The past 10 seasons have seen the Alabama Crimson Tide as one of the top teams in the nation, year in and year out. Only the Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers have won multiple National Championships since Nick Saban took over as head coach at Alabama in 2007. The Tide has won five National Titles in the 12 years under Saban. It isn’t the overall dominance that Saban brings to the program, it is the consistency. Last season, Clemson defeated the Tide in their 5th straight postseason matchup in the 2019 National Championship. With the Tigers’ recent championship, they will likely be favorites to repeat as determined by the Association Press preseason rankings for the 2019 season. History shows Alabama not starting off at the top of the preseason rankings is not a cause for concern.
It’s not how you start, its how you finish
Alabama arrived in the top 10 rankings early in 2008 after starting off 24th in the preseason polls. Since then, the Tide have remained consistently in the top 10 rankings. Alabama started ranked fifth in the 2009 preseason, which was their first title under Saban. The Tide have since been selected within the top three teams in the preseason every year. They were ranked first overall in the preseason five times but only one of those seasons (2017) was a national championship season. The 2010 season was the first time that Saban and the Crimson Tide started off first overall. At the end of the season, the Tide (10-3) finished 10th in the nation in the AP Poll with loses to South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn. This would be the worst record for Alabama since the inaugural 2007 season, under Sabab, when they finished 7-6.
The Tide has been ranked first in the preseason rankings in each of the past three seasons. They have been to the National Title game in each of the past three seasons but have only come up with one championship. Alabama has not had the best luck of keeping their top ranking in the preseason to concluding with a championship. The first four championship titles for the Crimson Tide under coach Saban have come when they weren’t preseason favorites. Coach Saban has always used a form of undervaluing perspective of his team as a form of motivation. This upcoming season, the Crimson Tide may not be the favorites despite having a stacked and talented team coming back. That is just the way Coach Saban likes it going into a season.
Alabama and Clemson in a race for top preseason ranking
The Clemson Tigers will likely be the team that will be top-ranked in the preseason rankings due to their status as defending champs. The Associated Press has not yet released their overall rankings going into week one of the 2019 College Football season. Most media outlets have the Tigers ranked number one. Only Athlon Sports, Sporting News, and SB Nation have the Crimson Tide ranked number one. All the other major sources that ranked Clemson number one has the Tide ranked second. SB Nation has the Tigers ranked third overall, just behind the Georgia Bulldogs.
The rankings consistently have the Crimson Tide in the second place slot behind Clemson. The Associated Press will likely have the Tide ranked second in the nation. Preseason rankings are a controversial topic with all college sports, but it remains intact due to its reliability to judge the potential over 129 college football programs. While the preseason rankings do not fully reflect the potential of programs, they do have the most accurate projection on which teams have already impacted the sport of college football. This comes from preseason camps, returning starters, recruiting, and the energy of the team going into fall. The Crimson Tide is one of the top teams in the nation right now but their likely second overall ranking shows they’ll need to rebound in a game setting before being ranked as the favorites for the College Football Playoffs in January 2020.