Can Anyone Unseat 'Bama In The SEC?
When it comes to the top of the mountain in college football, there are none higher than the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Having won three of the last four national titles, the Tide again enter the season ranked No. 1 and are the favorites to win yet another national title.
Outside of Tuscaloosa (especially in Auburn), it makes people sick to see Alabama win so much. But they continue to get the job done.
Which brings me to this: Can anyone unseat Alabama in the SEC in 2013?
Before looking at their opponents, it's important to see who the Crimson Tide have coming back.
Alabama had nine players drafted in April, including offensive linemen Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker, and cornerback Dee Millner. Center Barrett Jones also was lost from the offensive line, as was running back Eddie Lacy.
This year, the Tide arguably have the best trio of offensive starters returning in A.J. McCarron, T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper.
Cooper and Yeldon were named preseason all-SEC, while McCarron was named to the third team behind Georgia's Aaron Murray and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
Outside of Georgia's Todd Gurley, there are no backs better in the SEC than Yeldon, who rushed for 1,108 yards last year. Cooper added 1,000 yards receiving, giving the Crimson Tide the best returning duo in the conference.
The line did lose three starters, which could hurt a little, but like Alabama has always done in the past, they just reload at depleted positions.
On defense, linebacker C.J. Moseley and defensive back Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix were named to the preseason all-SEC team, with seven other players receiving second- or third-team honors.
Moseley led the team with 107 tackles (including eight for loss), while also having four sacks and two interceptions. Clinton-Dix led the team with five interceptions.
A lot was lost from the defense, but like the offense, Alabama has reloaded again.
The biggest game on the schedule comes Sept. 14 at Texas A&M. The Tide have a week between their season opener in Atlanta against Virginia Tech and their game in College Station.
Last year we saw what Manziel could do to the Tide, but it has been a point of emphasis all offseason for Alabama.
While I personally don't think the Aggies will pull off the upset again, it's going to be a highly-touted game.
Other than that, the only real nail-biter on the Tide's schedule is a Nov. 9 game at home against LSU. Alabama's cross-over games are against Tennessee and Kentucky, which won't be much of a test.
The big one, though, if the Tide win the West, will be in the SEC Championship Game. If they come out on top, they'll surely go to the BCS National Championship Game, even if they have one loss again.
While I do see LSU beating Alabama during the regular season, I also believe Alabama will make the title game due to LSU losing to Georgia and Texas A&M.
Even so, I see Georgia coming out on top this year and taking the SEC's BCS-bowl berth.
A lot of people may not like that statement, but all of the pieces are in place for Alabama to get upset and miss out on its fourth title in five years.