Alabama Football: 3 Teams Nick Saban Wants to Avoid in BCS

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystOctober 22, 2013

Alabama Football: 3 Teams Nick Saban Wants to Avoid in BCS

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    Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are looking to make it to a third consecutive BCS title game.
    Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are looking to make it to a third consecutive BCS title game.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    At 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, Alabama is on track to make an appearance in a BCS bowl for the fifth time in seven seasons under Nick Saban.

    The main goal for the Tide, of course, is to try and capture its third-consecutive BCS national championship. 

    While there’s a lot of football left to be played until the postseason matchups become finalized, forecasting the potential blockbuster pairings will be a popular topic on blogs, message boards, TV and radio shows from now until early December. 

    There’s no question that Alabama is college football’s top dog, but there are a few teams who have emerged as legitimate contenders who stand in the way of the Tide’s march to history. 

    Which teams would provide the stiffest test for the two-time defending national champions in a BCS bowl?

Baylor

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    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    If there’s one team that appears to be the polar opposite of Alabama, it’s the Baylor program led by Art Briles. 

    According to cfbstats.com, Baylor leads the nation in total offense, averaging a ridiculous 713 yards of total offense per game.  However, the reason that the No. 5 Bears are a legit contender to make a run at a BCS bowl is because of a defense that ranks 11th nationally in total defense

    The Bears are unbeaten at 6-0, and they are in the driver’s seat in a wide-open race in the Big 12. 

    Alabama’s defense struggled mightily against Texas A&M’s dynamic offense, and the tempo and speed with which Baylor operates is capable of giving any team in the country problems on defense—including the Tide. 

Florida State

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    Nick Saban’s influence has been felt all over the college football universe, particularly in places such as Tallahassee, Fla.  That’s where Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, who served as an assistant for Saban at LSU, has slowly resurrected the ‘Noles program into a powerhouse. 

    Furthermore, when Fisher was looking for a defensive coordinator to replace Mark Stoops (who took the head coaching job at Kentucky), he turned to the Alabama staff to pluck former Tide defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt to fill the vacancy. 

    With freshman phenom quarterback and Alabama native Jameis Winston, Florida State is the clear-cut favorite to emerge from the ACC as a national title contender.

    The Seminoles are almost a mirror image of the Crimson Tide, and given their familiarity with the Tide’s schemes and principles, a meeting between the two powers would be one of the more interesting possible matchups in the upcoming bowl season.

Oregon

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    Alabama and Oregon have seemingly been on a crash course to meet in a bowl game for the last few years. 

    Oregon has made it into a BCS bowl in each of the last four years, and Alabama has accomplished the same feat in four of the last five seasons.  The Tide and the Ducks have held down the top two spots in the polls for most of the season, and there’s little to suggest that either won’t be there at season’s end. 

    The Ducks' high-flying offense is piloted by Heisman contender and quarterback Marcus Mariota.

    Matching Mark Helfrich’s uptempo scheme against Saban and Kirby Smart’s bruising and physical defense would certainly please the suits that govern the BCS and the powers that be at ESPN while simultaneously giving fans across the country a matchup seemingly everyone has been dying to see.