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Pundits on the Tide: Athlon

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Magazine racks at bookstores and grocery stores are full of college football preview magazines. The range of predictions about our beloved Crimson Tide are quite varied as opposed to USC, who is picked to win it all by pretty much everyone. Over the next several days, we'll have a look at what the various magazines have to say about Alabama's 2007 campaign.

Prediction:
SEC: 3rd in the West
Nationally: 29th

Athlon breaks down each teams schedules with predicted wins, predicted losses and then games that can go either way. Here's how they view Alabama's schedule:

Wins
Western Carolina
Vanderbilt
Houston
Ole Miss
Mississippi State
Louisiana-Monroe

Losses
LSU

Too Close to Call
Arkansas
Georgia
Florida State
Tennessee
Auburn

Many people are predicting LSU to lose to USC in the BCS title game and I suppose that's the reason that Alabama is picked to lose to LSU, but I would think the home field advantage combined with the emotion around the game of Saban coaching against his former team would also make this one too close to call. Outside of the LSU game, I can't really complain with their take on the season as far as wins and losses are concerned.

Here is Athlon's unit rankings of Alabama within the SEC:

Position QB RB WR OL DL LB DB
Rank
7
11
3
2
7
7
3

Athlon (like many others) seems to think Alabama's OL is going to be among the best in the league. Hopefully the prognosticators are right because I`m tired of watching our quarterbacks run for their lives on every snap. Obviously Smith and Caldwell are excellent linemen but you have to hope the line as a whole has improved under the new coaching staff. In other unit rankings, who would have ever thought Alabama would have one of the worst ranked running back groups in the conference?

In addition to predictions and analysis of individual units, there are also feature articles on several different teams. Unsuprisingly, with the arrival of Coach Saban, Alabama is one of the teams to receive treatment in a feature story. The article is titled "Not All Dreams Are Great." The story is one we've all read a million times: Alabama fans are crazy, the average Alabama fan has too much influence over the program and they view themselves as a coach's "collective boss," etc.

The story begins with tales from Bill Curry about how intense things are at the Capstone. The author states that Alabama might appear like a dream job but can actually be a professional nightmare. The story talks about Grobe, Rodriguez and others whose names were listed as potential candidates for the job. There are also quotes from Jeff Tedford about how the dismissal of Shula was "disturbing." Basically, it's a yawn of a read and stuff we've read repeatedly and can expect to continue to read.

Even though the feature left me unimpressed overall, you have to love this quote:

Say what you want about what Auburn has accomplished over the past 25 years, including winning 15 games against the Tide...the Tigers remain Bama's little brother. (emphasis mine)