Once again, like clockwork, the Alabama Crimson Tide remain atop our SEC Power Rankings. But it shouldn’t be this way heading into 2018. Going into 2015, 2016 and 2017 it made sense because they won the conference.
But last year, for the second time in Nick Saban’s tenure, they lost the conference championship only to win the national championship…against the team that won the SEC Championship. So that’s what puts them back at No. 1.
Last year was the drama of Nick Saban’s career, and it’s stretching into this season. The Tide benched their two-year starting quarterback in Jalen Hurts at halftime of the title game and brought in Tua Tagovailoa, only to watch him provide a spark and lead an epic comeback. The result has been a major quarterback battle all offseason.
Adding to that battle is Saban changing up his staff. With the loss of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to the Buffalo Bills in the same role and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to the Tennessee Volunteers as head coach, Saban promoted Mike Locksley and Tosh Lupoi.
Those questions could affect our projections for the Tide this year. But Saban has won national titles with five different offensive coordinators and three different defensive coordinators. So they won’t do that much, and since he’s still there, the continuity is enough to keep this team clearly No. 1 in our SEC Power Rankings.
The Tide have an interesting match of wits to open the season, though, which could solidify their spot here. Saban’s defensive mind goes up against Bobby Petrino’s offensive mind as they face the Louisville Cardinals Saturday evening in Orlando. The game will be a very interesting look at where this team stands early on, and it could definitely impact these rankings.