After claiming three national championships in the last four years—including the last two BCS crystal footballs—Alabama is primed for a run at a three-peat this fall.
The 2013 season is still a little more than six months away, but odds are when the first polls come out, a familiar powerhouse will open up with top billing (h/t, Mark Schlabach, ESPN).
Nick Saban’s club is loaded for a journey into the history books with a veteran quarterback (senior AJ McCarron), a pair of the nation’s top skill players (running back T.J. Yeldon and receiver Amari Cooper) and seven starters off a defense that finished atop the national standings in several categories last season.
With a schedule that features two marquee games to begin the season, the rest of the slate for the Tide appears favorable—especially in conference play.
The Sept. 14 showdown at Texas A&M—the only team to defeat the Tide last season, and the presumed top challenger in the SEC West this season—will be a game that has SEC and national title ramifications.
Otherwise, the Tide gets Ole Miss and LSU at home with road trips at Mississippi State and Auburn (in addition to the date with the Aggies) serving as their toughest contests away from home.
Bye weeks come before arguably the Tide’s two toughest contests in the weeks prior to facing the Aggies and LSU at home on Nov. 9.
How will the 2013 schedule unfold, and will the Tide roll to its first unbeaten regular season since 2009?
I’ll take a peek ahead by making some way too early picks of every game on the Tide’s 2013 schedule.