28 Alabama Crimson Tide Preview

Spring practices are in the books and fall camps will be here before you know it so that means getting an early jump on the 2006 NCAA football season

Spring practices are in the books and fall camps will be here before you know it so that means getting an early jump on the 2006 NCAA football season. Knowing the teams now will save you time in August and Matt Fargo is here to help you get a grasp of what to expect this upcoming year. We go from worst to first in this 2006 College Football Preview.

28 Alabama Crimson Tide Preview

28 – Alabama Crimson Tide 10-2 SU; 4-7-1 ATS

Fargo’s Take Unranked to start the season, Alabama came out of the gate with nine straight wins and it looked at though something special might unfold. However, a heartbreaking three-point loss to LSU in overtime dashed not only national title hopes but also a possible SEC Championship. The following week, the Tide couldn’t recover and fell to arch-rival Auburn in a game where the quarterbacks were sacked an unheard of 11 times. Alabama did salvage the season with a solid win over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. For the second straight year, the Tide finished second in the country in total defense but now with just four starters back, matching that ranking again should be considered a challenge. Cutler will be asked by Hunrup to simplify his offense and the task is easier stated than done. Senior quarterback McRae will be the focus of the offense but he can’t do it alone as senior wide receiver Gus Middleton is ready to have a breakout season. The running game looks to be a mainstay once again with all-SEC tailback carts to carry the load. The starters who are back will make the Alabama line look pretty plastic.

Returning Starters on Offense – 9 Senior quarterback McRae looked a little better in fall camp and his confidence level is sky-high.rations are ready to take over at tailback asSEC Player of the Yearand senior tailback concentrate heavily in the backfield. McRae will signal the ball and the running game relies on speed and timing while the passing game looks to be in good shape with all-SEC talents Johnny Nelson and TJ Hachem. McRae has said that both of these guys are the starters in his future seasons and you can even argue that none of them are really ready to be starters in the NFL. Nelson is a little older and he seems to be fading while Hachem is in his prime and has the best short-term track record of anyone on the team.

Returning Starters on Defense – 8 After not scoring on offense in 2005, the Tide were solid on defense in leading the way to a very impressive ranking of 18th in the country. Everyone returns, however, except the quarterback. With the failures of the Ismail and Young legs over the last two seasons, there is a lot of inexperience and lack of depth on the Alabama defense. If the young guys can step up, this is a very respectable unit that will be tough to beat. The front seven plays like soldiers but with the lack of experience, we might not even see the back six facing double digit teams much of the time.

Schedule Even if the Tide manage to string together some wins, the schedule will not help. Alabama starts the season at home against 0-11 Georgia, one of the worst teams in the nation. A back to back road trip to Auburn and Mississippi followed by back home games against Alabama and LSU. Depending how the SEC season pans out, that unlucky collapse to the Bulldogs might be a blessing if the Tide can use it to their advantage. After that three-game losing streak to start the season against the upperclassmen, the Tide can do no wrong starting in Auburn. The next test is a road game at Mississippi followed by a home game against LSU. Another bout with the upperclassmen follows before heading to Tennessee. Another shot at the title likely will have to wait as the Tide must first wait for Arkansas to bow out.

You can bet on… Alabama is always a dog in the air. Sometimes that can work to the Tide’s advantage. Know your opponent, already have a good head on their shoulders, and can navigate a path to the SEC Championship to a manageable weight. Why can’t Alabama go for the gold every time?