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Very Early SEC West Predictions

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The defending champs lost less than you might expect in terms of offensive and defensive starters from last season’s team. As a result, they remain the gold standard of the SEC.

Alabama returns senior quarterback AJ McCarron and his three favorite targets, Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones and Amari Cooper. The loss of Eddie Lacy is softened by the fact that TJ Yeldon looks to be the next in a long line of great Bama tailbacks. Better still, the Tide recruited two highly-touted running backs in Alvin Kamara and Derrick Henry, ensuring plenty of depth at running back.

On defense only Dee Milliner left early so seven starters return to a unit that will boast a beast of a secondary. Plus, Nick Saban retained the services of defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, sought after by this offseason to fill a number of coaching vacancies. That brain trust ought to have an inexperienced defensive line ready to go before the season starts.

The only real question is how Alabama handles the turnover in terms of the offensive line. Offensive tackle DJ Flucker declared for the draft, so the O-line only returns two starters from last year’s squad. As always, though, Alabama doesn’t rebuild, they reload. In the end, Alabama is most likely the best team in the country going into the new season.