While an 11-2 season would be considered a triumph for many NCAA Football teams, the same is not true for Alabama. Tua Tagovailoa's tragic injury doomed a season heading toward National Championship glory.
Following that disappointment, Alabama looks to rebound and take the SEC West crown from LSU in 2020. Here are three reasons to believe they will do just that.
3. Mac Jones' Improvement
Many pundits assumed Alabama's season was over following Tagovailoa's injury last season. However, the 11 wins was a surprising success, in large part due to Mac Jones. While many did not expect much from the sophomore quarterback, Jones powered Alabama to three wins in his four starts. A 48-45 thriller in the Iron Bowl was his only loss, but Jones showed his stuff with 335 yards and four touchdowns. A bowl win against Michigan was just the first sign of Jones' success as he makes the expected step up to the starting role in 2020.
2. Overcoming the Injury Bug
While Tagovailoa's injury became a focus, Alabama was dealing with a widespread injury crisis even before the 2019 season. Dylan Moses, a massively influential linebacker, tore his ACL and did not step foot on the field, along with Joshua McMillon. Brandon Turnage and Trey Sanders missed all of the season as well, while starting defensive end Labryan Ray also sat out most of 2019. Alabama was riddled by injuries, and as such, never able to reach the full extent of their potential, With key pieces returning to health, the talent will be on full display in Tuscaloosa in 2020.
1. Returning Offensive Talent
LSU lost many of its most significant pieces in this year's draft and Alabama wields the advantage in talent returning to the field. Four starters are back on one of the nation's best offensive lines, along with the crucial return of Najee Harris in the backfield. Alabama is at no loss for talent out wide either, headlined by Jaylen Waddle, and aforementioned injury returns will bolster a defense that under performed last season. Ultimately, with the closest competitor having countless shoes to fill, Alabama's amount of influential returning players may prove the difference in the SEC West.