Alabama has won six national championships since the 2009 season. It has been a historical run, but we also have to remember that only two of those six titles (2011 and 2012) were won in back-to-back seasons.
After defeating Ohio State 52-24 in the national title game just over a month ago, the attention now turns to 2021. Can the Crimson Tide repeat?
It’s a question that will be asked several times between now and the opening week game against Miami on Sept. 4. There are multiple areas of concern that will need to be addressed if the goal is a second title in as many years.
First off, the annual roster turnover in Tuscaloosa. It’s something Alabama deals with every offseason, but that doesn’t mean it should be considered automatic. Well … maybe it should at this point, but just go with me here.
Here are just the offensive losses from this year’s record-setting squad:
- Mac Jones, Quarterback
- Najee Harris, Running Back
- DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver
- Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver
- Miller Forristall, Tight End
- Carl Tucker, Tight End
- Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle
- Landon Dickerson, Center
- Deonte Brown, Offensive Guard
Three of those skill players finished in the top-5 for the Heisman Trophy. Another is expected to be an early first-round pick come April. As if that wasn’t enough, those three offensive linemen were among the best at their positions and made up a majority of a Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line.
That doesn’t even include the defensive losses such as Patrick Surtain II, Christian Barmore and Dylan Moses.
Secondly, the coaching turnover has gotten out of hand. Once again, this isn’t new for Nick Saban and Alabama, but it seems more severe than in year’s past. As Matt Zenitz with AL.com pointed out on Twitter, five on-field coaches, seven analysts and three others.
It’s an extensive list.
Alabama has now had 15 members of its 2020 staff that have been hired elsewhere.
— Five on-field coaches
— Seven analysts
— Three others
The full list: pic.twitter.com/YopPajObHO
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) February 6, 2021
The other aspect is a non-COVID world. Look, the pandemic was a major issue for other programs. Even contenders struggled with outbreaks, including Ohio State prior to the title game. Alabama? Nah, not with Saban’s structure and approach.
It could be argued that a COVID world was built for Saban’s unfaltering program. It’s a lot to manage, and he’s a great manager. But we are likely (hopefully) heading back towards a sense of normalcy before college football season rolls around again.
Does that even the playing field once again? Maybe, maybe not.
None of this is meant to say that Alabama won’t have a repeat performance in 2021. It would be foolish to bet against Saban, and there are plenty of question marks for almost every other contender out there.
Here’s the point: it won’t be easy. Saban is already considered the greatest college football coach of all time. If he leads the Tide to another national title, it might be his most impressive performance yet — which is saying a lot.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.