LSU vs Alabama Rematch: What Could Stop Each Team from Returning in 2013?

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Dont'a Hightower #30 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls the defense against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Making it to the national championship one year is a feat within itself, but doing it back-to-back years is an incredible feat.

Auburn and Oregon failed to do it this year, but LSU and Alabama both have legitimate chances to do it again in 2013.

So what would stop them from doing it?

For Alabama, the biggest problem is the NFL draft. There are nine seniors starting for the Tide right now, including five on defense and as many as six more could declare for the draft, including Heisman finalist Trent Richardson and leading tackler Dont’a Hightower.

A team simply cannot lose that much talent and expect to realistically compete for the national championship, especially not in the ridiculously difficult SEC West.

For LSU, the biggest problems are other teams—problems which Alabama would also have to overcome.

With Matt Barkley returning for USC, the Trojans are going to be a force in the Pac-12, as will Oregon, while the heavyweights in the Big Ten and ACC could surprise. Even TCU could put together enough pieces to legitimately contend for a national title.

But the biggest competition will be within the SEC. Arkansas and Auburn could both be dangerous if the Hogs can find wide receivers and the Tigers can find a quarterback.

The real threat, though, is in the SEC East with Georgia. Many of the Bulldogs players could declare early for the NFL draft, which would obviously hurt their national championship hopes, but if everyone stays, they would be returning 16 starters from this year’s team, including possibly the SEC’s best quarterback in Aaron Murray.

They are projected to have an easy schedule in the new SEC and will more than likely represent the division in the SEC championship.

Lose there and there is no way the Tigers make it to the national championship.