Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Alabama Crimson Tide Biggest Key: Offense
Keep ending games right away. It’s not just that Alabama’s offense was unstoppable, it was unstoppable right away to end drives and games almost immediately.
153 to 44. That was the score after the first quarters.
229 to 92. That was the total second quarter scoring.
Bama didn’t let teams have a shot, doing the best job of crushing dreams and spirits by owning the early downs and not even letting it get to third down.
The passing game was beyond ridiculous on second down – hitting 82% with 14 touchdown passes and no picks. How good is that? Bama had a second down passer rating of 221.4, Ohio State was second with a rating of 197.8.
Others have come close – like Baker Mayfield’s 2017 Oklahoma and technically, Navy has made big plays happen on their few second down throws over the year – but the Tide passing game on second down might have been the best of all-time.
This year’s team has to come out clicking right away, too. There might be a whole slew of new parts replacing the historically great former guys. On the flip side …
Alabama Crimson Tide Biggest Key: Defense
Be better on third downs. There were times under Nick Saban when third down meant the opposing offense’s drive was over.
The 2011 D was a brick wall on third down, and the 2015 group was amazing, too.
Nitpicking time, but the 2020 Alabama D was Nick Saban’s worst over the last ten years on third downs – no other Tide defense came all that close to allowing opponents to get to 40%. Last year’s group allowed teams to convert on 42% of their chances.
Opponents had to take a whole lot of risks and shots to keep things going, and to be fair, a slew of the conversions came after the games were basically over. However, it’s a trend that can’t continue considering the Bama offense almost certainly won’t be quite as sharp.
Alabama Crimson Tide Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Bryce Young, Soph.
No pressure or anything, but if Alabama doesn’t win the national title, it’s not going to be because of the loaded defense, the solid kicking game, the coaching, the offensive line, or the running backs and receivers.
All Young has to do is 1) live up to the hype of being one of the nation’s top recruits of 2020, 2) replace Mac Jones – who’s coming off one of the greatest seasons of all-time – and 3) follow in the timeline with Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, Jake Coker, Blake Sims, AJ McCarron, and Greg McElroy.
Six of the last seven Tide quarterbacks – yeah, let’s lump together Hurts and Tagovailoa – won a national title, and Sims got to the College Football Playoff.
That’s all, Bryce. All you have to do is be historically good.
Alabama Crimson Tide Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Texas A&M, Oct. 9
Johnny Manziel might have given the Tide fits in an Aggie win in 2012 and in a blast of a firefight in 2013, but that’s been about it. Outside of a decent game in 2017, A&M hasn’t brought much of a challenge to the series over the last six years.
This is when Jimbo Fisher and his program have to prove that the gap has closed.
Bama will already have played at Florida, and it’ll still have LSU and Auburn to go, but this might be for the SEC West title. A&M doesn’t have to play Florida or Georgia, and it should roll through the rest of the slate until the regular season finale at LSU.
It might sound strange to say, but the Tide probably can’t lose this and win the SEC West.
2020 Alabama Crimson Tide Fun Stats
– 1st Half Scoring: Alabama 382 – Opponents 136
– Fumbles: Opponents 25 (lost 10) – Alabama 10 (lost 8)
– Average Yards Per Pass: Alabama 11 – Opponents 6.6