Obviously, the picture above is a dead giveaway, but did you really need a picture of Nick Saban to know Alabama is heavy favorite to win the College Football Playoff this year? It's one of the few remaining certainties there are in life.
Despite losing 12 players to the NFL Draft, four in the first round, the Tide are expected to roll to the playoff for the fifth straight year, and if they do it would mean they've been in the final four every season since the playoff's inception. A win would be their third in the last four years, and their first back-to-back in the College Football Playoff era. But it wouldn't be Saban's first back-to-back as head coach, as he won the BCS National Champonship in 2011 and 2012. So, is it all over? Should we even bother with the season? If you noticed, I didn't even have one of Alabama's games on my way-too-early look list (I know you read and noticed, all 10 of you). That's because I'm not sure there's a game on their schedule that will even be close:
Louisville? 'Bama is already 31-point favorite thanks to the Cardinals losing Lamar Jackson, who would have probably only lessened that spread to -17 if he were still under center. A night game at Ole Miss? Eh, maybe if the Tide make enough mistakes they'll only win by 14. No game at Neyland Stadium against Tennessee is easy, but considering the Volunteers are in their 25th straight rebuilding year, let's chalk that up as a W for Alabama. The last time LSU beat Alabama was 2011, a 9-6 thrilling overtime victory that was dubbed the game of the century prior to kickoff. LSU would need to hold 'Bama to zero points and just kick one field goal this year to have any chance.
That brings us to the Iron Bowl against Auburn, the only team besides Ole Miss to actually give the Tide fits over the last few years. Since the "Kick Six" Alabama has won three of four, but the Tigers took the most-recent affair 26-14 in a game that exposed quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was later replaced in the second half of the College Football Playoff title game by Tua Tagovailoa. It's far too early to tell who will be starting in this game, but it is in Tuscaloosa and Nick Saban has never lost consecutive games to Auburn during his tenure. I don't expect that to change.
As the degenerate's saying goes, you don't lose money betting against Alabama, but it's very hard to repeat. If you believe Auburn has a chance to beat them again, the Tigers are probably the sexiest bet here at 20/1, especially if they get past Washington week 1, another intriguing team to think about at 15/1. As for a longshot (whispers) Stanford at 50/1 is something I'm very interested in.