The Crimson White

CW staff members make predictions for 2014 season

CW Staff

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Best case: 15-0 – The quarterback position is effective, the defense is elite, cornerbacks are improved and the running backs fulfill the All-American expectations people have for them. An easier schedule allows the team to play at an efficient level all season long, and Saban’s preparation carries the team to the first College Football Playoff championship.

Worst case: 10-3 – The first-year quarterback is ineffective, particularly in road games. The inexperienced offensive line is porous, exacerbating the problem, and the cornerbacks remain inconsistent. Auburn improves and beats Alabama in Tuscaloosa, retaining its SEC West Division crown. Leonard Fournette leads LSU to win on a Saturday night in Death Valley, and the Ole Miss secondary forces turnovers from the inexperienced QB.

Specific prediction: Freshman Tony Brown wins a starting cornerback position by the midpoint of the season, recording at least one pick-six.

Best case: 14-1 after wins in the SEC Championship and College Football Playoff semifinal but a loss in the National Championship.

Worst case: 9-4, finishing the season with a loss in the Outback Bowl.

Specific prediction: Derrick Henry will have a breakout season and secure the starting spot, rushing for more than 1,200 yards.

Best case: 13-1 – Alabama sorts out its quarterback and secondary questions to go undefeated in the SEC and fulfill the media’s prediction for it to win the West and the conference championship game. The Crimson Tide falls in the College Football Playoff’s first semifinal game after the effects of a long season and inevitable injuries take their toll.

Worst case: 10-3 – Alabama is upset by Ole Miss in Oxford after the secondary can’t contain Bo Wallace. Alabama’s weaknesses are revealed and haven’t been fixed by the LSU game. The Crimson Tide keeps it close, but Les Miles eventually dismantles the game plan. Alabama fails to hold onto a lead in the Iron Bowl again and falls at home. It finishes the season where it started: with a win in Atlanta, this time in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Specific prediction: Cyrus Jones steps up at cornerback to help lead secondary. Despite missing match ups early last season, Jones has the potential to win a starting spot this season. He’s one of the smaller defensive backs at Alabama, but if he can be consistent, he could fill in what could be a shaky secondary.

Best case: 12-2 – With a new quarterback – whether it’s Blake Sims or Jake Coker – taking the reins this season, growing pains will be almost inevitable as is the case for most new quarterbacks. Fortunately for Sims or Coker, a plethora of talented receivers headlined by Amari Cooper and a trio of running backs who each have a distinct playing style will be able to help carry much of the load in most games this season. But even in each of its last two national championship seasons, the Crimson Tide slipped up at least once, making it hard to believe it won’t lose at least once in the regular season. If it can manage that much, a bid in the inaugural College Football Playoff will be almost guaranteed.

Worst case: 10-3 – With the starting quarterback battle possibly carrying over into the regular season, valuable playing experience may be lost for the eventual starter when tougher games begin appearing on the schedule. Uncertainty at both cornerback positions and spots along the offensive line could catch up to them on more than one occasion against the likes of LSU, Auburn and a potential sleeper team.

Specific prediction: T.J. Yeldon will rush for more than 1,500 yards and be a Heisman candidate. Despite the hype surrounding Derrick Henry this offseason after a breakout performance in the Sugar Bowl, Yeldon is still Alabama’s No. 1 running back. Henry and Kenyan Drake will see their fair share of carries as well, but it’s Yeldon’s performance that will win or lose games for Alabama.

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CW staff members make predictions for 2014 season