Derrick Henry vs Florida in 2015 SEC Championship game - Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

College Football Playoff Preview: The Alabama Crimson Tide

Three years ago, Alabama was rolling with back-to-back beat downs of LSU and Manti Teo’s #1 Notre Dame.  With AJ McCarron coming back for his senior season in 2013 and another top recruiting class, it seemed almost a given that this Alabama team would complete the first three-peat in BCS history.

Little did they know, they would run into an Auburn “Team of Destiny, as they edged Alabama on a kick that was just not quite enough.

In the 2014 season, Alabama looked good, until they ran into a red hot Ole Miss, losing 23-17, with Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace putting the game away late.

Alabama would overcome the loss and win their way to the SEC Championship game.  Amari Cooper and the Tide would roll through Mizzou, and play another red hot Ohio State.   Alabama was up 21-3 only to see Ohio State roar back and win 42-35 with Ezekiel Elliot setting bowl records with rushing yards.

2015 Season SnapShot

The year started off with a QB controversy between Cooper Bateman and Jake Coker.  Coker would be the starter for the season opener in Dallas against Wisconsin. The Tide rolled 35-17, but two games later,  Coker couldn’t hold on to the job and Cooper Bateman started against Ole Miss.  After a terrible start, 11/14, 87 yards, a INT, with a QBR of 48.3, Coker came in to try to save the day.

In a crazy game of ups and downs, Alabama would give the ball up 4 times in the 43-37 loss to Ole Miss.  But Jake Coker solidified his role as starter and the Tide has not looked back.

Once again Bama made it to the SEC championship game, and once again Alabama would roll, this time over Florida.  Derek Henry needed multiple briefcases to carry home all of his awards.  Even winning the biggest award FBS has to offer, the Heisman Trophy.

The only blemish so far on 2015 is the loss of defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who is leaving next year to become the head coach of Georgia.

Team Strengths

The front 7 on this defense is monstrous.  They can hold up to any offensive line in the country.  The same goes for the Alabama offensive line, which of course helps the run game.  And don’t forget Derek Henry, Heisman winner, Maxwell award winner.  Need anything else?  SEC single season rushing record?

Team Weaknesses

The lack of depth at running back and on the offensive line is a concern heading into the playoffs.  Jake Coker still doesn’t look as good as he looked at Florida State.  On defense, the secondary is still susceptible to a high-speed and up-tempo offense.

Playoff Forcast

The Alabama front seven on defense is the best and deepest in the field.  If they can slow the game down, and force a defensive dual, Alabama should have the CFP locked up.

Well there ya’ll have it.  This is the first of a four-part series.  Next up, the Clemson Tigers!

Have a good day. See yall later.

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