No. 1: Alabama Crimson Tide

Nick Saban and the Tide have no intention of feeling disappointed this season. Only a title will ease last year's pain.

Alabama with a chip on its shoulder? Good luck with that. The Crimson Tide weren’t merely beaten by Clemson in the national championship game. They were embarrassed 44-16. That alone should be motivation enough.

But here’s the thing. Nick Saban, who’s as good at the details as anybody in his business or anybody else’s business, has been focused on correcting the flaws that kept Alabama from winning its sixth national championship under Saban.

There will be some new faces on the field, especially in the lines. But Tua Tagovailoa, who saw the Heisman Trophy slip through his hands, is back at quarterback. He’ll throw to the nation’s best receiver corps and hand off to Najee Harris, who’s primed for great things.

The defense again will ooze athleticism. If there’s a personnel question, it’s about the secondary. But the talent is there. And Saban undoubtedly will give a lot of priority to the DBs, who were mistake-prone late in 2018.

The other priority? Establishing some continuity on a coaching staff that has had a lot of turnover as assistants left for opportunities created by the Tide’s success. This, though, is the kind of thing that Saban excels at.

The trips to Texas A&M and Auburn shape up as the toughest outside Tuscaloosa. The Tide will see LSU at home.

And by early December, there’s every reason to think Alabama will be making its annual trip to the College Football Playoff. And getting the job done when it sees Clemson again.

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