What are the chances that the Crimson Tide repeats as National Champions? Can Bama really expect such a lofty feat? The optimist says “HELL YEAH, ROLL TIDE!”
The realist channels my inner Brent Musberger and says “Now, hold on a minute pardner [sic].”
The reason for my caution: Arguably the toughest four-game stretch in October-November faced by any team in the country.
September treats Alabama to games away from Tuscaloosa against USC and Ole Miss, but the October slate for Alabama would spook anyone. This all-SEC gauntlet features road trips to two schools that will enter the season ranked and will make or break Alabama's chances of three-peating as SEC champs and returning to the College Football Playoff for a third consecutive season.
There are actually three road games during that stretch, with visits to Fayetteville, Knoxville and Baton Rouge. Teas A&M visits the Tide during the stretch, but there’s every reason to think that the Aggies’ Kevin Sumlin could have his team playing well and smelling blood.
Per Bleacher Report (I know, I know):
That leaves the tough three-game span from October 15 to November 5—at Tennessee, Texas A&M and at LSU—a stretch that would cause nearly any team to stumble and will more than test this team’s mettle.
BR’s Walsh doesn’t include the trip to the Hawg’s Fayetteville. While Arkansas still has a lot of questions, it’s still an SEC road trip.
If Alabama reaches this stretch unscathed, and if it wins three out of these four with a loss on the road, the chances are good that Bama makes the SEC Championship Game (perhaps with a rematch against Tennessee). Win that and a playoff berth is a slam dunk.
What happens there is a coin toss. It could go like the inaugural visit, where Bama gets booted in the first round. It coud play out and pit Alabama against, say, a hungry Ohio State.
The standard disclaimer: It’s way too early to start making predictions. The standard response to the standard disclaimer: Who the hell cares? it’s the offseason and we can talk about anything we damned well please.