biggest problem is the schedule. Most people think that the Tigers will be better in 2012 than they were in 2011 and that is a scary thought. They’ll lose nine starters but all of the key playmakers will return including all of the running backs, both defensive ends and the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is already being touted as the next great thing in Baton Rouge and if he doesn’t pan out there are always Jerrard Randall and Gunner Kiel.
LSU gets Alabama at home but it has to visit Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M and rival Arkansas. That game against the Hogs could make or break the season.
That said, the Tigers clearly have the easier time getting back to the national championship based on talent and the schedule. Alabama certainly has a shot but LSU’s is much better.