There is nothing tougher than to repeat as the NCAA BCS National Champion and Alabama and Nick Saban are under tremendous pressure since most of their offense is returning. Heisman Trophy winner, running back Mark Ingram and quarterback Greg McElroy return, along with Julio Jones, a standout at wide receiver. With all the returning fire power, Alabama should pick up where they left off.
Alabama Will Be Challenged by Arkansas in SEC West.
Alabama enters the 2010 SEC West schedule with high expectations and not many challengers in the SEC as a whole. Alabama should only have to worry about four teams all season with the SEC in a down year. Alabama’s non conference schedule is relatively weak with the exception of a game with Penn State in the second on September 11.
Arkansas is the up and comer in the SEC West and they are projected to finish second behind Alabama. Arkansas has enough of an offense with Ryan Mallett and a defense that can control Mark Ingram, making for a great game when they face off with Alabama on September 25th. The winner of the game will have the inside track to the SEC West title.
Alabama Defense Decimated From Last Year Means Opportunity for Young Defenders.
Alabama lost plenty of seniors in the NFL Draft. The corners will now be manned with inexperienced but solid back peddlers Dre Kirkpatrick and BJ Scott but the entire secondary is young and limited in playing time. Once Alabama gets through the SEC West in 2010, their defense will be even better in 2011.
Alabama will be sticking with the 3-4 defense, only rushing three down lineman and making sure to cause chaos in the middle of the field. This may take a while to come together with a young defense. Expect mistakes and some long touchdowns by the opposition in the first half of the season. A loss to Penn State should not be unexpected.
Special Teams Will Need to Improve Before SEC Schedule Begins
Alabama’s special teams is not impressive at first look. Alabama lost their kicker and their punter along with the best return man in the SEC, Javier Arenas. Punting and kicking is often overlooked in the college game and Nick Saban’s game plan relies on both.
Young kickers and punters make mistakes in the transition to the college game and Alabama has yet to settle on the two important positions. The leaders after spring ball are both true freshman, Cade Foster as the kicker and Jay Williams as the punter. Watch these two positions as the season progresses because they will be tested at critical moments.
Final Breakdown of the Alabama Crimson Tides SEC West Chances
Alabama is in a tough spot for the 2010 SEC West season. The target is slapped firmly on their back and one or two teams stands a chance to knock them off their lofty perch. Look for Arkansas to surprise Alabama in their game and Alabama will either lose to Auburn or Penn State also. Alabama could end up with 3 losses but only one in the SEC.
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