What’s Alabama going to do this season? What’s going to happen in each game and how with the 2016 Crimson Tide football schedule play out?
Sept. 3 USC (in Arlington)
The Alabama football schedule kicks off against USC, and the Trojans will have a major chip on their shoulders – they have a longer Week 1 win streak than the Crimson Tide. USC might not have the power, and it might not have the physicality – all apologies for going Jesse Palmer there – but Bama needs some reworking. It’s going to be a fight.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 27, USC 24
Sept. 10 Western Kentucky
This isn’t the same Hilltopper team that cranked up the offense on the way to the Conference USA title last season. Even so, it’ll be a nice test for the secondary before kicking off the SEC season against …
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 38, WKU 13
Sept. 17 at Ole Miss
Can the Rebels really beat Nick Saban three times in a row? If they lose the opener to Florida State, they’ll be desperate, and not just jazzed up for the three-peat. Chad Kelly will have a long, long day, but the Crimson Tide offense will struggle, too, until grinding away a late drive to finally put it away.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 26, Ole Miss 16
Sept. 24 Kent State
It’s Nick Saban going against his alma mater in an exhale game after Ole Miss. The Golden Flashes have just enough of a defense to keep this from getting out of hand, but the offense won’t go anywhere.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 41, Kent State 3
Oct. 1 Kentucky
With massive showdowns to follow, the Crimson Tide have to put this game away without breaking a sweat. It’ll take a half to do it, but there won’t be any problem shutting down the Wildcat attack at home.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 31, Kentucky 10
Oct. 8 at Arkansas
Bret Bielema is way overdue to win a game like this. His team may not be quite as physical as he might like, and no one out-punches Alabama, but this will be a war of attrition with both running games being just effective enough to make for a tense watch.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 23, Arkansas 17
Oct. 15 at Tennessee
Will this be the breakthrough/breakout moment for the Vols program under Butch Jones? Not really, considering Florida and Georgia will already be in the books, but obviously this is going to be a really, really big deal. Alabama will be coming off the Arkansas game, and will have already faced USC and Ole Miss, too, without a break – this is where the first loss comes in heartbreaking fashion. Tennessee will actually win a game in the fourth quarter.
Preseason Prediction: Tennessee 26, Alabama 20
Oct. 22 Texas A&M
There was a time when this was the stop-the-world college football showdown, and it could be again if Trevor Knight does to Bama what he pulled off for Oklahoma in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. A week after not being able to handle the mobility of Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs, the Crimson Tide defense will get to Mr. Knight.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 34, Texas A&M 17
Nov. 5 at LSU
Coming off a desperately-needed bye week on the schedule, Alabama will look like refreshed and renewed in the slugfest of all slugfests. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, LSU gets the week off, too. Leonard Fournette won’t go wild, but he’ll do enough to make this his Heisman-winning moment on a brilliant late run.
Preseason Prediction: LSU 23, Alabama 20
Nov. 12 Mississippi State
Will Alabama still have its focus after losing two games and the national title chase being all but over? Not really, but it won’t matter in a lifeless win.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 30, Mississippi State 13
Nov. 19 UT-Chattanooga
As always, the dopey national media will dog the Alabama football schedule for this cupcake late in the season, but as I have to say every year, no one would’ve said boo if this came in Week 2 right after USC.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 45, UT-Chattanooga 0
Nov. 26 Auburn
As is customary, the Alabama football schedule will end with the annual showdown against Auburn. And just when it seems like the Iron Bowl sort of doesn’t matter – LSU will have the West wrapped up by this point – the rivalry instinct will kick in making this a wild and intense battle. The Tigers will show up for three quarters, and then the Bama ground game will kick in.
Preseason Prediction: Alabama 38, Auburn 24
2016 SEC Prediction: 6-2
2016 Overall Prediction: 10-2