Losses to LSU and arch-rival Auburn left the Crimson Tide on the outside looking in for the college football playoffs in 2019, but as usual Alabama has a stockpile of talent ready to take aim at returning to the playoffs.
Alabama’s offense dazzled in 2019, and quarterback Mac Jones stepped up when Tua Tagovailoa went out with a hip injury. Jones returns and has plenty of talent around him with four of five offensive line starters returning and two great wide outs, DeVonta Smith (team-high 1,256 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns last year) and Jaylen Waddle. Smith led the Tide with 1,256 receiving yards and Waddle showed the ability to reach the end zone almost any time he touched the ball. Throw in Najee Harris, the 230-pound steamroller at running back, and Alabama’s offense shouldn’t miss a beat. And if Jones fails to dazzle, all-world recruit Bryce Young is waiting in the wings. Young is a five-star recruit who was a dual-threat player in high school and will most likely see playing time for the Tide.
Injuries took a toll on the Tide’s defense in 2019. A few of those injured players should return in 2020, helping bolster the Tide’s defense, which showed issues stopping the run at times in 2019. Defensive linemen LaBryan Ray, who missed the final 10 games after suffering an early season foot injury vs. South Carolina last year, and nose tackle DJ Dale (missed last three games with a lower-body injury) should help tremendously. Dylan Moses returns after a year hiatus due to injury, giving the Tide a solid linebacking corps. However, the secondary took some hits from the NFL Draft and will have to do some rebuilding.
The schedule plays into the Tide’s favor. If they can survive the Sept. 19 home game against a good Georgia squad, Alabama should cruise until they hit the road to face defending national and SEC champion LSU on Nov. 7. The Tide closes the season with home games against Texas A&M and Auburn, meaning they will face the toughest SEC West teams in a four-week period.