Alabama Football 2022 Season Prediction, Preview, Awards, Bowl Game 2022

Football in Alabama had a rebuilding year in 2021, according to Nick Saban. So what will the remodeled Crimson Tide do after losing in the Natty last season?

If 2021 was truly a rebuilding year for football in Alabama, then most programs in the state would happily rebuild every year. But unfortunately it didn’t result in a national championship, so maybe this is a rebuild by the standards of the Crimson Tide faithful and Nick Saban.

But now the Crimson Tide enters the 2022 season as a top dawg, with the Heisman winner back under center, with the best defensive player in the country and having added arguably the two best transfers that have been in the portal. Sounds like Bama is cooking up more than short ribs this fall.

coronation of ours FanSided Preseason Top 50 Ranking at #1, the Alabama Crimson Tide!

Alabama Football Season 2021 in Review

It looked like another year where Alabama would have few challengers to begin with. There was a close decision against Florida (a game that looks even weirder in retrospect), but the Crimson Tide largely overwhelmed the competition, including some high-profile teams like Miami and Ole Miss, to make a 5-0 start.

But then came the ill-fated trip to College Station, where Jimbo Fisher finally overtook Saban in a game that still looks odd. In a game where Bama was 38 points behind Texas A&M Defense you would think the Crimson Tide would win 98/100 times. But sadly, that wasn’t the case and actually brought Alabama under the gun.

Luckily, they had eventual Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young in the lead and didn’t look back. The Tide were perfect after that, again with some surprise scares (I’m looking at you, Iron Bowl), to make it out of SEC West and into the SEC Championship Game. There they met the supposed title favorites at the time, Georgiaand made a statement with a dominant performance.

After treating Cincinnati as everyone expected in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs, he set up a rematch against the Dawgs. Needless to say, it’s always been difficult when the Tide let down their top two receivers against a team as good as UGA. But unfortunately, looking snazzy and a two-loss season is a campaign almost any program should be happy with.

However, Alabama Football is not most programs.

Alabama Crimson Tide Offensive Preview for the 2022 Season

  • Returners (6): QB Bryce Young, WR Ja’Corey Brooks, TE Cameron Latu, OL Kendall Randolph, OG Emil Ekiyor Jr., OG Javion Cohen
  • Newcomer: RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech), WR Jermaine Burton (Georgia), WR Tyler Harrell (Louisville), OT Tyler Steen (Vanderbilt), 5-Star QB Ty Simpson, 4-Star WR Aaron Anderson, 4-Star OT Elijah Pritchett, 4-star RB Emmanuel Henderson
  • striker: Jahmyr Gibbs

There are undoubtedly some questions about the Alabama offense entering the 2022 season. The offensive line has a number of highly acclaimed recruits stepping into bigger roles, but replacing veteran stars like Evan Neal won’t be easy and there could be growing pains. Also, having to replace Jameson Williams and John Metchie at the receiver won’t be easy. And let’s not forget that Brian Robinson was a workhorse in the backfield, too.

But having Bryce Young can cover up a lot of issues for an offense, and while they’re questions, that’s not necessarily a cause for concern. The reigning Heisman winner will still have plenty of talent at receiver as Ja’Corey Brooks has already blitzed and now Georgia’s Jermaine Burton comes on offense and plays with a quarterback better suited to his abilities.

As good as Young is, adding Jahmyr Gibbs to this offense will be cheat code. Robinson was a reliable defender but he lacked the versatility and general explosiveness that the Georgia Tech transfer will bring to the table. Used in all facets of the game, he could create a monster season as a result, especially when opposing defenses are so focused on stopping or slowing Young.

Alabama Crimson Tide defense preview for the 2022 season

  • Returners (10): EDGE Will Anderson Jr., EDGE Dallas Turner, NT DJ Dale, DE Byron Young, LB Henry To’oTo’o, CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB Khyree Jackson, STAR Brian Branch, S Jordan Battle, S Demarcco Helms
  • Newcomer: CB Eli Ricks (LSU), 5-Star EDGE Jeremiah Alexander, 5-Star EDGE/LB Jihaad Campbell, 4-Star DL Khurtiss Perry
  • striker: Will Anderson Jr.

While offense will be changed quite a bit, the Crimson Tide defense will not be. They are all returning but one starter, especially after DJ Dale, Henry To’oTo’o and Jordan Battle all made decisions to return to Tuscaloosa instead of going to the NFL.

Even better for the Alabama defense, though, is that they’ve now added what may be the best transfer available at Eli Ricks. This is a unicorn-type cornerback coming over from LSU and has the potential to absolutely thrive under Nick Saban’s defensive back path into the NFL. His presence in the secondary will be massive alongside Kool-Aid McKinstry and Jordan Battle as the other potential stars.

But we all know that defense will feed off of what Will Anderson Jr. does when he comes off the edge. He’s the top pass rusher in the country, who should have been a Heisman finalist a year ago — and that was before he was even qualified for the NFL draft. With experience and even more talent around him, it’s not unrealistic to think Anderson could be pushing for a 20-sack season to bring greatness to this side of the ball.

Alabama Football Players Awards clock for the 2022 season

To nobody’s shock, Alabama is full of award contenders. However, these three players are the most likely to bring the hardware back to Tuscaloosa.

Bryce Young, Heisman/Maxwell/Davey O’Brien

Bryce Young, perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, will be looking to claim the always elusive honor of winning back-to-back Heismans. In doing so, he will of course also be fighting for the Maxwell and Davey-O’Brien, but he should have the skill and firepower around him to put on a strong run to keep the sport’s top accolade in his grasp.

Will Anderson Jr., Maxwell/Nagurski/Bednarki/Lombardi

College football’s defensive talent this season is truly amazing, but Anderson is playing in a league where only one other player (UGA’s Jalen Carter) is playing. He will have more counting stats than most other defensive players in the sport and should at least be viewed as a leading contender for Nagurski and Bednarik.

Jordan Battle, Jim Thorpe/Nagurski/Bednarki/Cube

As good as Anderson is, Battle is the engine that powers Alabama’s defense, and his decision to return was surprising but very welcome. He’ll have the stats at the back end of a loaded secondary, and then if you factor in narrative aspects, he’ll get his hands on some sort of hardware.

Alabama Football Biggest Game on 2022 Schedule

It has to be argued that the Arkansas Crimson Tide road SEC opener is a trap game worth considering here. Not only are the Hogs a quality, well-trained team, but it comes ahead of what I consider to be the biggest game of the season.

And that, of course, is the rematch with Texas A&M on October 8th, this time in Tuscaloosa.

We know what happened last year, but the Aggies are also the only squad on the schedule with the talent to hang out with Bama, so they pose the biggest challenge. When you factor in the revenge factor and the quality of the opponent, this is the game that Saban has undoubtedly circled on his conventional calendar.

Alabama Football Best Case Scenario

The old brain’s cogs don’t have to be spinning too hard to figure that out.

Texas is their first away game of the season, and while there’s reason to be optimistic about the Longhorns, this team still has a long way to go to match Alabama’s level. Then it’s really just the Aggies that I’d otherwise care about on the schedule if we’re talking about the best-case scenario, and I don’t see Texas A&M going 2-0 over the flood for the past two years will go. Therefore, the simple answer, Alabama going 12-0 and driving smoothly to another SEC championship game, is the best-case scenario.

Football’s worst-case scenario in Alabama

Even in the worst case, I can’t see the Crimson Tide losing more than two games. That being said, finding these two games isn’t hard either.

As mentioned with the Arkansas game, this has the makings of a tricky affair. The Hogs will have KJ Jefferson back at quarterback, and if there’s one thing that’s often troubled Bama, it’s mobile quarterbacks. Then, when you factor in the Razorbacks’ defensive play against a somewhat inexperienced Crimson Tide offensive line, that could become a problem.

Then we circle back to the Texas A&M game. While I always worry about the Aggies offense, the truth of the matter is they have a defense that is theoretically capable of slowing down Bryce Young and then doing enough to give themselves a chance, too to win.

All things considered, the worst-case scenario is still only 10-2, but this scenario is unique in that it would also almost certainly knock Alabama out of the SEC championship and college football playoff equation.

Alabama Football Season 2022 Prediction

Good news for all Roll Tide screamers and allies: It’s extremely hard to imagine Alabama football losing a game this season.

The aforementioned turnover on offense actually leads me to believe that this team could be even better on this side of the ball with a more balanced group of explosive playmakers and perhaps an even more talented offensive line. More importantly, the defense, which was young, talented and raw a season ago, could make a leap to historic strength in the 2022 season.

It’s boring, but the truth is this Alabama team is leaving 12-0 and again playing Georgia for the SEC crown more times than they don’t, so that’s the easy, comfortable prediction of how things are going with that program this season.

Alabama Football 2022 Bowl Game Prediction

No surprises, but preseason bowl predictions have the crimson tide heading into the college football playoffs. Since they start the season as the No. 1 team in the country and we expect them to come through the season unscathed, this team should go into the Peach Bowl as the No. 1 team in the CFP.

Other articles in this series:

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https://fansided.com/2022/08/22/alabama-football-prediction-bowl-game-2022/ Alabama Football 2022 Season Prediction, Preview, Awards, Bowl Game 2022

John Verrall

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