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Alabama Crimson Tide 2016 Season Analysis and Odds

Like a visit from Aunt Irma, the Alabama Crimson Tide keeps showing up at the top of NCAA football preseason polls like clockwork (A Clockwork Crimson?). In 2015, Bama entered the regular season ranked No. 2 in both preseason polls and finished 12-1, 7-1 in the SEC, losing only to Ole Miss. The Tide beat Florida Gators 28-13 in Atlanta to win its 25th SEC championship. Additionally, UA defeated Big Ten’s Michigan State Spartans 38-0 in the semifinal game at the 2015 Cotton Bowl to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game versus No. 1 Clemson of the ACC. Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 to secure its 16th national championship and fourth in the past seven years. Thus, head coach Nick Saban became the second coach in NCAA history to win five championship titles.

This year, the Crimson Tide is once again the college football betting odds-on favorite to win the SEC championship game as well as the NCAA football national championship. Let’s look at the odds for people who bet on college football:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Odds to win NCAA football national championship: +730

Odds to win SEC championship game: +185

Of course, this is not the same team as last year. The Tide lost running back Derrick Henry to the Tennessee Titans, and A’Shawn Robinson to the Detroit Lions, as well as Jake Coker, Denzel Devall, Ryan Kelly, Reggie Ragland, Jarran Reed and others to graduation. However, a football program can afford a few notable departures when it has the No. 1 recruiting class according to Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com, and No.2 according to ESPN – including 19 players featured in the ESPN 300. And Alabama does. UA also has a batch of 17 returning starters; seven on offense, five on defense, and five on special teams.

The Roll Tide will open the 2016 season versus USC Trojans on September 3rd, and are, as expected, the college football betting favorites to win that game. However, the true test will come on September 17th when Bama faces the Ole Miss Rebels. Alabama is superior in pretty much every aspect to any and all other teams in the SEC, but the Rebels have the psychological advantage of having almost derailed The Tide’s 2015 season before it got rolling for real. On the other hand, that loss was motivation enough for Alabama to win the following 12 games in a row, so while Ole Miss got the best of Bama, it also brought the best out of the eventual champions.

It Alabama manages to avenge that loss, then the case could be made among college football betting circles that this year’s Tide is even better than last year’s – if that’s possible. Moreover, one should not leave out the Third Saturday in October, on which the newest chapter in the Alabama–Tennessee football rivalry will play out. Generally speaking, Tennessee may be Bama’s official SEC rival, but the Crimson Tide will be the team to beat, and everyone else will be looking to take the champ down.