The Alabama Crimson Tide had a dominant regular season in 2018, and they were christened as national champions on a presumptive basis numerous times in the run-up to the College Football Playoffs. The Tide would make it to the big game as expected, but things didn’t go anywhere near according to plan.
They faced off with the Clemson Tigers and were promptly taken to the woodshed. When the final whistle blew, it was Clemson that was crowned as champs after a dominant 44-16 victory. At game time, Alabama was a 5.5-point favorite, but even that doesn’t do justice to the magnitude of the upset.
Clemson winning the game itself wasn’t completely flooring, but it was the manner in which they dominated the proceedings as Alabama scrambled for answers that just weren’t there which was a bit shocking.
A new college football season is on the horizon, and the same two programs are once again favored to meet in the ultimate game. As we look ahead, questions abound as to what we will see out of the Crimson Tide this season.
While they’re expected to once again be in the playoffs, did the big loss to Clemson expose some chinks in the armor of head coach Nick Saban and company? Or will the stench of the defeat inspire the program to even bigger heights this time around?
Let’s take a look at what the season to come may bring for Alabama.
Alabama Crimson Tide 2018 Season Recap
Record: 14-1 | Standings: 1-SEC West | Playoffs: Lost the NCG
The Crimson Tide burst out of the gates in 2018 with an explosive offense to match their typically stellar defense. The team dropped 50+ points in each of their first three games, winning all three contests by 37 points or more.
Alabama faced its first challenging game of the season in Week 4 when Texas A&M came to town, but they still walked off the field with a 45-23 victory. The club would break the 50-point barrier for each of its next two wins as the cruise through the regular season continued.
The club would win the next two by double digits, and followed that up by perhaps its most impressive stretch of the year. In back-to-back weeks, the Crimson Tide picked up shutout victories over LSU and Mississippi State, the former of which was a road game for Alabama.
Two more wins followed to close out the regular season, including a 52-21 home win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl, and then it was on to the SEC Championship game versus Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The first chinks in the Crimson Tide’s armor for 2018 would appear in this game, as they actually trailed by a score of 28-21 heading into the 4th quarter. A furious rally ensued, led by Jalen Hurts as he came on in relief of Tua Tagovailoa, and Alabama would rally for two scores and a 35-28 win.
After stunning Georgia, the Crimson Tide moved on to face Oklahoma in a CFP semifinal game at the Orange Bowl. The Sooners put up a fight, but Alabama would advance to the title tilt with a 45-34 win behind a 4-TD performance from Tagovailoa.
It was close after the 1st quarter as the Tigers held a 14-13 lead. It was all Clemson from that point. The Alabama defense just didn’t seem to have any answers for what Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney had up his sleeve.
Trevor Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three scores as Clemson rolled over the Tide with a 44-16 win. It was a stunning end to what had been a great season for Alabama. The Crimson Tide were clearly the second-best team in the nation last year, but we doubt they took much solace in that.
Alabama Crimson Tide Offseason
As per usual, the Crimson Tide lost a number of players to the pros. Among those who have left behind shoes to fill were first-round selections Quinnen Williams, Jonah Williams, and Josh Jacobs. Also as per the norm, the program had little trouble restocking the cupboards.
Alabama secured another banner recruiting class, which included a trio of five-star prospects. The potential future stars for the Crimson Tide are defensive end Antonio Alfano, offensive tackle Evan Neal, and running back Trey Sanders.
They’ll join a talented cast of characters which includes a returning Tagovailoa, running back Najee Harris, and a receiving corps led by Jerry Jeudy. Returning players to watch on defense include linebackers Dylan Moses and Terrell Hall.
|Alabama Crimson Tide 2019 Schedule|
|1||Sat. Aug.31||vs. Duke Blue Devils*||3:30 PM||ABC|
|2||Sat. Sept.7||vs. New Mexico State Aggies||4:00 PM||SEC|
|3||Sat. Sept.14||at South Carolina Gamecocks||3:30 PM||CBS|
|4||Sat. Sept.21||vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles||TBD||TBD|
|5||Sat. Sept.28||vs. Ole Miss Rebels||TBD||TBD|
|7||Sat. Oct.12||at Texas A&M Aggies||TBD||TBD|
|8||Sat. Oct.19||vs. Tennessee Volunteers||TBD||TBD|
|9||Sun. Oct.26||vs. Arkansas Razorbacks||TBD||TBD|
|11||Sat. Nov.9||vs. LSU Tigers||TBD||TBD|
|12||Sat. Nov.16||at Mississippi State Bulldogs||TBD||TBD|
|13||Sat. Nov.23||vs. Western Carolina Catamounts||TBD||TBD|
|14||Sat. Nov.30||at Auburn Tigers||TBD||TBD|
*Game to be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA
Alabama opens up the year with a game in Atlanta versus Duke, and we could see plenty of points put on the board for that one. Next up is a date with New Mexico State at home. It’s not going to be pretty for the Aggies.
The first game with a slight bit of intrigue comes in Week 3 when the Crimson Tide head to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. We wouldn’t expect an upset here, but the arrival of Alabama on campus has a tendency to jack opponents up.
The Tide have two more games which look like surefire wins before hitting a bye in Week 6. From there, it’s a challenging game on the road at Texas A&M. Outside of Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma, the Aggies were the team that tested Alabama the most in 2018.
A pair of home games follow, and then it’s another week off. The Crimson Tide close out the year with three of their last four against SEC foes, two of which will be on the road. The final game of the regular season will be this year’s version of the Iron Bowl, which is hosted by Auburn this time around.
Alabama Crimson Tide 2019 Outlook
At first glance, we can point to five games in which things could get interesting for Alabama. Four of them take place on the road – South Carolina, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Auburn – while the other is at home versus LSU.
The Crimson Tide shut out both LSU and Mississippi State last season, so you can expect revenge to be on the minds of both of those programs. The game at South Carolina is an expected win, but we’ll note again that it should be a raucous atmosphere for Alabama to contend with.
Texas A&M could be much improved this season, and they may pose the most challenging test on the 2019 schedule for the Tide. The Iron Bowl game versus SAuburn is always interesting, and the Tigers have the benefit of playing host this season.
Alabama Crimson Tide 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
The NCAAF betting sites have set quite the benchmark for the Crimson Tide when it comes to regular season wins.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
It was a disappointing end to a stellar season for Alabama in 2018, and we would imagine that the sting has stayed with the program throughout the offseason. The team enters 2019 as a big favorite to reach the title game once again. Are those expectations warranted?
The answer to that question is a simple yes. The Crimson Tide are loaded with talent, and that’s even after losing a boatload of players to the NFL. They had another stellar recruiting class this year, and also look like they have a number of first-rounders for next year’s draft.
While the loss to Clemson was a horrifying one for head coach Nick Saban, it wouldn’t be wise to assume that means he has lost a step. Until further notice, he remains one of the top coaches in the nation at any level.
SEC schedules are always challenging, but there don’t appear to be many landmines for Alabama to contend with this season. However, looking for a perfect season may be a bit too much to ask. We’re rolling with the Under for the Crimson Tide.