Alabama's four toughest games in the 2012 season are against Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri and LSU.
The season opener against Michigan should be a win, as should the conference opener against Arkansas. (I don't think the difference between the two teams will be 24 points different from last year's 38-14 win over the 'Backs.)
Before Alabama travels to Missouri, the Tide has its bye week. The extra prep time should translate to a win for Alabama.
LSU enjoys the luxury of a bye week before hosting Alabama, while the Tide will be playing Mississippi State. LSU is going to be a rough game for the Tide.
The defense should have had time to gel by September, and the LSU match could easily go down as a "W" for the Crimson Tide.
However, if the Tide does lose to LSU, the chances of ending up in the Sugar Bowl are still good for 'Bama.
The only potential monkey wrench at that point would be Georgia. Georgia doesn't play Alabama, LSU or Arkansas in the regular season and could end up undefeated heading into the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
If that happens, then it could be a very close race between Georgia and Alabama for the Sugar Bowl berth.
2012 postseason goal: BCS bowl (Title game or Sugar Bowl, either one would be just fine for Tiders everywhere)