Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide look set, at least on paper, to coast through a creampuff non-conference schedule, in which their toughest game is against a Duke team that just lost Daniel Jones to the NFL, and a relatively easy SEC grind until they inevitably play Clemson again in the championship.
Their biggest obstacle could come from within, as mental fatigue and apathy, which former running back Josh Jacobs cited as a key contributor in their loss to Clemson last year, might derail another title run for Nick Saban.
Their early schedule is as easy as it gets. It takes until Game No. 6, a matchup on the road at Texas A&M, before Alabama will really have to stress. They get Tennessee and LSU at home this year, and Auburn remains a dysfunctional mess who will be without Jarrett Stidham after he was drafted. Still, the Iron Bowl followed by a potential SEC Championship matchup with Georgia and THEN CFP semifinal appearance before facing Clemson is a tough task.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are benefactors of an easy ACC slate and a likely cupcake opponent in their conference title game. Clemson will be as well-rested as ever, while Alabama's back-loaded schedule puts them at a huge disadvantage.
Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama were content with smoking everyone in the first half before taking all the starters out and going to Jalen Hurts in the second half. When Clemson actually hit them in the mouth, they didn't know how to respond. The lack of a meaty non-conference schedule could come back to bite Saban later in the year.