Alabama football schedule roster recruiting and what to watch in 2018

3. Will coaching turnover bite Tide?

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Its for that reason Alabama once again ranks No. 1 inSporting News updated way-too-early top 25. As weve said before, the season doesnt start until someone beats the Tide.

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Alabamas is one of the most intriguing quarterback competitions in college football. Jalen Hurts is a two-year starter with a 26-2 record who led the Tide to two national championship games. Tua Tagovailoa is the savior of the 2017 CFP title game and looked considerably better throwing the ball last year. This will ultimately come down to who runs the offense better, but it also creates questions as to what will happen to the loser of this battle.

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Alabamas 2018 class was its first to not rank No. 1 since 2010, though the Tide still managed to haul in theNo. 7 overall classaccording to 247Sports Composite team rankings. The class is headlined by five-stars in defensive end Eyabi Anoma (No. 4 overall, No. 1 WDE) and cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. (No. 6 overall, No. 1 CB). The Tide also brought in four early enrollees, including Saivion Smith, the No. 2 overall JUCO player and the No. 1 cornerback from the junior college ranks. In all, Alabama brought in a 19-man class, including two five-star and 12 four-star players.

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The Alabama train rolls into 2018 with as high expectations as ever in Year 12 of the Nick Saban era. The Tide will vie for their sixth national title under Saban, which would come in a span of just 10 years since their first in 2009.

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Alabama will be a favorite to reach a fifth consecutive College Football Playoff in 2018. But the Tide have several holes to fill and one of the most intriguing quarterback battles in college football.

Alabama football schedule, roster, recruiting and what to watch in 2018

Saban was forced to rebuild and reconfigure his staff after several departures, including offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Saban filled those positions with Mike Locksley, an offensive analyst in 2016, and linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi, respectively. Saban also made excellent hires in quarterbacks coach Dan Enos, receivers coach Josh Gattis and special teams/tight ends coach Jeff Banks. The Tides on-field talent might make this a non-issue, but the same cant be said about their recruiting efforts: If Alabama cant maintain coaching continuity, it cant maintain those all-important relationships with recruits.

Alabama loses six starters from its secondary in Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Tony Brown, Laurence Hootie Jones, Anthony Averett and Levi Wallace. Redshirt-junior Deionte Thompson should start at safety after filling in well in the CFP. Trevon Diggs started against Florida State and Shyheim Carter is another former blue-chip who could step into a starting role. Surtain and Smith should be given an opportunity to contribute right away as well.

Heres a look ahead at Alabamas 2018 season:

Incredibly, Alabama has the talent and a favorable-enough schedule that itll be considered a favorite to earn a fifth consecutive College Football Playoff berth. Alabama could have one of its most talented offenses ever under Saban and enough top-tier talent to absorb the losses of several key defensive players.

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