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A Preview of the 2016/17 College Football Season in Alabama

Alabama isn't known for its litany of superstar celebrities and singers, nor is it among America's more popular tourist states. Though while Alabama might not be swinging even with states like New York and California in overall pop culture popularity, you better believe that they're one of the biggest states in the union when it comes to football. Especially when speaking about college football, the state of Alabama has two of the most popular and competitive teams in all the NCAA: The Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle” are the most common phrases shouted in Alabama, in celebration of these two teams. And these two teams are not only central to Alabama football, but also to football across the entire nation. Both playing in the SEC West, the Tide and Tigers have a rivalry that dates back nearly a hundred years, and every season these two teams end their regular season schedules by playing one another in the Iron Bowl.

For the past few years, the Crimson Tide have dominated both the Iron Bowl series and the SEC in general. Appearing in back to back playoffs, Alabama has won a National Championship in three of the past five seasons and have won the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship two years running. So, for right now, it's the Tide on top; however, as has been historically the case, Auburn can instantly shift things around and reclaim their glory. There's an ebb and flow to Alabama football, and the entire sporting world is on edge every season to see which team does the best. Let's have a look at which Alabama football team is suspected to do well this season.

What We Can Expect from Alabama's SEC Teams

While this is an SEC site, dealing with the Southeastern Conference in college football, we do try to be impartial here and to view things objectively. Unlike last season's predictions, what we find is that not both Alabama teams are commanding the same respect inside of their conference. The Crimson Tide are expected to do fairly well this season upcoming, while the Auburn Tigers are expected to struggle a bit. Of course, it's not written in stone, and we simply don't know if this is how things are going to play out or not. But if the predictions of the oddsmakers hold true, then what we're going to see is one Alabama team compete for the conference championship, and the other struggle to scrap together a winning record. And the reason for one team's fate has very little to do with the other team. In fact, these teams' fates will pretty much be sealed before they even play in the Iron Bowl, with one team likely needing a win to get to the SEC Championship, and the other team simply playing for pride.

The reason things are going to be a lot tougher on the Tigers, if the predictions are accurate, is that the rest of the conference is just daunting this season. The LSU Tigers, for instance, are a team that's much improved. They get their star RB back for another year, Leonard Fournette, and they also have a more potent passing offense. Over in the East of the SEC, Georgia is another team that has upgraded at head coach and also gets Nick Chubb back for another season. The Ole Miss Rebels are also a dangerous team. In fact, for the past two seasons, they have been Alabama's only loss and a terror for Auburn. Bottom line: These teams from Alabama have a whole lot to worry about besides one another. While they will face off at the end of the season, and the game will undoubtedly go down as an instant classic, they're both walking through a veritable minefield of excellent football until which point they meet on the gridiron.

You can signup with one of the Alabama online sports betting sites we recommend and perhaps place a future's bet offering great odds. As of Aug 2016, the odds are +600 for Alabama Tide to win the National Championship and +16600250 for Auburn to win it all.

The Alabama Crimson Tide

What can we say about Alabama that hasn't been said on a thousand different sites? Well, the best we can do here is be as current as possible, and with that we can tell you that the Crimson Tide are going to have a new-look offense this season. While it is true that Alabama's running back recruits are supposed to be great again this season, it's also true that they've lost Heisman winner Derrick Henry and his back-up Kenyan Drake to the NFL Draft. In fact, the Tide are only returning a few starters. Though if you think Alabama's fretting over that, think again. They're actually returning more starters this season than what they returned last season, and last season they marched right to the playoff and won the National Championship. So if anyone thinks rebuilding slows Nick Saban down, they haven't been paying attention to how the Tide roll. Their new-look offense this year is likely going to be more pass-happy. With the best crop of wide receivers in all of college football, with the likes of Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart and TE OJ Howard returning, any strong-armed QB recruit the Tide get will likely be able to air the ball out in Lane Kiffin's pro-style offense. And the fact that Alabama will still have a great O-line and likely stud running backs just means that they're going to be more like the Baylor and TCU of the SEC, scoring 40 or 50 points in most games they play.

Plus, you have to factor into the equation Alabama's propensity for putting forth a stellar defense every single season. It's not hyperbole; it's just a fact. In every single year of Saban's tenure, even in years where they've failed to win the SEC, the Tide have had a top-10 defense on the field. This season, they're actually getting more pass rushers and have a better secondary, so while they might allow more rushing yards overall, the common consensus is that they'll also allow fewer overall points. And since games are only decided by the scoreboard, the new-look 'Bama Tide should be in great position to do well. More about betting on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Auburn Tigers

The Auburn Tigers under head coach Gus Malzahn have been incredible to watch on the field. Even in losing efforts, War Eagle still manage to make the games very exciting and compelling by scoring a multitude of points. They have one of the most unique offenses in college football, east of the Pac-12. Their run-and-gun style of play is something that many SEC teams cannot handle. This was especially the case a few years ago when a young man transferred in from junior college and changed the dynamics of college football in general. Some of you might remember him. His name was Cameron Jerrell Newton, though most people just call him Cam. Though now that Cam's in Carolina going to Super Bowls, the Tigers are struggling to recapture that sort of magic. Against Alabama in the past few years, the Tigers have struggled mightily, and that “style” of team, so to speak, has been the Tigers' Achilles heel for years now. If you're a strong team that can control the football on offense, Auburn's defense wears down and ends up allowing you to score points. Will things be any different for them this season?

The big story this season in Auburn actually takes place on the sidelines, as they're losing their defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. This is bittersweet for the Tigers. On one hand, he is a very well-liked and even loved figure, a great coach of young men. On the other hand, his defense was ranked 13th in the SEC and the Tigers simply couldn't compete in the SEC, and a record of 6-7 isn't good for one of the group of 5 conferences like the MAC: in the SEC, it's just embarrassing. While Auburn does seem to have recruited a decent class of freshmen and have some of their coaching woes addressed, the sad fact of life in that part of Alabama is that the Tigers open up their season against Clemson, who were the National Championship runners up and whom the Crimson Tide had to employ some trickery to defeat. So things starting off with Auburn at a game loss don't seem to bode very well. We'll see how Auburn does throughout the season, but the way things are shaping up, it's going to be a long, hard season for the Tigers. Check out our page about betting on the Auburn Tigers.

The Iron Bowl

Being so far down the road at this point in late July, predicting how the Iron Bowl will play out is sort of like predicting the Super Bowl, only a lot harder. You might not know this about college football, but the NCAA goes to great lengths to keep secret most of the off-season goings-on in the entire league, so you never really know what sort of product the teams are putting onto the field until which point they take the field. It's not like the NFL, where the reporters are there and agents and publicists put out press releases and you can follow the players. In the NCAA, the privacy of these young men playing is still taken seriously, and that's part of the reason you have coaches like Jim Harbaugh crying the blues about how the “system” doesn't allow coaches to just swoop in and swoon prospects any time they so choose. Though that digression aside, what we're driving at is that we can only go by the odds here. Alabama is 6/1 to get to the playoff, and 8/1 to win the National Championship outright. Auburn, on the other hand, is 35/1 to get to the playoff and about the same to win the SEC. So, likely is the case that by the time the Iron Bowl comes around, you're going to have an Alabama team with a record of roughly 10-1, and an Auburn team that's 6-5.

This will actually go a long way in determining which team wins. You see, if Alabama has to win the Iron Bowl to get to the SEC Championship to play the leader in the East, which will likely be the Georgia Bulldogs, then they'll have a whole lot of motivation and will be hitting and sticking like you wouldn't believe. Likewise, if Auburn is only playing for pride and a mediocre bowl game, don't be surprised to see them play a slower-paced game. What we predict is that Alabama will be playing the Iron Bowl en route to an SEC Championship and that the Tide will throw it heavy on the Tigers. The Tigers won't just roll over and play dead, however; they'll fight back, and we expect to see a great game with a final score that hovers around 45-35, Alabama's way.