Nick Saban's second year at Alabama was a sign that Alabama's rise in the SEC was sure to come. With very little depth, Alabama went 12-0 that season & into the SEC championship game as the #1 team in the nation.
Last year Alabama won the National Championship with mediocre depth. Especially, in the most critical positions. Cory Reamer more than stepped up to the challenge of replacing Dont'a Hightower. Luckily, there were not anymore critical injuries.
This year the house is full, and the road back to Atlanta and and the BCS Title game is even easier than last year. Not that last year's run was easy by any means. My point is, that this years run will not be quite as difficult as so many people are making it out to be. If a player goes down at any position, Alabama is just as good with it's backup in. And so on..
Last year Alabama started out the season knocking off a highly ranked Virginia Tech team, that finished ranked in the top 10. Bama also beat 2 teams that finished in the top 20, on the way to to capping off the season with a beatdown of the #1 and #2 teams.
By season's end, it is not likely that Alabama will have played 5 teams that finish ranked in the top 20. It is not likely that Alabama will have to play such a highly ranked team in the SEC championship. It is not likely that Alabama will have to beat 3 teams that finish in the top 10, by seasons end. It is also not likely that The opponent in the BCS title game will be any better than Texas was.
Did you see Mark Ingram last night at the ESPYs? He looks like a 3rd year NFL Running Back. Trent Richardson is even bigger. It's already been proven that this duo cannot be stopped for 4 complete qtrs. You might slow one down, but by the end of the 3rd qtr. you cannot stop both. If you put 9 in the box, Julio Jones or Maze will be the beneficiaries.
Alabama's defense is faster, and there's more first round draft picks on the defense this year. Marcell Dareus, Dont'a Hightower, and Mark Barron are all projected to go in the first round of the NFL draft next season. That's a 1st rounder at every level of defense. More than Bama had last year.
This will be Nick Saban's best team yet. Saban has already raised the bar to all time highs in the SEC. With arguably the best strength and conditioning program in the league.. The six bye week opponents sounds like a brutal grind, when it is really being a little too over-hyped. Alabama had 4 SEC opponents coming off bye weeks last year.
You can say Alabama is set up for failure, the doom of the pre-season #1 ranking. You can say that Alabama will lose a game, and I'm not saying they won't lose a game. They can still lose a game, and win the National Title. We know this, because before last season the previous 3 champions from the SEC all had losses.
"The odds are against Alabama." No it's not. Alabama's road to another championship is not any tougher than it was last year. Alabama has always had a bulls eye on their backs, and have went 12-0 for two straight seasons.