Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Alabama loses Dee Milliner to the NFL draft this spring, and that puts a bit of a speed bump in the path of the defense in 2013. Luckily for Alabama, there are a couple of things working in its favor next year:
1. Coach Nick Saban.
2. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
Alabama finished first in the nation against the long play in 2012 with only 118 given up, and the Tide finished first against the long run. That's the defensive coordinator's job, and he does it extremely well.
Alabama's defense consistently performs at a national-championship level, and the three championships in four seasons is quite enough to prove that claim. Alabama will always return one of the nation's best defenses, even if it's not a national-championship contender, as long as Saban is at the helm.
As far as Saban's performance against the spread goes, his last major encounter with it was in 2009 against Florida. At the time, Urban Meyer was in charge of the Gators, and Tim Tebow was the signal-caller.
Saban whipped up a plan that sent the Gators home with a 32-13 loss in the SEC Championship Game. So why isn't Alabama ranked first on this list? The last slide tells all.