2022 Alabama Crimson Tide Preview

by Matt Fargo

Alabama Crimson Tide

2021-22 Season Record 13-2 (7-1 SEC West) - 7-6-0 ATS - 7-6-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 5
Defense - 8

Overview

The rich continue to get richer. Alabama lost to Georgia in the CFP Championship and like most every year, it will retool and is currently the favorite to win the championship this year at +200. The Crimson Tide not only have one of the most talented and deep rosters in the country, but they also have the best player in the nation on each side of the ball coming back. Quarterback Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy last season and linebacker Will Anderson, Jr.  took home a lot of big defensive hardware and finished No. 5 in the Heisman voting. Alabama lost seven players to the NFL draft, tied for fifth most overall, but this has been commonplace so there will be little, if any, drop off from its 13-2 season, only its second two-loss season since 2015. The Crimson Tide went 7-6 in 2007, the first year under Nick Saban, and since then it has been an historical run of 14 consecutive double-digit win seasons.

Offense

Last season, the offense had to replace eight offensive starters and did not miss a beat and this season, Alabama brings back five starters. It all starts with Young after setting school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns but he loses his top three wide receivers and top running back. The Crimson Tide will rely on transfers to lead at these positions as wide receiver Jermaine Burton comes over from Georgia and has a great skill set while running back Jahmyr Gibbs left Georgia Tech where he led the Yellow Jackets with 746 yards rushing on 5.2 ypc. The offensive line returns three starters but has to replace left tackle Evan Neal who was the No. 7 overall draft pick. Alabama finished No. 7 in the country in total offense and No. 6 in scoring offense last season and despite the lack of proven playmakers around Young, the offense will again put up huge numbers.

Defense

Alabama also finished No. 7 in total defense and it might have to rely on this unit early on if the offense does take some time to come together. Anderson simply cannot be left one-on-one as he finished with 17.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss and on the other side, Dallas Turner is also back after recording 8.5 sacks and both will again cause havoc. The Crimson Tide lost defensive end Phidarian Mathis who anchored the front line the last two seasons but fellow end Byron Young, who has not missed a game in three years, returns along with three-year starting nose guard DJ Dale. The secondary was the weakest unit last season as it finished No. 50 in passing defense but it is not all on them as teams were down and forced to pass. Starting safeties Jordan Battle and Demarco Hellams both return but both corners need to be replaced with three strong candidates.

2022 Season Outlook

The schedule is in the favor of Alabama but it is still never a cakewalk in the SEC. The Crimson Tide miss Florida and Georgia from the SEC East and they get Texas A&M, Mississippi St. and Auburn at home. The challenges will come at Texas and Tennessee with Mississippi being potentially dangerous, but all said and done, Alabama could not have gotten a better slate. A ton of key players have to be replaced but this is not like many other programs as the additions are not raw and come in with plenty of experience. The Crimson Tide are expected to make their seventh CFP Championship in eight years and it is hard to go against that with plenty of five-star players and one of the best coaching staffs in the nation. Alabama has a 10.5 regular season win total O/U so it can afford only one loss to surpass the over and we can see this one cashing but it is at a -230 price. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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