NCAAF Week 6 Straight Up Picks & Betting Lines

3 Reasons to Bet Against Alabama to win the College Football Title

Written by on November 15, 2016

I have been given a tough assignment by my editors at MyBookie: reasons why the University of Alabama won’t win its second straight national championship and fifth under coach Nick Saban — perhaps cementing Saban’s legacy as the greatest football coach in NCAA history. To be honest, I don’t think the Tide can be stopped and they are the -150 favorites in college football lines, but things happen and here are three potential speed bumps.

3 Reasons to Bet Against Alabama to win the College Football Title

Because Of Freshman QB Jalen Hurts

Look, I am reaching a bit here, but Jalen Hurts is just a freshman and the Tide have won all their national titles under Saban with experienced quarterbacks, or at least experienced in that they were upperclassmen. Perhaps when Hurts gets into a huge game at a neutral site, he might make freshman mistakes. That just doesn’t look likely now. Hurts was named the SEC co-Offensive Player of the Week along with LSU running back Derrius Guice on Monday. During the Tide’s 51-3 win over Mississippi State on Saturday, Hurts became the first player in Alabama history to pass for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game. Hurts finished 28 of 37 for a career-high 347 yards as a passer, posted 100 yards as a runner and had a career-best five total touchdowns — four passing, one rushing. He’s on pace to have about 2,600 passing yards, 1,000 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns after the SEC championship game. The Tide already have clinched a spot in the SEC title game no matter what happens in their Iron Bowl matchup in two weeks against Auburn.

Injuries Always Can Happen

What if Hurts were to go down? The Tide already lost one quarterback, Blake Barnett, as he decided to transfer in late September. Barnett, a redshirt freshman, started Alabama’s season-opening game against USC before he was pulled in favor of Hurts. Redshirt junior Cooper Bateman is now the clear No. 2 quarterback on the Crimson Tide’s depth chart with Barnett’s departure. Bateman started one game last season and was the primary backup to then-starter Jake Coker. The Tide already lost one of the nation’s best safeties and return men, Eddie Jackson, to a season-ending injury. Running back Bo Scarbrough remains in the process of working back from the sprained knee he suffered during Alabama’s win over LSU Nov. 5. Scarbrough’s role was growing prior to sustaining the injury. He has rushed for 358 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. And what’s going on with top receiver Calvin Ridley? Last month he torched Kentucky while making 11 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. That performance seemed to augur big things to come from Ridley, who appeared to finally establish a true connection with Hurts. But since then Ridley has collected only 148 receiving yards in five games.

Lane Kiffin Distraction?

It’s very possible that during the downtime between Alabama’s SEC Championship Game against either Florida or Tennessee and then the Tide’s bowl game that some school could hire offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin as its head coach. With Alabama favored to go 15-0 and win back-to- back national titles, Kiffin is poised to capture another head coaching job after stints with the Raiders, Tennessee and USC. But at Alabama, Kiffin has transformed three unproven quarterbacks — Blake Sims, Coker and Hurts — in consecutive seasons. Kiffin would certainly stay with Alabama through the College Football Playoff, but that can be a distraction. You have heard Kiffin’s named linked to what will likely be an opening at Oregon. Alabama does have experience with this sort of thing as Georgia hired Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart last year before the bowl game and Smart stayed on with the Tide and of course they beat Clemson in the national title game — although the Tigers tore up Smart’s defense.