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We've come to the defending national champions and all-but-assured preseason No. 1 team, the Alabama Crimson Tide. There's little doubt the Tide are in the midst of a dynastic stretch under Nick Saban, and there's no signs of things slowing down in Tuscaloosa just yet.
All that being said, Alabama is never guaranteed of perfection. As we mentioned earlier, Alabama, despite all of its success, has put together just one perfect season in the past 20 years. While an SEC title and another trip to the BCS National Championship Game may seem likely, we're not placing odds on those two outcomes—at least not here.
When figuring out the odds for perfection in 2013 for the Tide, we have to look at a whole gambit of complicated variables. First, let's look at experience. Alabama will return just 13 starters, seven on defense and just six on offense.
There are a lot of big losses in those departures, including Barrett Jones, Dee Milliner and Eddie Lacy. But if there's any coaching staff in the nation that can reload a talented team with one just as talented, it has to be the boys at Alabama.
Speaking of coaches, they figure into our next variable. From top to bottom, there likely isn't a staff as good anywhere at any level as the one Saban has put together in Tuscaloosa. We're not so dumb to compare the skill at Alabama to anything in the NFL (although some people are exactly that dumb), but there are few that even come close in the college world.
Finally, we're going to take a gander at Alabama's 2013 schedule. Games on the road against Virginia Tech (neutral) and at Texas A&M could be potential stumblers, but beyond that, the Tide were gift-wrapped a schedule by the SEC. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee and LSU all travel to Tuscaloosa while the Tide only need to visit always bad Kentucky, not-as-advertised Mississippi State and listless Auburn.
Another SEC joke of a nonconference schedule which “features” Colorado State, first-year FBS program Georgia State and FCS Chattanooga. It doesn't matter what former connections Alabama had to Georgia State (former GSU head coach Bill Curry coached Alabama from 1987 to 1989, winning the program's first SEC title since the Bear Bryant years), there's no excuse for scheduling a team like the Panthers. And Curry and the Tide didn't exactly part on the best of terms.
So what does all of this add up to when it comes to figuring out the odds of Alabama making through 2013 without a blemish? Well, if you're a fan of the Crimson Tide, you're going to like the answer.