For those who claimed the Nick Saban/Alabama Dynasty was over, disappointment may soon set in. Recently, odds makers have released point spreads for the Crimson Tide in 5 of what would be considered marquee games for the 2020 season. According to Fox Bet, any hopes of a tumultuous fall by the 17-time national champion are dashed. As a matter of fact, only one of those teams will conceivably be able to provide them with a difficult outing.
At the moment, Alabama is favored by 16.5 points against the Trojans in their season opener. Expectations are running high for returning QB Kedon Slovis, who showed a lot of promise in 2019 as a freshman. He will have a lot of help from returning WR Tyler Vaughns (74 catches for 912 and 6 TDs), who could have departed early for the NFL. However, pundits don’t think they will fare too well against Patrick Surtain, Dylan Moses, and a host of other highly touted Tide defenders. USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker may be one of the most talented offensive linemen in country, who is rarely beaten on the inside and has insane “quicks”. However, he has yet to face a force like Alabama DL Christian Barmore, who has been seen on numerous occasions tossing the largest of men around like rag dolls. Look for the Trojans to keep it somewhat competitive early, but the Tide will roll.
This is only the beginning#RollTide pic.twitter.com/9PV467GYpZ— Christian Barmore (@Chris_Bmore4u) January 28, 2020
This may be one of the most highly anticipated early matchups of the season. In this contest, the Crimson Tide are favored by 6.5 points. Let’s start with the bad news. Georgia lost 3 starters on that highly acclaimed offensive line. Add to that, Jake Fromm departed for the NFL early. The good news is that they will have Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman (2,868 yards, 26 TDs, 11 INTs in 2019) taking his place. Pairing him with newly hired offensive coordinator Todd Monken has fans in Athens very optimistic about their chances in 2020. However, they will be facing their perennial “thorn in the side” at Bryant Denny Stadium with a defense assuredly taking a step backwards. While Newman may provide a spark, winning a shootout against Mac Jones, Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and the Asgardian stable of running backs led by Najee Harris seems to be too much for the rebuilding Bulldogs to handle.
Oddly enough, with all of the departures that LSU has suffered, Alabama is only favored by 1 point in this game. Gone is Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Justin Jefferson, Thaddeus Moss, and a host of other major contributors. Did I forget to mention included in that mass exodus was miracle-worker Joe Brady? Add to that, Alabama is also on a warpath set on revenge after last season’s disappointing loss to the Tigers at home. Much like an elephant, Nick Saban never forgets. LSU, I suspect will give the Tide fits in the early going due to the rivalry and enormous amount of talent on their squad. However, unless something unforeseen happens, Alabama will win more convincingly that 1 point.
Normally, this game is played during the earlier part of Alabama’s schedule. This time, the Aggies come to town just before the Iron Bowl. As 9.5 point favorites, the Crimson Tide host a team without their star DL Justin Madubuike, but return QB Kellen Mond (2,897 yards, 20 TDs) who seemingly has endless eligibility. Mond is the model of inconsistency though. At times, he can play at level worthy of an early round selection, but on a different day can be a complete dud. I don’t look for that to change as he will go up against what will be arguably the most improved defense in the SEC. Ol’ Jimbo may have snagged some great recruiting classes, but Alabama’s harvest is much more impressive. The real danger here is the Tide possibly looking ahead to their showdown with Auburn the following week.
Last but not least, it’s the Iron Bowl. The Fighting War Eagles are definitely a huge target for the 2020 “Nick Saban Revenge Tour”. A very pissed off Crimson Tide welcomes their “little brother” to Bryant Denny Stadium as 11.5 favorites. The Tigers lose Derrick Brown, Marlon Davis, and Nick Coe to the NFL. The good news is LB KJ Britt and DL Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant elected to return. Let us not forget the SEC’s Freshman of the Year, QB Bo Nix is back for his sophomore season. However, the Tigers will only go as far as Nix’s development will take them. He will have to contend with Dylan Moses, Christian Harris, LaBryan Ray, Patrick Surtain Jr and a defense eager to put him in the dirt. On the other side, that Auburn defense will play a high powered offense led by Mac Jones, who will be putting up Heisman-worthy numbers at that point, minus the mistakes of last year. However, when it comes to these foes, “on-paper” stats and records are rendered powerless. So, the outcome could greatly vary.
Let’s face it, Alabama is still leader of the pack in the SEC and, until proven otherwise, major contenders in the national championship picture. Yes, last year was a major hiccup. The Crimson Tide were faced with enormous adversity due to injuries, lack of discipline, new coordinators, and a heavy dose of freshmen in key roles. However, that was last year. Major contributors return. Some may be in the Heisman race. Everyone is healthy. Given those points, we have reason to believe that Alabama will be back in the College Football Playoff. It easy to see why they are heavy favorites in the majority of their contests in 2020.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!