2. Damien Harris will rush for 1,000 yards
One thousand yard rushers and Alabama football have gone hand-in-hand under Saban. Only twice since 2008 have the Tide not had at least one 1,000-yard rusher in a season. Add to the equation that Harris already has 1,000-yard rushing seasons the last two years so the milestone isn’t new territory.
What could be new territory is the all-time rushing crown if Harris can gain 1,371 in his senior season. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Alabama will either have a quarterback that is limited as a passer in Jalen Hurts, or a sophomore with a half of starting experience who will need time to grow as the starter.
Also, the Tide are introducing new offensive and defensive coordinators, both of whom can use a good backup plan in a solid running game. Harris can provide that and more, and his 1,000-yard season is as good as in the bag.
1. The Tide will be undefeated during the regular season
Since 2008, the Tide have gone undefeated in conference play three times (2008, 2009, and 2016) while losing more than once only one time in that same time span. Compared to previous years, Alabama will open up with a Louisville team who just lost its Heisman winning quarterback who had to be everything offensively for a team that managed only eight wins in 2017. Aside from two other out-of-conference games against Arkansas State and ULL, the Tide also play Tennessee and Missouri from the East.
The Tide have yet to lose to the Vols under Saban while dominating its last three meetings against Missouri, winning by an average of almost four touchdowns. Road games include trips to Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU, none of which have had any success against Alabama since Ole Miss defeated Alabama in 2015.
Meanwhile, Alabama will get Auburn, Texas A&M and Mississippi State at home. The meat of the schedule comes to Tuscaloosa with no foreseeable threat until November.
I’m not ready to crown Alabama the 2018 national champions just yet, but I feel great about saying this team will be 12-0 at the end of the year.
(You can follow Justin Nails on Twitter @JustinNails)
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