After Alabama's annihilation of the Michigan Wolverines in college football's primetime season opener last Saturday night, the Crimson Tide look destined to repeat as BCS National Champions in 2012.
Nick Saban's team ran over, through and around Michigan at Cowboys Stadium, taking a 31-0 lead before the No. 8 Wolverines finally got on the board.
In the end, it was a 41-14 shellacking that has many experts and fans around the nation expecting Alabama to return to the title game this January.
But before we get ahead of ourselves and crown the defending champions too early in the season, let's take a closer look at some of the teams capable of threatening the Tide this fall.
The Crimson Tide will travel to Fayetteville on September 15 to take on rival Arkansas on the road. The Razorbacks are a Top-10 football team and boast an offense capable of putting up points in bunches.
Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for more than 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011 and led the Razorbacks' 13th-ranked aerial assault.
Unlike Michigan, Arkansas has the weapons necessary to stretch Alabama's secondary and keep them on their heels over the course of four quarters.
The Razorbacks will also have home-field advantage against the Crimson Tide.
You can bet the fans in attendance will be screaming from the opening kickoff to the final whistle as well after the beatdown suffered at the hands of the Tide in Tuscaloosa last fall.
Almost an entire year later, after last November's Game of the Century in Tuscaloosa, LSU and Alabama will clash in Baton Rouge in a matchup that will likely decide which powerhouse program wins the SEC West division in 2012.
The November 3 showdown will provide the Tigers with a shot to avenge their brutal, 21-0 BCS National Championship loss to the Tide last January and the Tide with a chance to avenge their 9-6 overtime loss to LSU at home last season.
Although LSU will be without play-making cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, their defense will still challenge Alabama like no other opponent they will face all year.
The Tigers had one of the nation's top scoring defenses in 2011, ranking right behind the Nick Saban's Tide defense.
Whichever offense can wear down the opposing defense first will likely decide the outcome. I expect this game to come down to a late field goal, similar to last year's Game of the Century.
Which team has the best shot at beating Alabama in 2012?
The Iron Bowl is always one of the best rivalry matchups in college football every season, and the 2012 edition promises to be no different.
In a battle of the last two BCS national champions, the Auburn Tigers will visit Alabama on November 24 to attempt to make it two in a row over the Tide in Tuscaloosa.
Although Cam Newton isn't walking through that door anytime soon, the Tigers proved in their season opener against No. 14 Clemson that they are more than capable of playing quality defense and moving the football down the field.
If offensive stars Kiehl Frazier and Tre Mason can keep their composure on the road, then Auburn will have a chance to contend and perhaps shock an Alabama team who could potentially be looking ahead to an SEC Championship Game appearance.
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