How are things going to play out this season in Tuscaloosa? Does Alabama silence the doubters with yet another season of national championship contention under Nick Saban? Or do the Crimson Tide prove the critics right with another year that doesn’t quite meet their lofty standard?
Well, according to ESPN’s Alex Scarborough, both are very much on the table. Scarborough recently broke down the best and worst-case scenarios for ‘Bama in an article that evaluated each of the AP’s Preseason Top-25 teams.
When it comes to the best-case scenario, Scarborough naturally went with another national title. The Tide have continued to recruit at a level that justifies that their roster could reach that pinnacle. If the offense finds a way to be where it needs to be, he says Alabama should be able to reach the College Football Playoff again and potentially win it all.
“The roster, top to bottom, is championship-caliber. Finishing in the top three of the recruiting rankings virtually every season for the past decade will do that. But, at key positions, Alabama needs things to break exactly right,” wrote Scarborough. “Do that, and the offense will be solid enough to navigate a tricky SEC schedule.”
However, then comes the pessimism. As far as a worst-case scenario, Scarborough said three losses are in play for ‘Bama as he mentioned four games in Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and LSU that they could lose if they don’t get the offense figured out early.
“The offense has a lot of what-ifs. Almost too many, in fact,” Scarborough wrote. “Everyone will focus on the quarterback, but the lackluster play at receiver is almost as glaring an issue. Bryce Young was just so good that he covered up for it.”
There just isn’t a world, or at least one that any of us know, where Alabama isn’t going to be in the mix for a championship. They’re once again a preseason top-five team for a reason. With that said, if the passing game doesn’t come along, there’s a scenario where the Tide lose their most games since 2010 or potentially even the second most of Saban’s tenure.
ESPN’s FPI predictions for Alabama in 2023
While ESPN is giving Alabama the upper hand in all of their games in 2023, they’re not going as far as to predict an undefeated season, putting Alabama’s final record at 11.1-1.6, which we can round off to 11-1.
However, it should be noted that ESPN isn’t predicting any team to go undefeated, and Alabama currently slots in at No. 2 in their Football Power Index, only behind the Ohio State Buckeyes. That means Saban’s squad is above the back-to-back national champions in the Georgia Bulldogs.
Time will tell what the results on the field yield, but it’s evident 2023 could be another special season for Alabama. Whether they go undefeated or not, a shot at the College Football Playoff is well within their reach.