Alabama Football: The Skill Isn't Just on the Field
Yes, Alabama is a great fooball team. Ask Notre Dame and LSU, who the Crimson Tide beat 42-14 and 21-0 in the past two BCS championship games.
Yes, the SEC is a great conference. They have won nine BCS titles, including eight of the last ten and seven in a row.
However, as great as Alabama has been in winning the last two championships, they were lucky to even get in the games. In 2011, after losing to LSU, Alabama needed late season losses by Oklahoma State and Boise State just to make the BCS final. Last season, after losing to Texas A&M, the Tide needed losses by Kansas State and Oregon, along with undefeated Ohio State being on probation, to advance to play Notre Dame.
So Alabama will easily be Number One going into the season, and the reason they will stay there, their schedule. The Tide has a made-to-order schedule with their toughest non-conference game against overrated Virginia Tech and a bye before the biggest games of the season.
After opening with the Hokies, Alabama gets a bye before facing Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, the only team to beat them last year. After that, the Crimson Tide face Colorado State (4-8), Mississippi (7-6), and then Georgia State (not Georgia) which is in their first year in the FBS.
Three weak SEC teams are next for Alabama. The Tide face Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and these teams were a combined 11-25 last year; not only that, all have new coaches this season. A bye (of course), follows before the annual showdown with LSU.
The last three games of the season are against a Mississippi State team that finished 8-5 but lost their bowl game to Northwestern, which was the Wildcats' first bowl win since 1948; Chattanooga (who?); and a rebuilding Auburn team that finished 3-9 last season.
So yes, Nick Saban is a great coach and Alabama will be in the mix every year, but while there is a lot of luck involved to be one of the top two teams in the BCS system, it is also helpful when the schedule works out just right.