Could Alabama Win a Third Straight National Title Next Year?
Monday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 42-14, for their second straight national title, and third in four years. Could they make it three straight next year?
Head Coach Nick Saban said after the game in two days he is going to start preparing for next year. That's crazy.
The Crimson Tide will also return quarterback A.J. McCarron, who has more national championships than losses as a starter. In his two BCS national championship games, McCarron is 43 for 62 for 498 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Last night, he was 8 of 9 with two touchdowns on Alabama's first three scoring drives.
Alabama All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley also said he will return for another year, and was named defensive player of the game in the BCS title game last night. Mosley led the Tide in tackles in 2012, and had eight tackles, one for a loss against Notre Dame.
The Tide also return freshman running back T.J. Yeldon, who ran 21 times for 107 yards and a score. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry. On the year, he rushed for 1,108 yards, 12 touchdowns, and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
They also return wideout Amari Cooper (six receptions for 105 yards, and two touchdowns vs. Notre Dame), LT Cyrus Kouandjio, RG Anthony Steen, LB Trey DePriest, LB Adrian Hubbard, LB Xzavier Dickson, CB Deion Belue, and S Vinnie Sunseri, S Haha Clinton-Dix (seven tackles and an interceptions against Notre Dame).
The Tide lose LG Chance Warmack, C Barrett Jones, TE Michael Williams, DE Damion Square, NG Jesse Williams, LB Nico Johnson, and S Robert Lester.
RB Eddie Lacy (2013 BCS offensive MVP, 20 carries for 140 yards, while averaging 7.0 yards per carry, and scoring one rushing and one receiving touchdown), RT D.J. Fluker, and CB Dee Milliner could declare early.
Next year, the Tide's biggest obstacle will be their schedule. They open against Virginia Tech in Atlanta, play at Texas A&M (lost at Alabama in 2012, and the Aggies return Heisman quarterback Johnny Manziel), home against Colorado State, Ole Miss, and Georgia State, at Kentucky, home against Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU, at Mississippi State, home against Chattanooga, and at Auburn. The Tide don't play against Georgia, who return quarterback Aaron Murray.
Other teams that will chase the Crimson Tide may be Oregon, or Ohio State. Chip Kelly is returning, along with DeAnthony Thomas, and Marcus Mariota. Ohio State went 12-0 in 2012, and couldn't compete for a title after being banned. They have Urban Meyer, and return quarterback Braxton Miller. Louisville may also make a run with Teddy Bridgewater.
The biggest task in quest to three peat will be to maintain their offensive line. Warmack and Jones are gone, and Fluker could be, too. However, it always seems that Saban reloads and finds ways to win a lot of games every year.
In Alabama's 2013 recruiting class, they already have 15 four-star players, four three-star players, and one two-star player. They have eight ESPN top-150 recruits.
Alabama should continue to roll as long as Nick Saban is head coach, and it certainly helps when your quarterback returns for a shot at a third straight national title.