Alabama Destined To Challenge For SEC Title

Ted Leroux @@TedLerouxCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2008

After a successful season in 2006, Mike Shula and the Alabama Crimson Tide  entered 2007 with high expectations but the only thing high at the end of the year was the number in the loss column which resulted in the firing of Mike Shula and the eventual hiring of Nick Saban.

The fans of the Alabama program embraced Nick Saban immediately because he would bring back the two things that made Alabama a premier place to play college football: talent through recruiting and a top ranked defence.

When Saban got the Alabama job he wasted no time trying to make his team better. He did this by getting commits like Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson, both of whom eventually started for the Alabama defence.

He also persuaded defensive end Luther Davis to change his commitment from LSU to Alabama just before signing day. He did miss out on some top talent as former Alabama recruits QB Robert Marve and WR Earl Alexander bolted for Miami(FL) but both players ended up suffering season ending injuries.

Once the season started Saban and Crimson Tide delivered starting 6-0 and landing inside the Top 15 for the first time since 2006.They suffered their first loss to Georgia on a Saturday night game that ended in overtime on a miraculous TD grab by Georgia senior WR Mikey Henderson.

Later on in the year they faced off against LSU and were leading by 10 points with 12 minutes left in the game but they eventually lost in a nail-biter to the eventual national champion LSU Tigers. The season ended with a 30-24 win against Colorado in the PetroSun Independence Bowl which gave them great momentum headed into the 2008 campaign.

It came recruiting season for the Alabama Crimson Tide coaching staff following 2007 and boy did they deliver. The Tide landed top WR Julio Jones who posses Randy Moss size and athleticism. They also found the heir apparent to John Parker Wilson by picking up Star Jackson who is a mobile quarterback that fits perfectly into the Alabama system.

Getting OL Tyler Love was also huge because he should be able to anchor an already strong offensive line to protect Wilson better this year.

Athletes Burton Scott and Mark Barron both could play effectively and either side of the ball this upcoming year and star defensive recruits LB Jerrell Harris and DB Alonzo Lawrence should give Nick Saban the talent he needs to build the best defence in the SEC.

Now I'm sure everyone has heard the saying "Defense wins Championships" but that is not the only strength for the Crimson Tide heading into 2008. Their offense should be much improved despite the departure of Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite.

WR Julio Jones should play an extremely vital role because he is the "Go-to Guy" that the Tide offense was missing. My reasoning behind the logic that says the Crimson Tide will compete for the 2008 championship will be that their only competition in the West will be LSU and Auburn.

The Tide have Auburn at home and Auburn is adapting to a new spread offense which they will likely struggle with because their lack of receivers.

On the other hand LSU is a road game, but it is a winnable game because of the absence of Ryan Perriloux and a defence that will suffer from the loses of Glenn Dorsey and Chevis Jackson.

So the schedule is in favor of Alabama and hopefully for a change lady luck will be wearing Crimson and White.

In my opinion the end result should be a successful one because of the incoming talent brought in by Nick Saban and the leadership of John Parker Wilson who grew up in Hoover, AL, played for U of A feeder school Hoover High and now will lead his team, the Crimson Tide, to better and brighter things in Tuscaloosa.