Looking at Top Ten Teams and Their Chances Against Alabama
By: Larry Burton
Many are saying that this could be the best overall team that Nick Saban has ever assembled. That is not good news for opponents since Saban has assembled so many national championship teams.
So looking at the current top ten, what are the chances they realistically have to pose a problem to the Tide? Let’s go in order of what this writer who has covered football for long thinks and we’ll start in order of the teams with the worst chance.
Starting with number nine of the chart to topple the tide.
9. Michigan – Currently the number 6 team in the nation, Michigan just doesn’t have the defense to begin to slow the Tide. They’re also undermanned on the offensive line and their Ole Miss transfer quarterback would be running for his life.
In total defense they’re 37th, in total offense they’re 80th. They could play Alabama 100 times and they’d lose all 100.
8. Texas – Currently the number 7 team in the nation, the Longhorns are still growing from the ashes and don’t have the depth to stand with Alabama through even one half of play.
Their team isn’t even in the top one third of all teams in total defense, coming in at 49, so the Tide could hang 60 on them in total and easily be ahead 42- 6 by halftime. Their 65th rated offense would have trouble scoring on this team and if they managed more than 13, it would be a surprise.
They let a two loss Maryland team run all over them and Maryland lost to Temple. Alabama could play Texas 100 times and the Longhorns would lose all 100.
7. UCF – Central Florida hasn’t really played a lot of the big boys and they’ve shown they have problems with some of the little ones. Last season’s win against a distraught and tailspinning Auburn team means nothing this year.
They do have an offense that could and would put points on the board against Alabama. They have the nation’s number 3 team in total offense. But remember, that’s against the second tier teams. However, their 65th rated defense would allow Alabama to score at will. They’ve never played against an offense with weapons like this. A fair estimate at a score might come in something like 52-20.
These two could play 100 times and UCF would lose all 100.
6. Notre Dame – What again? One can’t help but see this as just another vastly overrated Notre Dame team that would be squashed by Alabama yet again. Yes, they have some wins over decent teams, but they’ve really struggled with all of them including a 22-17 win over Vanderbilt and a 24-16 win over lowly Ball State.
Their total defense ranking comes in at 34th and that’s not terrible. However their 49th rated offense would keep them having any chance at all of outscoring the Tide. They might sneak in a score or two and their defense could slow Alabama a little so a 42-13 score might be about right.
Should they play 100 games, Notre Dame would join the teams that would never win one of them.
5. Oklahoma – This is a well coached team that can play up in the big games and while this isn’t one of their strongest teams in recent years, their resiliency and never give up attitude might make it interesting. After all, they’ve beaten the big bad Tide the last few times they’ve played them, so there’s no fear factor.
Their number nine offense could and would put some put points on the board, but their 97th rated total defense would have nightmares trying to stop Alabama would would score big on this defense.
Because this is Oklahoma and they have the knowledge that they’ve beaten them before when maybe they shouldn’t, you have to give them a chance, albeit a small one. If they played Alabama 100 times you’d have to think they could manage to snag one of them.
4. Ohio State – This is not Urban Meyer’s best Buckeye squad and that’s what it would take to make this game close. The Buckeye offense is the nation’s second best, they could and would put points up on the Tide, but their 58th rated defense means Alabama would easily put up 52 to 60 on them if they wanted to not play the bench.
Simply put, they can’t win a track meet with that defense. Still, they’ll score some points with that kind of prolific offense and any team that can score has a puncher’s chance.
If they played 100 games against each other, Alabama should win 98 of them.
3. Clemson – While it’s not Dabo’s best team and his best team still would not beat this Alabama squad, it is a dangerous squad that isn’t afraid to tee it up with these Tuscaloosans.
One of the reasons they don’t fear Alabama is the history they share. Clemson makes a game of it every time. Their 8th rated offense is one of the reasons they would have a little confidence. More than that, their 3rd rated defense would give them even more confidence.
Here is one of the teams that could make it interesting. If they played 100 games, Clemson could win five of 5 of them. While some may think that Alabama’s 95% advantage is too high, you have to look at the close games that Clemson has had.
2. Georgia – Georgia has a history with Alabama, lately it’s been that they play close, hard fought games, also that they lose those games. This isn’t the same squad that played Alabama so close last season and they lost a lot of players who stayed for their senior year for one more shot, so this is a weaker Bulldog team playing a much better Alabama team.
Still this is an SEC team used to taking on big challenges. Their 13th rated defense is well earned against some tough teams and their 31st rated offense has been against a lot of good SEC teams as well.
Even though this is rated as the team with the second best chance to beat the Tide, it’s a small one at best. Should those teams play 100 games, Georgia wouldn’t win more than 6. A realistic score would be something like 45-20.
1. LSU – The number one threat to Alabama right now will soon play out when they meet up the first week in November. Yes this is a team that lost to Florida, but in their other games, they’ve displayed a much better offense.
While LSU hasn’t had a lot of luck against the Tide lately, they do have memories of other past LSU squads who have done that. Yes their offense is rated as only the nation’s 70th best, but they can and do score when they need to. But their defense is the nation’s 33rd best and they are quickly improving.
With the game in Tiger Stadium, that throws a monkey wrench in the estimating of odds, but should they play 100 games, LSU might pull out 9 of them. A realistic estimate of a score might be 42-20.
Anyone who sneaks into the top 10 after this week won’t fare better odds than this group. Yes, Las Vegas has Alabama as the runaway leader to win the next national championship, so if you think is article is slanted, so does every oddsmaker in every sports betting parlor too. This truly is Alabama’s year and everyone else is just playing for second place.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter