When you're at the top, there's nowhere to go but down. For the Alabama Crimson Tide, that is the unfortunate lot.
The polls tend to choose the previous year's national champ to stay at No. 1 going into the next year. Should this be the case for the Tide?
While the Tide returns the best team in the country in terms of raw talent, experience is rare on defense. There will definitely be some mistakes by the many new contributors.
'Bama also lost winners on special teams, with Kicker Leigh Tiffin, Punter P.J. Fitzgerald, and all-star kick returner Javier Arenas all graduating.
While Alabama returns solid experience on offense, I would feel more comfortable if Alabama would be ranked at least at the number two spot.
Nick Saban, the Alabama coach, loves to motivate the Tide by showing them how the media picked against them before a game. Since Alabama is thought of so highly right now, it will miss this key factor until it loses a game.
Another negative aspect of being no. 1 is that every team that plays against you will probably have the date circled on the calendar. The problem compounds for Alabama when six opponents are enjoying a leisurely bye week before facing the Crimson Tide.
History also has not been very kind to national champions trying to repeat, with the last team to do so being Nebraska in '94 and '95.
Alabama already had it tough with all the opponents' bye weeks, but being pegged with the No. 1 ranking has made the chances of getting through another season undefeated very slim.