Friday, May 27, 2016

Alabama Crimson Tide 2016 outlook

Alabama Crimson Tide

2015 record: 14-1, 7-1 SEC West

2016 schedule:

Sept. 3 vs USC (Arlington)

Sept. 10 vs Western Kentucky
Sept. 17 at Ole Miss
Sept. 24 vs Kent State
Oct. 1 vs Kentucky
Oct. 8 at Arkansas
Oct. 15 at Tennessee
Oct. 22 vs Texas A&M
Nov. 5 at LSU
Nov. 12 vs Mississippi State
Nov. 19 vs Chattanooga
Nov. 26 vs Auburn

For most teams, losing players like Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake would be big blows in terms of depth, but the reigning national champion Alabama finds ways to reload, year in and year out.

There is no mistake as to how Alabama has won four of the last seven national titles under the leadership of coach Nick Saban especially after its 45-40 win over Clemson's in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game in Glendale, AZ.

The system of turning five-star players into top-tier National Football League prospects are routine for the Crimson Tide and will be highlighted by wide receiver Calvin Ridley and defensive end Jonathan Allen in the upcoming campaign.

Players To Watch For- Sophomore wide receiver Calvin Ridley:

Perhaps Ridley could become a potential Heisman Trophy candidate if he can duplicate or even top last season's statistics.

Ridley set the Alabama single-season freshman record in the yards category with 1,045 and finished with team highs in catches (89) and yards (1,045) in 15 games.

Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen:

A versatile player who can play multiple positions on the defensive line, Allen proved to be a vital part of last season's championship with a team-high 14.5 tackles for a loss.

Allen was also named to the All-SEC First Team defense by the coaches and the Associated Press in 2015 after finishing second in the conference with 12.0 sacks.

Key Game- Nov. 5 at LSU:

Over the last decade, the Alabama/LSU series has become must-watch television due to one or both teams being national championship contenders and the common thread of Nick Saban coaching and leading both teams (Alabama 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015) and LSU (2003) to BCS/College Football Playoff titles.

The Crimson Tide have won five straight games in the series, highlighted by a 30-16 win in the last meeting on Nov. 7, 2015 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL.

An argument can be made that Saban's recent dominance almost led to the firing of LSU coach Les Miles last November.

Outside of the LSU game, Alabama opens its season in Arlington, TX for the second straight season with USC as the opponent and rivalry games against Tennessee and Auburn highlight the 2016 slate.

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