Alabama Crimson Tide Predictions: Expect Greatness in 2011

Vernon CroyCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban is presented the trophy for winning the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When you're a preseason No. 2 team just a year removed from winning the national championship, with loads of talent and one of the best coaches in the nation, it's no secret why everyone looks to you as the favorites in college football picks for the upcoming season.

2011 Alabama football predictions have never been higher and the team is expected to stay near or at the top all season long, cruising into the BCS title game and coming home with another championship. Will Nick Saban and company get the job done?

Saban is, of course, a great coach and has had success right out of the gates with Alabama. After winning a championship with LSU, diverting to the NFL and then coming to Bama, he has already won a title as coach of the Crimson Tide and has his own statue in front of the stadium! Not too bad for just a few seasons of work, but Saban is never satisfied, so he still wants to achieve.

One of the most amazing things to consider is how they restock on talent. That's the signature of any team that is able to seriously contend year in and year out. Former Heisman winner Mark Ingram goes to the NFL, but in his place is Trent Richardson, now a frontrunner to win the Heisman himself. Out goes Julio Jones as a top-10 pick in the NFL, and in comes a wave of talented, quick and powerful wide receivers and skill position players.

Not only is there lots of new talent, but there's a surprisingly high amount of veterans and returning starters too, despite those departures. They have a shocking 16 returning starters, and that's a big reason why so many people are expecting so much from the unit.

All college football picks in the SEC can be a challenge, though. That's because there are so many hiccups and difficult games that lie in the way of a team making it the national championship.

All things considered, Bama's schedule isn't too tough. But they have an out of conference game against Penn State in the second week and they'll have to play SEC foes Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn.

Those are six legitimately tough games, and they'll need to win them all. Of course, that's before the SEC championship game, where they will have to meet someone like South Carolina or Florida for a second time.

As the preseason No. 2 team, anything less than a title would be viewed as a disappointment by the Crimson Tide faithful.

Whether or not they can live up to those college football picks by experts and fans is another question. But you never want to doubt Saban, especially not when he has put together as much talent as he has right now with this great team.