Alabama Football: 5 Crucial Games on Crimson Tide Schedule
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If Alabama makes it back to the national championship game, the Crimson Tide will have earned their spot due to a fairly tough schedule. It's nowhere close to a cake walk.
The Crimson Tide, who open up the season ranked second following a national championship, have five crucial games this season that will give them a handful of trouble.
The scary thing about Alabama's five big games is that four of them are in the SEC. Even though it's to nobody's surprise, the SEC will throw fits at all teams, including the defending national champions.
No. 5: Missouri Tigers
Missouri QB James Franklin will try to knock off the Tide late in the SEC schedule.
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Missouri is going into the SEC to face the likes of LSU, Arkansas and, of course, Alabama.
The Crimson Tide do have a bye week before facing the Tigers on Oct. 13. However, the game is one of two consecutive road games that include the long haul to Columbia before heading down to Knoxville, Tenn., to play Tennessee.
Missouri led the Big 12 in 2011 in scoring defense and total offense, but then again, that was the Big 12. This is the Southeastern Conference, and it includes many ranked foes.
Alabama may have a slow start with the long travel up to the Show-Me-State, but they will show up in time to beat Missouri.
No. 4: Tennessee Volunteers
It's never easy to take home away from Neyland Stadium.
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Playing back-to-back games on the road is never easy. The Tide will have to travel up to Columbia, Missouri to play the Tigers before entering Neyland Stadium to play the Vols.
Alabama is a better ballclub than Tennessee, but a second straight road game might give Alabama a small fit—one very similar to what they could experience at Mizzou.
In terms of what Tennessee brings to the table, the Vols are coming off a season that had more injuries than most teams see in more than one season.
Also, UT didn't have a great conference run, as it dropped the first four games. A similar pattern will likely happen this time around.
No. 3: Michigan Wolverines
Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines will try to derail the Tide right off the bat Sept. 1.
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Some teams like to start off their season facing a less-talented team to get an easy win. Thank goodness the Crimson Tide do not think like that.
Instead, they start out the season with arguably the feature game nationally on Sept. 1.
Neither the Michigan Wolverines nor the Crimson Tide get an advantage, as the game is being played at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
Both teams are coming off BCS bowl wins and have lots of momentum coming into this season. Whoever wins this one will get a big boost to start the season.
No. 2: Arkansas Razorbacks
New Arkansas head coach John L. Smith will try to knock off Alabama.
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Arkansas has the schedule to its favor. The Razorbacks get to host not only LSU, but also Alabama as well.
For Alabama, this is the Tide's SEC opener, following what should be an easy win over Western Kentucky.
Opening up the SEC season on the road isn't a breeze, and doing it in Fayetteville is even tougher. However, Arkansas will have the tough battle here. The Crimson Tide have won each of the last five matchups.
Alabama's secondary will have to go against one of the top quarterbacks in the league in Tyler Wilson. Wilson may have the opportunity to pass heavy against young secondary and give Alabama an unexpected scare.
No. 1: LSU Tigers
LSU returns Kenny Hillard, who plays Alabama Nov. 3.
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And here we go again.
Night game. Death Valley.
This will be the third time that LSU and Alabama square off in almost a full calendar year. The hype is still the same.
We all know that Alabama had the last laugh. This time, it won't be as easy as Alabama made it look in the national championship.
LSU's biggest worry will once again be the passing attack. A.J. McCarron threw all over the Tigers in the title game to the tune of 234 passing yards. And that was with Tyrann Mathieu.
Kenny Hillard will be the Crimson Tide's biggest worry. He's the heart of this offense, and with the quarterback situation a concern, more pressure will be brought on him.