The Alabama Crimson Tide football team won another BCS National Championship last week. The 42-14 win over Notre Dame gives Alabama three championships in the last four years. The SEC has won seven straight national championships. The team and league dominance is incredibly impressive, yet easy to pinpoint.
Why is Alabama so dominant? It’s never just one thing. It’s a lot of things. I say this next statement every chance I get on my radio show. To win national championships in college football today, you need both great coaching and great talent.
The talent factor is not debate-able. The national champions always have elite 5 and 4-star talent throughout the roster. Always. You cannot win the SEC or National Championship with a roster dominated by 3-star or less talent and just think you can “coach’em up.” It doesn’t happen and it won’t happen.
Every team needs under-the-radar kids who weren’t as highly regarded and heavily recruited. Those guys sometimes out-perform the higher-rated guys and even motivate the elite prospects to not assume they will be given a prominent role.
2 and 3-star prospects make it to the NFL. For every one that does, dozens never pan-out in college. Players making it to the NFL isn’t a legit argument for what the make-up of a college football roster should look like. You need elite talent. It’s the only way to win it all. You can win some games with less talent and have good seasons, but not championships. History proves that out.
Just look at the national championship winners in the BCS era listed below. All of them sign (and signed) large amounts of 4 and 5-star talent on a regular basis.
National Championship Games In The BCS Era
2012 Alabama 42 Notre Dame 14
2011 Alabama 21 LSU 0
2010 Auburn 22 Oregon 19
2009 Alabama 37 Texas 21
2008 Florida 24 Oklahoma 14
2007 LSU 38 Ohio State 24
2006 Florida 41 Ohio State 14
2005 Texas 41 USC 38
2004 USC 55 Oklahoma 19
2003 LSU 21 Oklahoma 14
2002 Ohio State 31 Miami (2 OT) 24
2001 Miami 37 Nebraska 14
2000 Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2
1999 Florida State 46 Virginia Tech 29
1998 Tennessee 23 Florida State 16
Let’s get back to Alabama.
I’m not sure if very many fans realize just how loaded of a roster Nick Saban has right now at Alabama. He and his staff have assembled the most talent-rich roster in college football. How much talent is on the roster? Here’s a look inside Alabama’s team from a recruiting star-rating standpoint.
There are numerous outstanding recruiting websites out there that rate players. For the sake of consistency (and because 247Sports is only a few years old) I used Rivals for the star ratings I analyzed with Alabama’s roster.
Alabama’s two-deep for the BCS National Championship broke down like this:
7 – Five stars (14%)
*OT-Cyrus Kouandjio/OT-DJ Fluker/RB-TJ Yeldon/LB-Nico Johnson/CB-Dee Milliner/S-HaHa Clinton-Dix/S-Landon Collins
28 – Four stars (57%)
*C-Barrett Jones/OL-Arie Kouandjio/TE-Michael Williams/TE-Brian Vogler/QB-AJ McCarron/QB-Blake Sims/RB-Eddie Lacy/RB-Kenyan Drake/WR-Amari Cooper/WR-Marvin Shinn/WR-Kevin Norwood/WR-Christion Jones/WR-Cyrus Jones/DE-Ed Stinson/DE-Jeoffrey Pagan/NG-Jesse Williams/DE-Quinton Dial/LB-Adrian Hubbard/LB-Trey DePriest/LB-Reggie Ragland/LB-CJ Mosley/LB-Tana Patrick/LB-Xzavier Dickson/LB-Denzel Devall/CB-Geno Smith/CB-John Fulton/S-Robert Lester/S-Nick Perry
13 – Three stars (27%)
*OL-Kellen Williams/OL-Chance Warmack/OL-Chad Lindsay/OL-Ryan Kelly/OL-Anthony Steen/OL-Austin Shepherd/TE-Harrison Jones/QB-Phillip Ely/NG-Brandon Ivory/DE-Damion Square/LB-Jonathan Atchison/CB-Deion Belue/S-Vinnie Sunseri
1 – Walk-on (2%)
71% of the Alabama two-deep for the national championship game was either a 4 or 5-star prospect according to Rivals.
If that’s not impressive enough, Alabama also had six highly-rated players that suffered injuries this season that either were key contributors or had a chance to be on this year’s team and likely would have been on that two-deep. Most of those players were on offense.
Alabama Key Injuries in 2012
WR-Kenny Bell (4-star)
WR-DeAndrew White (4-star)
WR-Chris Black (4-star)
RB-Jalston Fowler (4-star)
RB-Dee Hart (5-star)
S-Jarrick Williams (4-star)
Think the talent stops there? Not a chance. Behind everyone on the two-deep stands 14 more 4 and 5-star prospects waiting for their turn. That’s how deep this Crimson Tide roster is.
Here’s that list of players who could make a move up the depth chart next season and in the future.
TR Fr - Ryan Anderson (LB) 4-star
RS Fr – Brent Calloway (TE) 4-star
RS Fr – Malcolm Faciane (TE) 4-star
RS Fr – LaMichael Fanning (DL) 4-star
TR Fr – Brandon Greene (OL) 4-star
TR Fr – Tyler Hayes (LB) 4-star
TR Fr – Korren Kirven (DL) 4-star
TR Fr – Dillon Lee (LB) 4-star
Jr – William Ming (DL) 4-star
RS Fr – DJ Pettway (DL) 4-star
RS Fr – Bradley Sylve (DB) 4-star
TR Fr – Dalvin Tomlinson (DL) 4-star
TR Fr – Eddie Williams (DB/WR) 5-star
RS Fr – Danny Woodson Jr. (WR) 4-star
Alabama loses 9 seniors and 3 juniors (early entry into the NFL Draft) off of the two-deep from the end of this season.
Here’s who leaving from this year’s title team at Alabama.
Seniors: LG-Chance Warmack/C-Barrett Jones/TE-Michael Williams/HB-Kelly Johnson/NG-Jesse Williams/DE-Damion Square/DE-Quinton Dial/LB-Nico Johnson/S-Robert Lester
Juniors: RT-DJ Fluker/RB-Eddie Lacy/CB-Dee Milliner
The Crimson Tide is hardly short of candidates to fill those spots. Oh by the way, Alabama is currently #1 in the team rankings in the 2013 class in recruiting, so even more impact players are on the way.
In essence, 55 of the top 69 players (80%) that were on the roster are 4 or 5-star prospects. That is an incredible amount of stockpiled talent at Alabama. It is a recruiting machine that Nick Saban has rolling in Tuscaloosa. Saban develops some three-star players as well but that’s also a by-product of so much talent around those players.
If your team regularly recruits more 3-star prospects than the 4s and 5s combined, assume you have no chance to win the national championship any time soon.
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