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In terms of scheduling, Alabama's 2013 road to Pasadena will be easier than any it's faced so far in its run.
The Tide's big nonconference game? A tilt with Virginia Tech, projected by most to be unranked, in Atlanta. The crowd will in all likelihood be rooting for Alabama.
Its conference schedule is more significant because of who it doesn't play.
The Tide won't face JaDeveon Clowney and South Carolina.
They won't play against Will Muschamp's Florida Gators and their menacing defense.
They won't get a rematch against Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs.
In fact, their conference schedule will in all likelihood come down to two games: a September 14 trip to College Station to face Texas A&M, and a November 9 showdown with LSU in Tuscaloosa. Even so, the Tide should be favored in both games.
Though the Aggies will play Alabama at home and still have Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the rest of their team will be decimated by the NFL draft. Left tackle Luke Joeckel, right tackle Jake Matthews, defensive end Damontre Moore and others could potentially leave for the pros. A&M doesn't have nearly the depth on a year-to-year basis as Alabama, and it will have a much harder time absorbing the losses.
LSU is in a similar position. So far it has already lost Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Bennie Logan, Eric Reid, Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Kevin Minter and Tharold Simon have already declared, and the slight possibility of a return from Tyrann Mathieu (aka, the Honey Badger) was extinguished in November when he declared for the draft as well.
Alabama will be favored in all of its regular season games in 2013. Assuming the Tide can get past whoever wins the SEC East in the conference championship game, they'll have a fairly simple road to Pasadena.