If you love football, then definitely some part of you must love the Alabama Crimson Tide, or at least love what Nick Saban has done with the team since he earned his head-coaching gig with them over a decade ago. With four SEC Conference and four National Titles to his name since joining Bama in ’07, there is no denying that Saban is a mogul when it comes to leading the Crimson Tide to success. 2016 is thus expected to be another big year for Saban and Alabama, especially after the team lost just one game last season en route to the 2015-16 College Playoff National Championship. But with a tough schedule to deal with, things will definitely not be easy for the two-time AP National Coach of the Year and his Alabama team. Below is a sweeping look at the 2016-17 Alabama Football schedule along with game-by-game college football predictions for the Crimson Tide regular-season fixtures.
Crimson Tide College Football Schedule 2016 Winning Predictions
Sept. 3 USC (in Arlington)
Whether it’s Max Browne or Sam Darnold starting at QB for USC in this game, the Alabama Crimson Tide should be in for a tough matchup, given both quarterbacks are talented enough to exploit talents like big-play specialist JuJu Smith-Schuster sophomore speedster Ronald Jones II. The fact that Alabama’s QB competitors Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell, Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts don’t appear to be that lethal should additionally help USC’s cause. Even so, Bama’s defense returns an experienced lot that is highly likely to be the big difference in this game, allowing the Tide to eke out a tight hard-fought win.
Prediction: Alabama 30, USC 26
Sept. 10 Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers were a great story in Conference USA last season, posting a 12-win season and a conference title, largely thanks to star quarterback Brandon Doughty. With Doughty now in the NFL and the defense missing a good number of its star members from last season, Alabama should be able to with this one big, most probably by 20-plus points.
Prediction: Alabama 37, WKU 16
Sept. 17 at Ole Miss
The Rebels have won the last two games against Alabama and are looking to make it three in a row for the third straight season. Chad Kelly is very capable of leading an efficient offense against Alabama, as he did last season, while defensive stars Marquis Haynes and Tony Conner should cause all kinds of problems to Bama’s young offense. That said, I just don’t see the Crimson Tide getting beaten for the third straight year; Saban is too proud to allow for that to happen and I am sure he already has a game-plan figured out for Kelly and gang.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Ole Miss 17
Sept. 24 Kent State
For a Kent State a team that is coming off a 3-9 season and has barely made any upgrades in the offseason, there’s just no kind of fight they’ll be able to put here to avoid a big beatdown. Expect a huge blowout of the Golden Flashes, with the possibility of a shutout.
Prediction: Alabama 50, Kent State 6
Oct. 1 Kentucky
Another game with a blowout written all over it… The Wildcats just don’t have the offensive scratch to trouble Alabama or sufficient defense to claw down the Crimson Tide. Give me Bama and a win of 20-30 points.
Prediction: Alabama 35, Kentucky 14
Oct. 8 at Arkansas
Arkansas isn’t the team it was back in the day when it used to give Bama players fits. Still, Bret Bielema is a talented coach and the Razorbacks have a talent-filled defense (see star defensive end Deatrich Wise) and an above-average game that will keep this game interesting all the way to the end. The win, though, should still go Bama’s way.
Prediction: Alabama 27, Arkansas 21
Oct. 15 at Tennessee
UPSET ALERT! Yes, the Tide have dominated the Vols of the years, but you’d be a fool not to get scared of the extremely experienced 18 starters Tennessee will be returning this season. That, of course, includes star dual-threat quarterback Joshua Dobbs and a pair of talented tailbacks in star Jalen Hurd leading the way and Alvin Kamara, along with a mean defense that includes stars such as Derek Barnett, Cameron Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. With this type of talent, an upset should be very possible, especially if you consider how the Vols nearly came out Bama with a win last year.
Prediction: Tennessee 36, Alabama 30
Oct. 22 Texas A&M
Pocket-passing specialist QB Trevor Knight will certainly keep the Crimson Tide defense on its toes, with the lethal receiving tandem of Christian Kirk and Josh Reynolds particularly giving a hellish matchup to the Bama players that will be covering them. But then again, with an iffy defense at their disposal, Kevin Sumlin’s boys will most likely just fall short of the winning mark. An ugly win it will be for Bama, but a key win nonetheless.
Prediction: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 23
Nov. 5 at LSU
Leornard Fournette and the Tigers will have revenge plans at the Death Valley, as they seek to win this game and possibly seal their playoff ticket in the process. Alabama’s defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will most likely want to use the similar double-team strategy that saw Fournette have a pedestrian game against the Tide in 2015. That, however, is to say that the task will be easy; Fournette is a freak show when he is on song and the fact that he and his Tigers (just like Alabama) will have one week off to prepare for this game should give him the impetus to put up a solid show. Meanwhile, LSU’s defense is talented enough to match up to Bama’s secondary. So while I am not writing of Bama’s winning chances at the Death Valley, I am inclined to go with the Tigers here, hoping that the electric atmosphere at the Tigers Stadium will motivate them to give their all for a crucial win.
Prediction: LSU 28, Alabama 23
Nov. 12 Mississippi State
With a likely playoff-eliminating loss from the LSU game or banged-up players from the draining physical battle against the Tigers, I don’t see Alabama winning it big here. Mississippi State doesn’t have the talent to hang with Alabama, but the team is abled enough to take advantage of Bama’s tough recovery from the LSU game to keep the scores relatively respectable.
Prediction: Alabama 34, Mississippi State 26
Nov. 19 UT-Chattanooga
Chattanooga finished its 2015 season with a 9-4, thanks to a soft schedule in their conference, so don’t mistake that to mean the team will be causing Alabama problems. This game, mind you, will come before Alabama goes to the Iron Bowl, meaning Saban will want to get the job done early. You should therefore expect Alabama to put up a good number of points in the first half, before the head coach brings on his second unit and rests his starters in readiness for the Auburn game. I’d want to bet on a big blowout by Alabama here, but with the possibility of Chattanooga scoring a decent number of garbage points against the second unit in the second half, I’d advise you to keep away from this game’s point spread, unless you are putting your money on Chattanooga to take the ATS win.
Prediction: Alabama 37, UT-Chattanooga 20
Nov. 26 Auburn
Behold thee the Iron Bowl and all of its renowned beauty. And given how Auburn regressed in the past season and the fact that this game will be played in Alabama’s backyard, you should expect nothing other than a win for Saban and the Tide. But can Auburn keep the game? Certainly! With Gus Malzahn bringing his competitive coaching spirit and Auburn’s good defense also giving a good account of itself, the Tigers shouldn’t lose big here.
Prediction: Alabama 28, Auburn 19