Alabama Football: Will average of 19.4 points allowed be low enough

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There are two parallel, 2021 season beliefs held by Alabama Football fans. One is the Alabama Crimson Tide defense will be better in 2021. The other is the Tide’s offense under Bill O-Brien will not be as explosive.

The two assumptions are optimistically symmetrical. As in, whatever the Tide lacks in offensive production will be, at worst, neutralized by a stingier defense.

And that may well be exactly how the 2021 Alabama Football season plays out. But if things go differently, and the offense produces far less than its 48.5 points average from last season, how many points can a better defense lower its total from 19.4 points last season?

One expectation is Ole Miss will not again score 48 points on Pete Golding’s Alabama Football defense. One possibility that meshes with the Crimson Tide defense being more stingy than last season is the explosive D’Eriq King may be medically healthy, but still not at full speed for the Tide opener against Miami. Another is, similar to the Crimson Tide, the Florida Gators lost a bunch of offensive firepower from last season.

Playing Mercer, New Mexico State and Southern Mississippi will also aid the Tide’s ’21 scoring defense stats. Last season’s 19.4 points allowed was a strong performance, especially with an All-SEC regular season. It was good enough to be No. 1 in the SEC and No. 13 in the FBS. Ohio State made last season’s National Championship game with a points-allowed average of over 22 points per game.

Even with three easy (two ridiculously so) out-of-conference games, lowering the points allowed average much below 18 points is not consistent with a tough conference schedule and today’s prolific offenses.

A somewhat less productive offense and a somewhat more productive defense may not balance each other. The most likely results would be seen by the Alabama Crimson Tide still winning, but by smaller margins than last season. Only once last season did the Crimsom Tide win by less than a touchdown and the other closest games were 15-17 point victories. A few games, potentially closer in 2021, is no cause for alarm.

In those tighter game situations, the kicking game could be more important than last season. That could be why Nick Saban has brought in two highly-touted punters. Thankfully, field goal kicking can rely on the dependable foot (forget about the spring game aberration) of Will Reichard.

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The season could also play out in a different way. The offense could again be exceptionally explosive AND the defense could give up fewer points.