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2019 Alabama football season preview

2018 season: 14-1, 8-0 in the SEC 

Head coach: Nick Saban (13th season) 

Following the shock of last year’s blowout 16-44 loss to Clemson in the CFP National Championship, the Crimson Tide will look to recuperate and reload for another title run this year. The powerhouse has won five championships in the Nick Saban era, with its last coming in the 2017 season.  

After another successful recruiting class ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, Alabama finds itself ranked No. 2 in the AP Preseason Top 25 poll, second only to the Tigers. A handful of top recruits, including defensive lineman Antonio Alfano and running back Trey Sanders, will look to anchor the Crimson Tide in the near future. Still, it will largely be up to a host of returning players such as defensive end LaBryan Ray and running back Najee Harris to make up for the losses of first-round draft picks Quinnen Williams and Josh Jacobs.  

Alabama will likely ride its dominant passing game this season with 2018 Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa under center once again. With the transfer of former SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts, who largely rode the bench last season, Tagovailoa has the opportunity to cement his projected place as the 2020 No. 1 overall pick. Surrounding him is arguably the best receiving corps in the nation to help him make that case: Biletnikoff Award (given to the best receiver in college football) winner Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, all returning starters from last season.  

Loaded at just about every position, the biggest weaknesses for the Crimson Tide may be in the offensive line and at tight end. With the departure of tackle Jonah Williams and center Ross Pierschbacher, the long-term starters in the interior are still uncertain. The surprise transfer of Kedrick James leaves the tight end position up in the air, as veteran Miller Forristall has been battling injuries and lacks the talent of his predecessors like NFL players Irv Smith Jr. and O.J. Howard.  

With a relatively easy season schedule, anything but a trip to the College Football Playoff will be a disappointment for Alabama. A home game against No. 6 LSU and a trip to No. 16 Auburn for the Iron Bowl may cause some difficulty, but by avoiding Georgia in conference play, the Crimson Tide are a favorite to be playing in New Orleans come January. 

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