TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football has made the College Football Playoff in each of the three years it has existed.
Will that change this season?
Here are some reasons Alabama may not make the College Football Playoff. On Thursday, we looked at why the Crimson Tide will make the playoff.
Tough early opponent
Florida State may be the best opponent Alabama has played in any season-opening game under Nick Saban.
There’s a strong chance these teams are both ranked inside the top 5 or even the top 3 once preseason polls come out.
At last check, VegasInsider.com had Alabama at 15/4 odds to win the 2017 national championship. Ohio State is next at 11/2 followed by Florida State and USC at 15/2.
How would Alabama respond if it slipped in this game? That’s interesting to think about.
At some point, all of those key losses on defense will catch up with Alabama, right?
It hasn’t to this point. Outside of 2014, Alabama has fielded a top-5 defense every year since 2008. In 2014, Alabama’s defense ranked 12th.
Still, Alabama lost a lot of talent and leadership from the defense last year. That can’t be ignored. Alabama needs a lot of players to step up and fill holes if the Crimson Tide hope to field another top defense.
Question marks at key positions
Alabama is an extremely talented team, but as Saban said after spring practice, the Crimson Tide are not elite yet. There are three areas of concern — the right side of the offensive line, kicker and left cornerback.
Lester Cotton seems set at right guard, but is Matt Womack the answer at right tackle? Or will a freshman contribute there? January enrollee Alex Leatherwood could make a push. There’s also an outside chance of summer enrollee Jedrick Wills getting a look on the right side of the line.
After watching A-Day, there’s little doubt that incoming freshman Joseph Bulovas will be the starting kicker when he steps on campus this summer. Alabama doesn’t want JK Scott handling both punting and kicking duties, so look for Bulovas to start at kicker.
At cornerback, Trevon Diggs might be the most important player on defense. If Diggs can hold down that spot, that would allow Alabama to keep Minkah Fitzpatrick at safety, where his playmaking and leadership will be most effective.
If Alabama fixes these issues, look for another championship run.