Can Alabama compete for a national championship in 2008?
Donâ€™t laugh. According to Rivals.comâ€™s senior college football writer Olin Buchanan, Alabama and five other teams meet the criteria for a BCS champion.
The criteria used?
Trends during the BCS era indicate that the 2008 national champ will be a team that meets the following criteria:
1. Play in a “BCS conference”
2. Post at least seven victories the previous season
3. Win the previous season’s bowl
4. Have an upperclassman quarterback with starting experience
5. Return at least six starters from a top-40 defense
In my opinion there are two teams on this list of competitors who stand a chance: Georgia and Kansas.
Alabamaâ€™s inclusion is more a statistical anomaly. The team has to develop character, and strength before it can even have a shot at a division title, much less a conference crown or national title.
Georgia was the best team in the SEC in 2007, but due to ESPN and other media pushing LSU, the Tigers got a shot at the title game. The nonsense about having to win your conference only makes sense when every conference team plays one another. Georgiaâ€™s schedule was substantially different than LSUâ€™s; however, LSU and Georgia never played. How do we know the better team in the SEC? Until we get a true college football playoff, great teams like Georgia will be penalized.
However, in 2008 the Bulldogs have a shot at it all. Athens may be home to the best offense in the conferenceâ€”I wonder if the improvement on the offensive side of the ball is related in any measure to the exodus of Neil Calloway?
But back to Alabama. An experienced quarterback is always important to making a championship run. If, and this is a big IF, J. P. Wilson gets help from the new offensive coordinator, then Alabama could make big strides in 2008.
The defensive side of the ball should continue to improve. The defense was the bright spot in 2008â€”by the end of the year, it was playing good enough to give everyone hope for the future. Experience here should make Alabama a Top 25 program in 2008.