The Usual Suspects
Alabama (’98: 7-5, 4-4 SEC)
Posted: Wednesday August 11, 1999 04:37 PM
It's hard to believe Alabama hasn't won an SEC title since its national championship season of 1992. But in 1999, the Tide has perhaps their best team since. OK, quarterback Andrew Zow isn't exactly Jay Barker reincarnate, but the defense will live up to Alabama's standards of excellence. The defensive line returns all four starters and should put as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks as Alabama boosters have put on coach Mike DuBose to win.
Mike DuBose -- third season, 11-12; 11-12 overall
RB Shaun Alexander -- He's the only returning tailback in the SEC that averaged more than 100 yards a game last season. Has the talent to average 150.
LT Chris Samuels -- The rock of the Crimson Tide line. A pretty good watchdog for Zow's blindside.
LB Saleem Rasheed -- With the departure of starting linebacker Travis Carroll, the true freshman Rasheed could be forced into early duty. He's got the talent to make a quick impact.
Why it will work
Just like in Tide tradition, defense will be the strong point of this team. Have SEC West rivals Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State all at home.
Why it won't
Pressure on DuBose could become a distraction. And if Alexander gets hurt, the second-leading returning rusher (Arvin Richard) had only 37 yards last season.
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