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2022 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Report Card: Final Grade and Observations

Strange season, strange team. Is 11-2 and a Top 5 season a success?

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

By the standards of 130 FBS teams, the 2022 Alabama Crimson Tide was a success — an elite one even: Only 18 teams cracked double digit wins; only a dozen had more than 10 wins. And another Top 5 finish would make practically anyone envious.

But, for all that success, you’d be pressed to find the casual fan who thought the 2022 season was a success.

The year began with a desultory trip to DKR for the much-hyped Texas-Alabama tilt. To those watching closely, it was hardly an endorsement for those who believed 2022 would be much improved over the previous season’s national runner up. Desultory, mistake-prone, and then bailed out by what-many still believe to be a questionable flag, somehow UA secured a one-point 20-19 road win. It was a sign of things to come: that was the second-lowest points allowed by Texas’s average defense all year.

The Tide then began a tour of destruction vs. some of its weaker teams — which culminated in an injury to Bryce Young in Fayetteville: it would be a sprain of his throwing shoulder that would linger much of the year.

Yet, it seemed for its 6-0 record that Alabama wasn’t quite baked. The center of the cupcakes still stuck to the toothpick. That sense of something being off would eventually strike calamitously. After flirting with it a few times, Alabama finally lost to the Tennessee Volunteers for the first time since 2006, ending the longest one-sided dominance in the century-long rivalry. Just three weeks later, Alabama would follow up that sloppy loss, with an even more listless one in Baton Rouge. Then, two weeks later, Auburn set an Iron Bowl rushing record on the Tide, and rang up the most ground gainers ever surrendered by a Nick Saban team — college or pro. Even a fairly convincing Sugar Bowl win over No. 6 Kansas State, the Big 12 Champion, was hardly a thing of gridiron beauty, as the Tide out-talented a well-coached team who able to scheme and muscle their way over, around, and through Alabama’s interior defense.

And throughout the season, some of the mistakes that doomed Alabama in 2021 reared their heads in 2022, and they did so in spades. The penalty issue? It wasn’t resolved; it actually worsened. All of those drops? The Tide biffed more in 2022. Offensive playcalling against competitive teams? Somehow even that got worse. Alabama was unable to score 28 or more points in regulation against Efficiency Top 25 teams in 4 of their 6 contests. Almost half the schedule was decided by less than a touchdown, and the Tide finished a mediocre 3-2 in those tight games.

Yet, for all that, it was a successful season. Individually, the Tide banked its first ever No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Will Anderson became one of just six players to ever sweep the defensive awards, and just the the third to win back-to-back defensive Heismans.

Alabama faced a much more difficult schedule. By season’s end, Alabama had the No. 1 strength of schedule. It faced nine teams in the Top 25, and went 7-2 against them. It faced four teams on the road that are or were in the AP Top 10: 2-2 is about what you’d expect from that, since against Top 10s, an average fellow Top 10 wins 51.6% of the time.

The University of Alabama shed a lot of coaching deadwood following the 2021 season, and brought in a less splashy, but significantly more impactful group of coaches. Eric Wolford and Coleman Hutzler shined at OL and at ST/OLB. Robert Gillespie had a full year of a healthy roster, and between he and Bill O’Brien, were able to scheme and coach Jahmyr Gibbs into a First Round selection. Travaris Robinson was every bit as good as his history suggests — Alabama’s secondary was among the best in the country, despite its youth and injuries...well, except for that one safety spot. Offensive line play improved greatly, going from one of the very worst in the nation, to a national top third unit — even one that was average by the Tide’s usual standards of negative plays allowed.

Alabama followed up all that with nabbing the Nation’s No. 1 recruiting class — and one that is on historical par as among the best ever inked, stacked with immediate playmakers at positions of need, immediate starters, and Day 1 contributors.

The Old Man didn’t sleep, and, if his interviews this offseason are any indication, then he’s not planning on it either. Few things get his ire quite like his team being ignored. And, for all this team’s warts, despite not winning the SEC or even the division, it was hard to watch the rest of the country in the postseason and not think that — though the Crimson Tide may have had a “down” year — it was one of the four best teams when everything clicking.

Was 2022 success? Absolutely.

Was it a success by the standard of Alabama fans who’ve spent almost two decades lording that success over the rest of the nation? Certainly not.

We can be upset with players not approaching The Standard, and with the mental mistakes, and with the miscues, while still recognizing that 11-2 (No. 5) is a damned nice season overall...just not at Alabama, and not in this era.

Final Grade: B+


What final grade do you give the 2022 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Season

This poll is closed

  • 0%
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  • 13%
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  • 29%
    (207 votes)
  • 38%
    (271 votes)
  • 10%
    (76 votes)
  • 3%
    (26 votes)
  • 2%
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    (7 votes)
702 votes total Vote Now

That’s all for the 2022 season. We’ll see you soon with 2023 football coverage

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