Picking the toughest Alabama football games of the 2023 season feels pretty easy. If the task is to pick the three toughest, many Alabama fans will include Texas and LSU. In choosing a third tough game there are multiple options. The Tennessee Vols will be a popular choice. Others may suggest Arkansas. In between a Tide trip to College Station and hosting the Vols in Tuscaloosa could make Sam Pittman’s Arkansas team a trap game for the Crimson Tide.
A few Alabama football fans may be fearful of Jordan-Hare voodoo and pick the Auburn game as one of the three toughest.
Months away from the real action, there are many variables, causing guesswork in predictions. But with much offseason time yet to fill, I have devoted extra time to present more than a SWAG at the three toughest games of the 2023, Alabama Football regular season.
Alabama Football Opponents Not Chosen
- Not being a big fan of predicting trap games, Arkansas is not included.
- The Mississippi schools were also not included, even though the State game is in Starkville. Neither the Rebels nor the Bulldogs have a roster to beat Alabama.
- There is one simple reason to not include Tennessee. The Vols’ offense in 2023 will try to be close to what it was last season, with minimal scheme adjustments. Huepel’s scheme, orchestrated by a less talented QB, will meet an Alabama defensive plan that will be much improved over last season. That better plan will mean better execution by the Tide defense.
- The Iron Bowl does not worry me either. Freeze has improved the roster, but not enough. Going into the Iron Bowl with five or maybe six wins, Auburn will not upset Alabama.
Alabama Football’s Three Toughest Games
- Third Toughest – Game No. 6, Oct. 7, Texas A&M in College Station. The Aggies have the talent to be much better than last season. Even with the abysmal 5-7 record, the A&M scoring defense and pass defense were quite good. The biggest obstacle for the A&M defense in 2022 was the Aggies’ offense. If (and it’s a big if) Bobby Petrino and Jimbo Fisher can coexist, the Aggies can be much better in 2023.
Note: Texas A&M 2022 stats from cfbstats.com
- Second Toughest – Game No. 9, Nov. 4, LSU in Tuscaloosa. Brian Kelly is an outstanding coach and arguably the best head coach Nick Saban will battle in any game next season, including the post-season. Kelly has the advantage of a top QB and a super-talented group of receivers. He also has some exceptional athletes in defense, including maybe the best linebacker in college football; Harold Perkins Jr. I’m expecting a tough battle for the Tide with the Bryant-Denny crowd providing the edge for an Alabama victory.
- The Toughest – Game No. 2, Sept. 9, Texas in Tuscaloosa. I doubt the Longhorns, in November, will be better than LSU. But Steve Sarkisian will have a big QB advantage in early September. I expect Alabama will be just fine at QB after the first few games. In Game No. 2, the Tide’s unsettled QB situation, lacking, game experience, is a serious problem. If the Longhorns can slow the Crimson Tide rushing attack, the game could be a nail-biter.
For what it’s worth, I’ll be reviewing this prediction throughout the offseason. But absent key injuries to Tide opponents, I doubt my toughest three will change.