BCS Championship 2012: Why Alabama Won't Be Favorites Next Year
Alabama just won the 2012 BCS championship Monday night, but fans better do their celebrating now because the the team will not defend its title next season.
There are a lot of things to like about the current Alabama team.
The defense just capped off an incredible run with a 21-0 shutout in the national championship game. After allowing only 8.2 points per game this season, the unit will be compared favorably to almost any other defense in college football history.
The Crimson Tide also had the best running back in the nation in Trent Richardson. The Heisman finalist carried the team all season long and provided plenty of highlight reel plays in each game.
Unfortunately, next year will be completely different.
Alabama will not win the national championship for the 2012-13 season. Here's why.
It Is Tough to Repeat
Vince Young and Texas did not allow USC to win consecutive championships.
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After winning a national championship, everyone else in the country takes notice.
Even though no one can take away the trophy from previous years, teams have to go into games "defending their championship."
Every team will circle Alabama on their schedules and players will try their hardest to be the team to knock off last year's champs.
Since the beginning of the BCS era in 1998, no team has ever won two consecutive championships.
Miami, Florida State and USC were all close, losing the final game after winning the year before, but winning that second championship in a row has remained elusive.
Alabama should not be any different.
Trent Richardson Is Hard to Replace
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The last time Alabama lost a Heisman winning running back to the NFL, Trent Richardson was there to fill in for Mark Ingram.
Current backup Eddie Lacy is good, but he is not Trent Richardson.
Richardson did not win the Heisman, but he proved to be the best running back in the country by torturing SEC defenses all season long.
He provided over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns for this offense, and there is no way Alabama would have achieved the same level of success without him.
When he goes to the NFL, he will immediately become an impact player for whichever team selects him in the draft.
These players cannot be replaced that easily.
Defense Will Lose a Lot of Key Players
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Only three times this season did LSU failed to score over 35 points. Two of those instances were against Alabama, where the Tigers scored a total of nine points in two games.
In the national championship, LSU only crossed midfield one time but still could not come away with points.
This year's Alabama defense will go down as one of the greatest in the history of college football.
Unfortunately, talent like this does not stick around forever.
Linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower were leaders of this defense that should first or second round picks in the upcoming NFL draft.
Safety Mark Barron and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick will definitely hear their names called in the first round, as they are each among the best at their positions.
Every college team loses talented players at the end of the season, but this group will leave a lot of gaps for the future.
USC Is Back in the Postseason
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For the past two seasons, USC has not been allowed to participate in the postseason due to NCAA rules violations.
The Trojans were still building up a great football team, but few noticed because they were not in the BCS rankings.
In the AP Poll, the team finished the season as the No. 6 team in the country with many key players returning for next season.
Led by quarterback and Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley, the Trojans want to make up for the fact that the team has been overlooked. They definitely want to end the current streak of national championships from the SEC.
With the level of talent on that roster, USC will make a lot of noise next season.
LSU Is Better and Angry
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This is going to scare a lot of people in college football right now, but most of the key players for LSU are returning next season.
Quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee will graduate, as well as a few players on the offensive line, and cornerback Morris Claiborne is expected to enter the draft.
Other than that, the team will be back and more experienced.
This includes defensive playmakers like Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid, and Barkevious Mingo. Mathieu could even be a favorite for the Heisman Trophy next season.
It includes the running back corps of Michael Ford, Spencer Ware, Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue. Each player could be thrown in to the backfield for coach Les Miles and be successful.
It also includes every receiver on the roster, like the explosive Rueben Randle if he does not declare for the NFL draft.
As long as current sophomore quarterback Zach Mettenberger steps in and does well, the team will be very dangerous. If he does not, top recruit Gunner Kiel could replace him.
Even after a loss in the championship game, the Tigers are not going anywhere.