SEC MD17 3: Scouting Alabama

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Alabama coach Nick Saban
Alabama coach Nick Saban speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering Wednesday in Hoover, Ala. [AP Photo/Butch Dill]

Alabama Coach: Nick Saban, 11th season (220-78-1 overall, 119-19 at Alabama).
Last year: 14-1 overall, 8-0 in the SEC (1st in the West). Lost to Clemson 35-31 in the national championship game in Tampa.
Best case scenario: All that young talent Saban has recruited, especially on defense, will step in for all those stars who have moved on to the NFL and the Tide will not miss a beat — or loss an SEC game for the second consecutive season. If the defense plays to the usual standard, the Tide will be dominant again because the offense will be cranked with quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and new coordinator Brian Daboll.
Worst case scenario: The Tide opens with a loss to Florida State and some of the many young players lose confidence and start doubting themselves. But, of course, the reality is the worst case scenario for a Saban team is probably to lose one league game and still make it to Atlanta.
Quotable: “I think this is going to be one of the youngest teams that we’ve had probably since maybe 2012, especially on defense, where we lost a ton of really, really good players, I think seven guys drafted off the defense, all in the first four rounds. So it’s going to be a challenge to replace those guys.” — Saban