Nov 9, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban leads his team out onto the field for pre game warm ups before their game against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Ranks No. 2 In Phil Steele Preseason Countdown

The Alabama Crimson Tide are ranked second in college football analyst Phil Steele’s preseason countdown. Defending national champions Florida State top the countdown, and Ohio State claims third place.

Steele’s analysis notes that Alabama’s success in the Saban era has come in years where they did not begin the season in the top spot:

Alabama has won three National Titles in the last five years. The only two years they did not win the title in that span, ironically, were the only two years they entered the season No. 1 in the AP Poll which was’10 (10-3) and ’13 (11-2). They won Nat’l Titles with preseason rankings of No. 5, No. 2 and No. 2.

Among the key nuggets of insight into the 2014 Tide in Steele’s report:

• He projects Jacob Coker to start at quarterback.

• Alabama’s depth at running back will be expected to carry the load until a QB solidifies himself.

• The Crimson Tide have improved their yards per carry every year of the Saban era, and hope to do so again with a solid offensive line.

• Steele expects Alabama to break a two-year streak of not having a defensive lineman on his first- or second-team All-SEC roster.

• Despite heavy losses, Steele projects Alabama’s rebuilt defensive backfield to be near the top in the SEC.

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