Alabama is coming off its sixth national championship in the last 12 seasons. The program also played in two other championship games in which it did not prevail, meaning that two thirds of the national title games during that span have included the Crimson Tide.
In other words, Alabama’s all about maintaining and staying competitive. They’re about continuing to reload rather than having to rebuild, and with the combination of player and coaching losses, that will be easier said than done.
OutKick is starting an offseason look at all 14 SEC teams. Considering Alabama was the one to bring the conference another national title, it was only fitting to get things underway with the Crimson Tide. So, without further ado …
For other offseason outlooks from around the SEC, click here.
Key Losses: QB Mac Jones; RB Najee Harris; WR DeVonta Smith; WR Jaylen Waddle; OL Alex Leatherwood; OL Landon Dickerson; OL Deonte Brown; CB Patrick Surtain II; DL Christian Barmore; LB Dylan Moses; LS Thomas Fletcher; OC Steve Sarkisian
Key Returning: WR John Metchie II; OL Evan Neal; OL Emil Ekiyor Jr; DL Phidarian Mathis; DL Tim Smith; EDGE Will Anderson Jr; EDGE Chris Allen; LB Christian Harris; DB Malachi Moore; CB Josh Jobe; S Jordan Battle; K Will Reichard; DC Pete Golding
Key Additions: OL JC Latham (5-star); OL Tommy Brockermeyer (5); EDGE Dallas Turner (5); CB Ga’Quincy McKinstry (5); DT Damon Payne (5); WR Jacorey Brooks (5); RB Camar Wheaton (5); WR JoJo Earle (4); S Terrion Arnold (4); OC Bill O’Brien
Key Games: vs. Miami (Sept. 4); at Florida (Sept. 18); at Texas A&M (Oct. 9); vs. LSU (Nov. 6); at Auburn (Nov. 27)
Outlook: Alabama’s title chances will widely depend on its ability to replace the lost production on offense. It’s possible there could be five or six first-round picks from that side of the football come April, and that doesn’t even include the loss of play-caller Steve Sarkisian.
Granted, the Crimson Tide remain loaded with replacement options at virtually all of those vacated positions, including quarterback. Second-year phenom Bryce Young, the former top quarterback prospect from the 2020 class, is primed for a breakout campaign, regardless of the other losses on offense.
What could help in that quest is the arrival of the 2021 recruiting class. Of the seven five-star additions, four of them are on offense: two offensive linemen, a wide receiver and a running back. All of those are positions of need for the Tide.
Early on, the team could rely on all the returning veteran leadership from the defensive side of the ball. There is way more continuity there with only three starters gone, and defensive coordinator Pete Golding will also be heading into his third season in that role.
The schedule won’t be easy though.
The opening week game against the Miami Hurricanes will be a tough test, especially if Heisman candidate D’Eriq King is back and healthy. From there, they have road games against Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn. And we haven’t even discussed an emerging Ole Miss squad or the potential bounce back from LSU.
As many obstacles as there may be, Alabama should still be considered one of the front-runners for a national title. The roster remains one of the most talented in college football, and as long as Nick Saban is in charge, this team will have a winning edge and mindset.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.