Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

FBS Preseason Top 10 Countdown: No. 3

The first team in my top three has a familiar flavor as they are yet another representative from the SEC. Leading off the top three, the reigning National Champions:

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

2011 Record: 12-1 (7-1 SEC)

Bowl Game: Def. LSU 21-0 in BCS National Championship Game


Overview: In the college game it can be difficult to stay in the National Championship chase in consecutive years, but don’t tell that to coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. For the second straight season Alabama will be in the thick of the National Championship chase, thanks to the revolving door of talent that goes through Tuscaloosa. While the loss of linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw have left the defense with less experience this time around, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart surely will put together another tough squad. On the offensive side of the ball the loss of Heisman finalist Trent Richardson will be felt, but running back Eddie Lacy and quarterback AJ McCarron will be playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the country. As has been the case in recent years, the matchup against foe LSU will likely dictate how far the Crimson Tide go in 2012.

Offensive Player to Watch: Eddie Lacy (Junior) – Running Back

Following the 2010 season Alabama lost All-American running back Mark Ingram to the NFL but his loss was quickly forgotten as Trent Richardson exploded onto the scene. This year the scenario is playing out again, as Alabama will be without Richardson in 2012. Crimson Tide fans shouldn’t fret however, as Eddie Lacy has the ability to make Richardson an afterthought in Tuscaloosa this year. While this will be Lacy’s first tour as the starter, he has all the tools to be Alabama’s third consecutive running back with Heisman aspirations. As a backup to Richardson last year, Lacy ran for 631 yards and seven touchdowns. As the feature back Lacy will certainly build upon those already impressive numbers.

Defensive Player to Watch: Nico Johnson (Senior) – Linebacker

Just as Lacy has big shoes to fill on offense, Nico Johnson has the same task on defense as he must help replace star linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw who both are now in the NFL. Last year Johnson was fourth on the team with 43 tackles (23 solo) as he was primarily used in running situations. Johnson also had 5.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, and a fumble recovery in 2011. Johnson is one of the best run-stopping linebackers in the country but he must work on his pass defense in order to become a more complete player.

Key Games: September 15 @ Arkansas, November 3 @ LSU, November 24 vs. Auburn

2012 Prediction: 11-1 (8-1 SEC)

Wins: Michigan, Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn

Losses: LSU


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  • K

    Kevin TzerianAug 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Coin flip for 2 and 3 between Bama and USC I believe