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MailTribune.com
  • Alabama favored to win SEC title despite pair of losses in 2013

  • HOOVER, Ala. — Much to the chagrin of the rest of the Southeastern Conference, the glory days of Alabama football aren't behind them.
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  • HOOVER, Ala. — Much to the chagrin of the rest of the Southeastern Conference, the glory days of Alabama football aren't behind them.
    It's hard to imagine an 11-win season would be considered a "down year," but after losing back-to-back games to end the 2013 season — something that hasn't happened at Alabama since 2008 — it's easy to see why some may consider Crimson Tide football on the downswing.
    Those who believe in that hypothesis, though, are likely mistaken.
    "The way that Alabama has been able to replace talent that has both left to the NFL and graduated, they've been able to reload as a result of Nick Saban's exemplary record in recruiting," said former Alabama quarterback and current ESPN analyst Greg McElroy. "He's a tremendous recruiter, he's a tremendous coach so they are never going to really drop off or fall off the map.
    "It's just a matter of just how good can they be and they have the makings of quality football team."
    Evidently, the media in attendance at this week's SEC football media event feel the same way. The Crimson Tide were picked not only to win the SEC West Division in the annual preseason media poll, but to capture the league 2014 title.
    Nevertheless, Florida State — not Alabama — has been tabbed as the favorite to win the national championship by most of the top college football prognosticators.
    While there seems to be plenty of optimism among the 'Bama faithful, there are still a lot of questions that surround this team before it opens the season on Aug. 30 against West Virginia in Atlanta.
    "Our situation as a team is a lot different this year than it's been the last couple years when we were coming off of successful seasons, championship seasons," Saban said. "Having lost our last two games last year, I think it's a little bit different mindset with our players."
    Alabama receiver Amari Cooper agrees.
    "It was really motivating for us," said Cooper, who was voted to the All-SEC first team Thursday. "It was humbling."
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