Over/ Under On the Alabama Football 2013 Season

USA TODAY Sports

Roll 'Bama Roll takes a slightly different approach at predicting the success of the 2013 season.

RBR has spent nearly seven months breaking down the 2012 season ad nauseum. During spring practice we recapped both sides of the line of scrimmage, what players we've lost, who we gained, advanced stats for both the offense and defense and we are currently looking at the top plays from the season. At this point, if y'all are OK with it, I think we can put 2012 to rest.

Looking ahead to 2013 there are a few question marks on both sides of the ball : Do we have leadership/ focus problems? Can the defense replace so many key role players and starters yet still play at the ridiculous high level we've all come to expect? Who will be the new Lacy and Yeldon? Can the newly rebuilt offensive line replace three starters and keep AJ McCarron on his feet? How many Heisman's will Yeldon win this year? I'm sure at some point over the next month or so we will cover those questions but honestly they have already been covered by nearly every blogger East AND West of the Mississippi. Thanks Bleacher Report.

Also, not to sound too much like a gump but if at this point in the Saban era you are still hand wringing over these same issues that come up EVERY year, then my friend you have trust issues. Outside of the problems surrounding the infamous 2010 campaign, a team that still went 10-3 BTW, every Saban led team (sans 2007) came out of Spring practice and responded with a resounding gong to the question marks surrounding the team. So honestly, do we really expect this team to react any differently?

So, instead of arguing over the same tired debates I propose a different way to "predict" the 2013 season. Using the success of the 2012 Offense and Defense as a baseline, we'll predict whether the 2013 stats will be Over/ Under.

I'll post the totals with my predictions, you explain how wrong I am in the comments. It's the RBR way..

OVER/ UNDER ON THE 2013 OFFENSE

Rushing

Attempts

Total Yards

Yards Per Game

TD's

Fumbles Lost / Rank

570

3185

227

37

12/ 77th

Total Attemtps: Under (- 500)

Total Yards: Under

Yards Per Game: Under

TD's: Under

Fumbles Lost: Over

Explanation: The 2012 offense had more rushing attempts than in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007. (601 attempts in 2008) Replacing three offensive lineman won't come without its hiccups, especially early in the year. So, expect to see play calling shift towards passing attempts until the O-line figures things out. I don't believe the O-line to be a liability but I just don't see them being the workhorse we saw last season. Though we have the deepest running back group in the SEC, and probably the entire country, I believe the total numbers as a group will drop from 2012.

(Side note: the Bama offense under Saban has only broken the 3k mark in total rushing yards twice. '09 and '12)

'Bama had two backs go for 1,000 yards last year. Expecting that to happen again and then expecting to gain an additional 1200 yards behind a green O-line is pushing it.

Passing

Rank

Total Yards

Comp %

Yards Per Play

TD's

INT's

Total Sacks / Rank

Sacks per Game

75th

3052

66.77%

9.3

31

3

23 / 45th

1.68

Total Yards: Over

Comp %: Push

Yards Per Play: Over

TD's: Over

INT's: Over

Sacks: Over (ugh)

Sacks per Game: Over

Explanation: Senior QB, Wide Receiver depth like Alabama has possibly never seen and what could be a solid pass blocking O-line = more passing yards/attempts. 'Bama will still be a balanced offense and AJ will have a mid 60ish completion percentage but in 2013 the pressure will be on the passing game to produce and help set up the run. No, this won't be a run and gun offense but expect Coach Nuss to open things up just a tad. And then expect things to return to normal by mid season (please god no hurry up offense like we saw against UGA)

Passing Efficiency

Rank

Attempts

Completions

Comp %

Int

Int %

Yds

Yds per att

TDs

TD Pct

Rating

1st

328

219

66.77

3

.91

3052

9.30

31

9.45

174.32

Attempts: Over

Completions: Under

INT %: Push

TD %: Over

Rating: Push

Explanation: Again, I expect to see more passing attempts (my guess about 370-390) from this years offense. (HOT SPROTS TAKES) Logically, more passes = more interceptions. MATH. However, I don't believe the INT % will change (+/- 2%). AJ is about as safe with the football as college football has ever seen. But expecting him to continue only throwing 3 interceptions, while also increasing his attempts, is gumpdiculous.

Total

Offense

Rank

Total plays

Rushing

Passing

TD's

Total Yards

Total Yards Per Game

Total Yds Per Play

31st

898

570

328

71

6237

445

6.95

Total Plays: Over

Rushing: Under

Passing: Over

Total TD's: Push

Yards Per Game: Over

Yards Per Play: Over

Explanation: This is where predicting the season gets a tad clumsy cause the 2012 offense out worked it's previous brethren in almost every category. (Shockingly enough, AJ actually attempted more passes in 2011 than in 2012.) And again, the success of the offense largely rests on the offensive line struggling or not. I don't expect them (the O-line) to be like 2012 (that's just not a fair comparison) but 2011-level may be realistic. If they do and the passing game lives up to the hype, watch out.

But what happens if 'Bama once again builds big leads like we've seen over the last two years and is forced to shutdown the offense by halftime late in the 3rd? Do the numbers continue to rise or do they drop back down to more Sabanesque levels?

3rd Down Efficiency

Rank

3rd-down Attempts

3rd-down Conversions

Pct

16th

167

80

47.90

Rank: Under

3rd Down Percent: Under

Explanation: Historically, under Saban, the Alabama offense has performed relatively well on 3rd down — averaging 42.88%, with the lowest total in 2007 (37.88) The top ranked team last year was A&M with 54%. (Hello Manziel scrambles)

My gut tells me the passing game will be dynamic enough to force opposing defenses to respect the pass on 3rd and Mid (meaning safeties can't come up in run support) which should allow for more running lanes. Hope for the best.

Red-Zone Efficiency

Rank

Drives

Scores

Points

Rush TD

Pass TD

FG

Pct

12th

62

56

352

32

14

10

.90

Rank: Under

Rush TD's: Under

Pass TD's: Over

Field Goals: Over

Percent: Under

Explanation: This was probably the greatest area the 2012 improved on from previous years, especially from 2011 (46 TD's in '12 compared to only 32 in '11). It seemed like we couldn't buy a TD in 2011, hello LSU.

2013 all comes down to the offensive line, again. If we can move bodies and run the ball inside the 20, we should actually increase from 2012. However, if we are forced to rely on the passing game to produce TD's in the Red Zone expect a repeat of 2011. I'm not sure what the issues are but once we get inside the 20, the Alabama offense becomes predictable and boring. Just pray we don't have a redo of 2009, ugh.

Hashtag Run The Dang Ball

Tackles for Loss Allowed

Rank

Total

Per Game

Total Yards

15h

63

4.50

288


Rank: Over

Total: Over

Per Game: Over

Explanation: Mitigating "Tackles for Loss Allowed" is a combo of a good offensive line and having running backs who avoid being tackled behind the LOS. And is there a better team out there in both areas than Alabama? (Apparently like 14 or something but who's counting?)

How many times did we see defenders shoot the gap, square up on TJ or Eddie (really just dive at their feet) and then completely whiff on the tackle? About 20 times in the National Championship game alone. Whoever the #2 running back ends up being, he better be good at avoiding these type of tackles. That's not to say the O-line will be weak at the point of attack but 63 is an incredibly low number for the bar to be set at (Bama had 71 in '11).

Summary

This is a hard one to call. On the one hand you have the fact the Alabama offense has steadily risen each year under Saban. Add to that the return of a senior QB, 3-4 big time wide receiver targets and 18 running backs to hand the ball too. On the other hand you have a rebuilt offensive line and if they don't play well the whole offense could be shut down.

BOLD PREDICTION TIME: The 2013 Offense will actually be better than its predecessor. Call me a gump but I trust in Saban. There will be some struggles early on (just like there were last year) but I expect the O-line will come together and play at a high level.

Another factor is that this time around we have Amari starting from game #1. Coop is a match-up nightmare who will undoubtedly demand safety help. Hello, man to man coverage for the other WR's. Think 2009 and 2010 Julio Jones but with a much better WR supporting cast.

So, where am I wrong?

Next week we'll tackle the defense.

Stats provided by NCAA.com and CFBstats.com

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