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Head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have been attacked by outsiders and media members in the last two seasons. It didn’t finish the job in 2013 and 2014, but Alabama has a chance to speak for itself and silence critics of the Southeastern Conference this season.

The Crimson Tide returns experience and talented youth, however, it’s been given a gauntlet of a schedule. According to ESPN’s football power index (FPI), Alabama has the toughest strength of schedule. It’s predicted to win 8.7 games, and has a 0.9 percent chance of going undefeated.

ESPN has the Crimson Tide at a 12.9 percent opportunity to win the SEC. Its football power index number of 23.3 falls second to Ohio State, who is at 25.5. Alabama has to face Georgia, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Auburn on the road this season. It has a tough stretch at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss.


Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.


Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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