11 wins: Five titles in nine years has made Alabama’s win total extremely high under coach Nick Saban. At 11 this year, an unblemished record in the regular season is required to produce a winner in the 12-game regular season. Alabama finished undefeated in the regular season three times under Saban (2008, 2009 and 2016). It’s still a steep hill to climb. Alabama is the defending champ, a behemoth and will be picked by most to win the SEC and make the College Football Playoff ... but it’s really hard to predict perfection
CBS is already jumping in on Gump Day. 11 wins is a really easy bet though. As it’s almost been clockwork that the Tide loses one game it shouldn’t every year but go undefeated the rest of it.
To round out the list, Vanderbilt is at the bottom with a predicted 4 wins. Tennessee isn’t far behind with only 5.5. As things should be.
Near the end of the regular season last year, Rolando McClain went into Alabama’s inside linebacker meeting room and wrote out a challenge on the white board.
To beat it, a player had to produce statistically like McClain during one of his top games with the Crimson Tide while, like McClain during that game, making few -- if any -- mental mistakes.
For more than a month, no one checked all the boxes.
The player that finally did? Mack Wilson in the national title game. Making just his second career start, the then-sophomore posted a team-high 12 tackles and two tackles for a loss during Alabama’s win over Georgia.
If anything, it’s good to see Ro is in Tuscaloosa doing productive things around the sport of football, rather than out making headlines again.
Buy yes, Mack Wilson looks like he’ll be ready to take on the role of superstar middle-linebacker— a mainstay in any Saban defense. Mix him in with the unnaturally athletic Dylan Moses and a trio of edge-rushing terrors in Anfernee Jennings, Christian Miller, and Terrell Lewis and you’ve got the makings of potentially the best linebacker corps in the nation (and potentially even in Nick Saban’s entire run at Alabama... Though that 2016 group will be tough to beat).
Frankly, Alabama’s recruiting situation had more than a few baffled this time last year.
Riding a streak of seven straight No. 1 classes, the Crimson Tide had just four commitments by mid-June 2017. It didn’t crack the top 50 of the rankings until the fifth pledge arrived in late June to push Nick Saban’s bunch to No. 47.
A year later, it’s safe to say the anomaly didn’t become a trend.
Really now?? And here I thought last year’s abysmal #6 rating signaled the demise of the Nick Saban era and the total destruction of all things crimson and happy.
After last season’s slow start, Saban did have to scramble to pull in some recruits at the last minute and was obviously affected by the timing changes that came with the new Early Signing Period. But as they say: “fool me once....”
This time around, Saban is recruiting with a vengeance. The class is already significantly better than most programs will ever see in there entire existence, and it’s not even really picked up some of the biggest names yet. If Saban can add another couple of 5-stars as he fills out the remaining slots, this could rival the 2017 class.
“I like what I’ve seen so far,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said of Harrison during OTAs. “We’re not in pads. I think that’s a big part of his game from what you saw in college -- being able to tackle well in space. I think the thing that we’re impressed with is that coming from the school that he came from, Alabama, and coach (Nick) Saban and his background being a defensive-backs coach, I don’t think there’s really anything you can throw at - and not just Ronnie, but any of those defensive backs that played at Alabama - there’s not really anything you can throw at them coverage-wise and scheme-wise and even technique-wise that maybe they haven’t seen before.
”He’s matter of fact and does a good job and studies and is smart, really picking things up, so that’s exciting. And now we’re looking for the transfer. Obviously, we have more work to do, but we’re looking for that transfer for when the pads come on and we get on the field.”
Admittedly, I was a little bearish on Harrison’s pro potential. However, the Jaguars and their aggressive defense are the perfect fit for his skill set and attitude. The coaches are saying all kinds of good things about him too. And by proxy, more recruiting ammo is being handed to Nick Saban.
Want to be an NFL defensive back? Come to Alabama— you’ll get all the training you need on your resume to be a hot ticket item for any pro coach.
“I’ve been through that situation before, where you don’t get as many reps,” Frazier said. “I played behind [former Alabama defensive lineman Daron Payne], but when I was out there I just took advantage of my opportunity and made the best of the plays that I got.”
That experience — or lack thereof — helped Frazier in minicamp, when he got less action than established players like Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt.
“That’s just how the game goes sometimes,” Tuitt said. “When you’re not in, you gotta get as much information as possible … and he’s doing a really good job of doing that.”
Dunbar said during his previous stints as an NFL coach, he had good experiences with players he knew from their college days. Plus, both the Steelers and Alabama play the 3-4 defense, making Frazier an even more natural fit for the team.
The perennially overlooked Josh Frazier is finally getting an article all about himself as a professional football player. A 7th-round pick, he has a long ways to go to prove himself worthy of a roster spot come August, but depth along the interior of the defensive line is always in high demand.
Again, we have a recruiting tool for Saban: You can never start a single game for Alabama and still wind up being a 7th round draft pick just for sticking with the program and contributing as needed as depth.
That’s it for today. Roll Tide!