The Sports Network believes Nick Saban will get the best of LSU this season. It is a strong prediction of the faith in Saban’s ability as a coach. But could it really happen?
Here’s what the Sports Network believes:
1. While last season’s defense finished 8th in the SEC, Saban and Kevin Steele will “shape it into a top-ten defense” in 2007.
2. Major Applewhite will lead the team to its best offensive output since 1999 when the team posted an average of 29 ppg.
3. RB Terry Grant could come close to Shaun Alexander’s rusing record before graduation.
4. Alabama finally will establish a homefield advantage again.
Those are some big predictions. And it might even be more optimistic than the average Alabama fan’s dreams. However, there are reasons to believe some of those assumptions.
First, the offensive line will be better this year. It has more depth and a better coaching staff. It should open better holes and have improved pass protection. This means more points in the red zone.
Second, better blocking will mean more running lanes for the backs. This should help improve the running game substantially this year.
Third, the defense will be stronger and in better condition. I’m not sure a top-ten defense is realistic. In fact, I’m betting the defense will once again be middle-of-the-pack in the SEC; however, the defense will produce more big plays and turnovers.
Fourth, Bryant-Denny will be a difficult place to play again. Count on it.
Putting those pieces together, 2007 should be a great seasonâ€”it is easy to see why sports experts like those at the Sports Network would so optimistically predict a Tide victory over the Tigers.
You can read the entire Sports Network analysis of this year’s SEC and BCS chances below. It is in Flash, so if it doesn’t load, you’ll need to enable it. And if you don’t like the Sports Network, then just skip this post.