LAS VEGAS — Brent Musburger sees Alabama rolling in 2017.
The legendary broadcaster stepped away from calling games for ESPN’s family of networks in January. But he has opinions about how the SEC and College Football Playoff will unfold during the upcoming college football season.
He expects the Crimson Tide to be a force again.
Speaking to SEC Country on Thursday after filming his show, My Guys in the Desert, at the South Point hotel and Casino as part of the new Vegas Stats & Information Network, Musburger gave his 2017 SEC and College Football Playoff picks. He’s big on the Crimson Tide’s potential to make another deep run.
Musburger worked for ABC and ESPN from 1990 until moving on. He also worked for CBS Sports from 1973-90. Late in his career with ESPN, he called college football and college basketball for the SEC Network from 2014-17.
Check out Musburger’s selections below, as well as his short explanations for the choices.
SEC West champion: Alabama
Musburger: “You have to look at Alabama because of the great job Nick Saban has done as a coach.”
SEC East champion: Winner of Georgia vs. Florida
Musburger: “The coaching experience falls to [Florida coach Jim] McElwain. [Georgia coach] Kirby [Smart], I really like him. Let’s see what he does by his second year. There’s generally a lot of improvement. I was around the Dawgs several times last year, and I like the fact that they’ve got the quarterback [Jacob Eason] back.”
SEC champion: Alabama
Musburger: “You can’t pick against Alabama. LSU, I’m very fond of them, but their road schedule is not good. And they contributed to that themselves. They’ve got nobody to blame but themselves for that. They could have worked with the Gators and done that game [that was postponed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016]. So, that may come back to bite them this year. They have a good football team. I think [LSU coach Ed Orgeron] is going to do well as a coach.”
College Football Playoff teams: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Washington
Musburger: “I went with four coaches that I covered a lot and really respect. I think Saban, [Florida State coach Jimbo] Fisher, [Ohio State coach] Urban [Meyer] and [Washington coach Chris] Petersen are at the top of their craft. I’m leaning in that direction. The way Nick has been able to retool in Tuscaloosa [is impressive], despite losing all those talented players.”
National championship game: Alabama vs. Florida State
Musburger: “They open the season in Atlanta, so I think that’s a preview of a possible national championship game.”
National champion: Alabama
Musburger: “Roll Damn Tide. Let me repeat it again. Roll Damn Tide.”