Starting today, Gridiron Heroics is previewing all SEC teams coming ahead of the 2022 season. Each day, we will break down one team from the East Division and West Division, giving you a position-by-position analysis, and tell you what they need to do to advance to the postseason. Join us as we delve deep into the South’s spectacular obsession, SEC football.
SEC CONF. PREVIEW: Overall SEC Conf. Preview
SEC EAST PREVIEWS: Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | Mizzou | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt
SEC WEST PREVIEWS: Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Mississippi State | Ole Miss | Texas A&M
The Alabama Crimson Tide is no stranger to success, holding the record for the most won SEC championships. This constant line of victories has put Alabama on a pedestal that they had trouble balancing on while rebuilding their team last season. Can they live up to their reputable name in the upcoming 2022 season? Let’s gather up the information and decide.
THE TEAM: Alabama Crimson Tide
THE MENTOR: Nick Saban (27 years, 274-67-1 record)
THE 2021 RECORD (SEC RECORD): 13-2 (7-1)
THE AFTER LIFE: Cotton Bowl (won against Cincinnati 27-6)
THE FIVE STUDS (STATS): Watch out for these guys:
Bryce Young, Jr./QB (4,872 yds, 47 TDs)
Will Anderson Jr., Jr./Edge (57 solo, 17.5 sack)
Kool-Aid McKinstry, Soph./DB (9 solo)
Henry To’o To’o, Sr./LB (52 solo, 4 sack)
Dallas Turner, Soph./LB (14 solo, 8.5 sack)
There is no question of whether the Tide has a strong defense. Just look at Will Anderson Jr.! When you put him and Dallas Turner together, there is an immense defensive power. Then there’s To’o To’o’s great playmaking and leadership qualities. I would say we also need to direct the attention towards Young, but did we ever really stop paying attention to him? His consistency will contribute nothing but wins for Alabama this season.
It’s fair to say that the injuries of Christopher Allen and Drew Sanders took away some potential from the Tide, however it does allow the possibility of discovering some new talent amongst players who have received little playing time. It’s also not a great thing that Alabama has been rebuilding their team since last year, unless it is. The standard that Nick Saban has set for the Tide was not reached last season. Hopefully the projected success of the 2022 team is not based on a false hope of performances from the top players.
I hate to be put in the spot to degrade the Tide, so I won’t. But as a realist, I can’t pretend that everything will be easy peasy lemon squeezy. There has been some speculation surrounding Cameron Latu and his absence in training camps. Although Saban seems to think this allows for opportunities for younger players, the outcome of this situation could end ugly (or good). Furthermore, the offensive line is a little unsettling. There’s definitely room for improvement with, as Saban says, “getting movement on the run.”
BIGGEST NON-CONF GAME OF THE YEAR (AND WHY): Alabama vs. Texas Longhorns on Sept. 10
Texas now has some former Alabama players, serving as an obvious reason as to why this could be interesting. Not only that, but Texas’s offense is looking considerably good. When faced with the Tide’s explosive defense, this will be the one to watch. I don’t think that Alabama will fall short here, but I do think it will put Texas on the watch list.
BIGGEST CONF. GAME OF THE YEAR (AND WHY): Alabama vs. Texas A&M on Oct. 8
We all remember the controversy about Nick Saban claiming that Jimbo Fisher “bought his players.” That drama in itself made us pretty excited for this game. I’m sure that this gives Fisher a little motivation that could result in a serious attempt to take down the Tide. I’m particular interested to see if Saban will maintain his composure during this game, even more so for this reason specifically.
DARKHORSE THREAT ON THE SKED (AND WHY): Ole Miss
Do I think that they’re enough of a “Darkhorse” to beat the Tide? Absolutely I do not. However, I think this game could be one to surprisingly make us sweat. Remember, they now have quarterback Jaxson Dart and have a strong offense in general. While I don’t think it’s stronger than Alabama’s, it could make for an interesting game.
THE HAPPY HISTORY NUGGET: 1985 Iron Bowl
When thinking of all the exciting moments in Alabama history, I couldn’t help but remember the 1985 Iron Bowl against Auburn. The score was 23-22, Alabama trailing behind. Kicker Van Tiffin wins the game with a 52-yard field goal, celebrating with a field full of fans.
WHICH TEAMS WILL THEY BEAT?: Honestly, everyone.
I truly think that Alabama will be number one in the SEC. However, this of course does not consider the possibility of injury. If major injuries happen, you may see me retracting this statement.
WHICH TEAMS WILL THEY LOSE TO?: If I have to pick, Texas A&M.
I don’t think it’s totally out of the question to predict a possible loss to Texas A&M. Although, I don’t think that it will happen, but I do think they would be the most likely victory in the event of a loss by Alabama.
FINAL RECORD, POSTSEASON PREDICTION?: 12-0
I truly think that after the rebuild of last season, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be rolling out a clean sweep. If anything, just leaving a few crumbs at the very least. Overall, if the Tide can avoid serious injury, we should see great success in the performances of the above-mentioned players. Additionally, in the event of injury, there’s the possibility that other players will find an opportunity to pleasantly surprise us.
PRESEASON ALL-SEC PLAYERS:
QB: Bryce Young
RB: Jahmyr Gibbs
WR: Jermaine Burton
OL: Emil Ekiyor Jr.
LB: Will Anderson Jr.
LB: Henry To’oTo’o
DB: Jordan Battle
DB: Eli Ricks
First-team Special Teams
PK: Will Reichard
AP: Jahmyr Gibbs
RELATED ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE STORIES:
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