The championship shine has already worn off. Alabama's crystal football trophy was shattered during the offseason, and the metaphor holds up, as coach Nick Saban must piece together a championship contender. The nation's No. 1 defense was raided by the NFL, surrendering six starters. The offense was hurt as well, losing a Heisman Trophy finalist at running back and all four of the team's top pass-catchers. But all is not lost in Tuscaloosa. The Tide return AJ McCarron at quarterback, and will have more depth and talent on the offense than in several years. Eddie Lacy is an explosive tailback, and the offensive line is poised to be one of the best in the country. The test will be how a young, gifted defense establishes its own identity.
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