Alabama landed at the No. 2 spot in the AP preseason poll that was released today, continuing the high expectations for the 2012 season that are coming out of Tuscaloosa, Ala. to start the season.
Looking at the projection, it is easy to see why the Tide was ranked No. 2 by the media.
The Tide has a reputation of reloading under Nick Saban, as well as a rich history of consistent production on the football field—especially in the last three years where they have won two national titles.
Digging into the expectations and roster for the Tide, here are the reasons why the Tide landed at the No. 2 spot in the AP preseason poll.
Few coaches have received the All-Star status that Nick Saban has—not only in the state of Alabama but across the country.
Saban has built a reputation as a recruiting guru, consistently landing some of the best recruiting classes in the country. The Alabama team has become one that reloads, not rebuilds.
That will be no different this fall despite major losses in the defense from 2011. The Tide loses three of four defensive backs and three of four linebackers, but the talent that returns is layered with experience and top-level talent.
The Crimson Tide will have a few growing pains early—especially against the flashy offense of Michigan in Week 1—but they will adapt quickly and become a solid team from top to bottom by year’s end.
The Crimson Tide has had ups and downs over the years, but the Alabama football team is known for winning football games—lots of them.
Over the last four seasons under the leadership of Nick Saban, the Tide have gone 48-6. Winning over 80 percent of the games it plays competitively has been extremely impressive for Alabama.
Add to those wins two national titles inside three years, and there is no question that the AP made the right move placing the Tide inside the Top 5 of this year’s preseason poll.
The Alabama offense is headlined by returning signal-caller A.J. McCarron this season with a number of skill players layering the offensive lineup in support.
Eddie Lacy takes over as the featured tailback in the Alabama offense after averaging 7.3 YPC in 2010 and 7.1 YPC in 2012. Lacy has also been a threat in the passing game—something that will need to continue as he looks to fill the void left by Trent Richardson this fall.
Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart and T.J. Yeldon will also be names to watch this fall as Alabama will spread the carries around to its top running backs on roster.
At receiver, Kenny Bell is leading the pack after a modest 2011 season that saw 17 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Christion Jones, DeAndrew White and Kevin Norwood are other notable names on the radar.
The tight end position may be the biggest strength in the passing game for the Tide with leader Michael Williams carrying the load at the position. He is a powerful blocker and dangerous passing threat once he makes it into the middle third of the defense.
The Crimson Tide offensive line returns four starters from last year’s national title winning squad and is headlined by Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones.
Jones is one of the most intelligent and physical linemen in the country and is surrounded by players that carry the same level of talent.
The line is not only talented, but it is also huge. The Tide’s starting line will average 314 pounds this season. Add to that size scary athleticism and the Tide have one of the toughest offensive line units in the country. It will headline the offensive unit, allowing for big plays all season.