What needs to happen for the Alabama Crimson Tide to win national title

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Given the right circumstances, the Crimson Tide will retake their place at the top of the college football world.

Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts showed intelligence and talent last season, giving fans a lot to look forward to as Hurts matures as a player. 

Here is why Hurts and the rest of the Tide will be National Champions in 2018.

Top-flight recruiting class

Nick Saban is bringing in one of the most talented recruiting classes in Crimson Tide history.

The biggest story for the Tide is incoming running back Najee Harris. He’s 6-foot-2, 224 pounds and is ranked as the third best RB in the 2017 class.

His story is interesting, having been homeless for a portion of his life and moving from place to place. More on his past can be found here.

Five-star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and 5-star offensive linebacker Dylan Moses, as well as four 4-star offensive linemen will start this year at Bama.

Alabama also brings in an impressive young receiving corps, headed by WR Jerry Jeudy, a five-star recruit out of Florida, and three 4-star wide receivers and a 4-star tight end.

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM Saint Louis slotback Tosh Kekahuna-Kalawe (4) tries to elude Punahou defensive back Aaron Woo (12) and defensive back Marist Liufau (7)  during the second half.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding incoming quarterback Tua Tagovailoa–will he be able to challenge Hurts? Photo via Jamm Aquino/jaquino@staradvertiser.com

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a 5-star recruit out of Hawaii, will challenge Hurts at his own game, and there’s nothing wrong with a little competition from the two to decide who is the better quarterback.

Can the Crimson Tide reload on defense?

Bama only allowed 13.7 points per game, the best in the FBS. They also had 11 defensive touchdowns last year, as well as 54 team sacks. They were one of the best defensives of all time last season, proved by this ESPN article. 

There’s only one problem, a lot of this talent left for the NFL draft this year.

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DE Jonathan Allen will be hard to replace, after 69 tackles and 10.5 sacks in his senior season. Photo via USA Today Sports Images

They’re losing a couple of their best defensive players: Washington Redskins defensive end Jonathon Allen, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tim Williams, Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson, Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson and New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Johnson.

Despite the losses, it looks like the Tide will reload on defense. Outside linebackers Christian Miller, Anfernee Jennings, and Terrell Hall return to the team and will look to replace the defensive talent from last year. 

Da’Shawn Hand, a backup senior defensive end, looks to take over Allen’s spot. He played a supporting role for most of his career to date, but looked productive during his playing time. 

Alabama’s weakness: pass defense

It’s hard to find weaknesses with the Alabama team, but Alabama has shown the inability to defend the pass during stretches.

The Tide gave up over 400 yards against both Ole Miss and Arkansas, both teams that shouldn’t have been much of a threat.

Those were the only two games where an opponent got more than 14 points on the board in the regular season, but the slip-ups are telling. Saban knows he has to close the gap quickly if he hopes to get a season-opening win over Florida State. 

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Alabama’s toughest game might be the season opener against FSU, especially after Francois’s performance against Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports

Can Alabama overcome their tough schedule?

Alabama always has a tough schedule, but this year should prove to be especially challenging. Their season opener is against a very strong FSU team, and momentum is everything for the Tide. FSU is projected to be one of the best teams in the country and anything can happen on opening day.

An opening day slip-up would force Alabama to win out if they want to make it to the playoffs.

Even after the first game, Bama goes up against Tennessee, always tough rival LSU, Auburn, and whoever they play in the SEC title game (most likely either Florida or Georgia).

Why Alabama will win the college football title game

Betting that Alabama will be in the title game is always a safe move. There’s plenty of teams that have the skill to challenge the Crimson Tide this year, but, like always, Alabama finds their way into the title game.

Alabama’s incoming offense is one of the best in the country, and as Hurts matures he’ll find that he has a ton of talent to challenge defenses.

Alabama will continue to have a dominant defense with their new recruits, but that won’t be the reason for them winning a championship this season.

Hurts’ improvement in his second season will make them that much better offensively and push them over the hump to winning another national title.

Alabama Will Win the 2018 CFB Championship

Photo via Assoicated Press

It seems like the impossible has happened: Alabama lost a national championship. I was shocked, to the point where I had already written an anticipatory article about Bama’s win in the National Championship game.

Next year, however, I can’t see any other teams winning. Bama’s recruiting class has an incredible amount of talent coming in including 7 of the top 40 players in the nation. They have five “5-star” recruits that have already enrolled at the university—on the offensive side, Najee Harris (RB), Alex Leatherwood (OT), Dylan Moses (OLB), Jerry Jeudy (WR), and Tua Tagovailoa (QB/DUAL). Tagovailoa is an excellent quarterback, and Bama may have an interesting dual threat with Jalen Hurts–only a sophomore–and Tagovailoa.

The QB situation must be watched closely, because some would say having two quarterbacks is equal to having none. Who will they start? Will they move either of the versatile players to another position? Until very recently I would check up on the Sarkisian’s past, but of course the Tide just lost him–this raises another important question: who will replace him, and how will they handle this offensive conundrum? It’ll be interesting to watch this develop, because it most definitely has implications for how well the Tide play this season.

Defensively, they have also picked up LaBryan Ray, who has signed a letter of intent.

Let this sink in: these are only the 5-star recruits. They have countless other players in the recruiting class that are performing better than anyone in high school football and should show a lot of promise going into next season.

If anyone was to take a look at the recruiting classes from other top teams, they will realize that Bama absolutely dominated this year. Clemson, the defending national champions, only picked up two top-40 players. They still have a talented squad returning, but it will be without their heart and soul from last season, Deshaun Watson.

Ohio State has the 2nd best recruiting class with 5 top 40 players coming in this year. In addition, the greatness of Urban Meyer and an increase in motivation from their recent disaster in Glendale (losing 31-0 to Clemson in the semi-final), they should prove to be the biggest threat to Alabama’s title hopes.

Remember, Nick Saban is one of the best coaches in history, and he excels in molding recruits into the best players they can be. The Tide’s team cohesion is the envy of all of college football, and with these new recruits to bolster their ranks, they could prove unstoppable.

Alabama is also retaining a good amount of their very talented team from last year. The first name that comes to mind is Jalen Hurts, who wowed everyone with his poise and clear-headedness at the age of 18 by driving down the field to score the go ahead touchdown with just over 2 minutes left against Clemson and throwing 0 interceptions in the game. He played like a champion all season, and it is not hard to believe that he will continue to improve.

For the sake of brevity I won’t go into every impact player that’s staying on the team, but suffice to say that they’ll be formidable next year.

Clemson, FSU, USC, Oklahoma, and Ohio State should all expect to have great seasons (Washington and Penn State not so much). If Alabama can overcome the first hurdle, a season opener against the Seminoles, they’ll be right on track. Realistically, a loss wouldn’t eliminate them from the college football playoff, but it would put them in a hole forcing them to win out to insure their spot in the playoffs.

However, a win against FSU would provide the perfect confidence boost for Alabama to go on a tear throughout the entire season and win the 2018 National Championship.