The Alabama Crimson Tide win their first national championship since 1992 and what do they get as a consalation prize? One of, if not "the", toughest schedule to have to manuever in the country.
Alabama's conference schedule is the same as last year except for one game. They trade the Kentucky Wildcats, who seem to be getting better and better each year, for the SEC runner up Florida Gators. The Gators may have lost basically their whole team to this year's draft, but, like 'Bama, they have had top 5 recruiting classes that they can plug in and stay competitive.
The bad news for Alabama is that South Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn all get bye weeks before playing the Tide. Yes you read that correctly. Six different conference opponents get 2 weeks to get ready for Alabama. No other team in the country can say that they have to face that many foes that get 2 weeks to prepare for them.
The good news for the Crimson Tide is that the SEC is looking to fix that problem. In an article on al.com, SEC spokesman Charles Bloom is quoted as saying that this problem could be fixed in the next couple of months. This would be huge for Alabama. It's hard enough to make it through the SEC without having to face half the league that is getting an extra week to prepare for you.
The schedule gets slightly easier with the non-conference foes, but not too much. Alabama doesn't have to face a top 10 ACC team, but instead have to face a potential top 10 Penn State team the second week of the season and travel to a Duke team the third week that is getting closer to being a contender in the ACC.
The only 2 breaks that the Crimson Tide get next season, other than the bye week, is the first game against San Jose St. and week 12 against Georgia State. One thing is for sure this up coming season, nobody can say that Alabama hasn't earned a shot to be in the national championship if they run the table again.