These statements are based on a mixture of gut feeling and logical reasoning that makes sense in my own head.
- We will have a very frustrating football team at times. Now, don’t naturally assume that I’m predicting a 6-6 season, because I am not. Teams in transitional periods have growing pains, it is a common thing in sports today. There will be times where we look like a million bucks; however, there will also be times where we look worse than a high school team after fall break. Saban has been hinting towards consistency issues all summer long. Our success depends on how much consistent play we’re able to produce. Don’t expect one summer to be a fix-all type of event.
- This season will be an all out war between Alabama fans and the rest of the SEC. Don’t expect too much support from other SEC West teams. We’ll see plenty of signs calling Saban a liar, loser, and much more. Expect it to be at an all time high when Alabama plays Auburn (since it is on the road )and LSU (because some of them have gone crazy with rage). Expect some sort of “I told you so!” moment after Alabama’s first loss (as if they were the only ones who said it during the pre-season).
- The 2007 season depends on how the team does during the first few games. If Alabama is able to survive a string of tough teams (Vandy, Arkansas, Florida State, and Georgia), then we will have a successful 2007. Now, I don’t mean winning the SEC West, but we will at least have a say in who goes to Atlanta and who stays home. We can easily fall apart or shake up the conference. It depends solely on the first half of the season. We will end up full of confidence, or begging for break by playing Houston.
- Alabama will not lead the conference in total Offense. Contrary to what we’re hearing about the offensive results during the scrimmages, I don’t expect our offense to blow away the conference. We’ll have some weapons in the receiving core, but we won’t set any major conference records along the way. We will break a few UA records. We’re still going against an onslaught of SEC defense after all.
- The Defense won’t give up 20+ points in back-to-back games during the entire season. Most experts are expecting our defense to be fairly weak. While I don’t think they will be in the top half of the conference in total defense, they will not be horrible. In fact, I expect this group to improve the most by season’s end. We will be able to stop teams from running all over us. Our front seven will look bad at times, but they will be able to rebound and make plays by season’s end. Lucky for us, we’re not going against any true offensive juggernauts during the first half of the season. By the mid point of the season, we will have our sea legs underneath us enough to make something happen defensively.
- Special Teams may cause you moments of great agony. The new rule regarding ball placement on kick-offs will cause us some frustration. There is also the matter of depth. Saban plans on using linebackers, running backs, tight ends, and safeties on Special Teams. I tend to agree with this statement made by Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News: “It’s fair to say those aren’t necessarily the deepest areas on the current Alabama roster.”
- Alabama will pull off an upset. When you look at the games on the schedule, it isn’t too hard to spot when Alabama will be an obvious underdog. I don’t consider Florida State to be an overwhelming favorite, so don’t expect that to qualify as an ‘upset’. The same could be said for Arkansas to a certain degree. So, that leaves us with Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn. Out of these four, I fully expect the Tide to win at least one.
- No assistant coach will be fired after the 2007 season. Nick Saban picked his assistant coaches based on their recruiting skills. They are solid assistant coaches, but he understands that talent is needed in order to win. If he were to fire an assistant or two after the season is over, it would send a poor message to recruits. The assistant coaches have already built relationships in the recruiting hotbeds of the southeast. If Nick Saban is going to rebuild this program, he needs consistency in his coaching staff.
So there you have it. I doubt I said anything that will change the landscape of Alabama football. But, I do think these opinions will stand up on their own for the most part. For now, I suggest we all just relax, check the police blotter, and enjoy this Alabama football preview by the Versus Network: