5 reasons why Alabama could repeat as BCS Champions in 2012


It has been 17 years since college football saw a team repeat as national champions, when the Nebraska Cornhuskers went back-to-back in 1994 and 1995.  Of course, that was before the Bowl Championship Series system was in place.

Since the inception of the BCS, only Florida State in 2001, Miami in 2002 and USC in 2005 have been in the BCS National Championship game with a shot at repeating – all three came up short.

Alabama will take aim at repeating as BCS Champions for the second time in four years when the 2012 season commences.  The Crimson Tide failed in their first attempt in 2010 after beginning the season No. 1 in the BCS rankings.  They lost three games that season, but finished the year on a high note by thrashing Michigan State in the Capitol One Bowl, leaving Nick Saban and the Bama Nation wondering what could have been.

Here are five reasons why Alabama can repeat in 2012:

Quarterback Play.  Redshirt Junior AJ McCarron had his coming-out party on college football’s biggest stage in January, as he led his team to a BCS National Championship victory over LSU. McCarron picked apart the Tigers’ heralded secondary on his way to being named the game’s Offensive MVP. He will look to build off his last performance entering the 2012 season with his confidence at an all-time high.

All-American Offensive Line.  With four returning linemen coming back, Alabama’s offensive line should be one of the nation’s best in 2012. Center William Vlachos leaves a hole at center, but All-Everything senior Barrett Jones is slated to fill that void. Taking Jones’ spot at left tackle will be the former No. 1 offensive lineman in the country coming out of high school, Cyrus Kouandjio. At 6-foot-7, 311 pounds, Kouandjio has all the physical tools to be a dominant tackle in the SEC. Throw in 6-foot-6, 330 pound DJ Fluker at right tackle, and you have bookend tackles that even some NFL teams would drool over. Left guard Chance Warmack has quietly become one of the best interior linemen in the country, and NFL scouts have taken notice. Some have said he has the potential to be a first-round pick in next year’s draft. Average size of Alabama’s linemen:  6-foot-5, 314 pounds.

Defensive Line Depth.  Departing senior nose tackle Josh Chapman leaves a gaping hole in the center of Alabama’s defensive front, but Nick Saban has one mammoth-sized plug to fill that hole – made in Australia. The big Aussie Jesse Williams will take over as the anchor of Chris Rumph’s defensive line and the Crimson Tide’s dominant rush defense should pick up right where they left off last season. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and the rest of the defensive staff feel they will have a stifling two-deep rotation next year that includes fifth-year senior Damion Square, senior Quinton Dial and up-and-comers Ed Stinson and Jeoffrey Pagan.

Talented, experienced replacements at linebacker.  Replacing NFL-caliber players like Courtney Upshaw and Dont’a Hightower would normally pose as a difficult challenge for most college football teams, but for Alabama it should be a relatively smooth transition.

While Hightower and Upshaw deserve a bevy of credit for much of the jaw-dropping success the Crimson Tide has experienced in recent years, the effects of their departures will not be as great as some might believe. Jack linebacker Adrian Hubbard had coaches and scouts turning their heads as he wreaked havoc on Alabama’s talented offensive tackles during Spring practice, and the combination of inside linebackers Trey DePriest, Nico Johnson and CJ Moseley should serve Nick Saban well in his quest to replace Hightower. The trio will be pushed by the top-ranked linebacker recruiting class in America that includes a five-star stud in Ryan Anderson. Coaches have assigned Anderson to the Mike linebacker spot to challenge for the starting position.

Nick Saban.  There isn’t much else for Nick Saban to accomplish at the college level after having won three BCS Titles with two different SEC teams and taking home nearly every head coaching award known to man.  One hurdle does remain for the future hall of fame coach:  Repeating. This will be his third opportunity to tackle the feat after having failed in 2004 at LSU and in 2010 with Alabama. Saban relishes in second chances and he almost always delivers.  Just ask Les Miles.

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