Discussion

Top 25 playoff teams: Alabama

A deep roster paired with a light schedule gives the Crimson Tide an edge

Updated: July 16, 2014, 4:34 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

From May 27 to July 3, Insider's college football experts will preview the season for the 25 teams with the best chance to make the inaugural College Football Playoff, based on Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections. This is the entry for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

For the series landing page, click here.


Fremeau's projection

Projected finish: 11-1 (7-1 SEC)
Chance to make playoff: 58 percent
Chance to win SEC: 47 percent
Toughest games: Oct. 4 at Ole Miss (76 percent chance of winning), Nov. 8 at LSU (59 percent), Nov. 29 versus Auburn (78 percent)


Why they will make the playoff

1. Possibly the best set of running backs in the country

New offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin recently said that he thinks "there probably aren't three more talented tailbacks in the NFL on a roster that we're fortunate to be able to work with at Alabama." T.J. Yeldon showed a rare ability to maintain breakaway skills over a large carry volume, as according to ESPN Stats & Information, 16.4 percent of his rush attempts went for 10 or more yards last year. That total ranked sixth among BCS conference running backs with at least 200 carries.

Kenyan Drake posted an amazing total of 29 carries of 10-or-more yards despite tallying only 92 total rush attempts. Sophomore Derrick Henry is a 6-foot-3-inch, 238-pound battering ram capable of breaking off long gainers, something evidenced by his incredible 10.6 yards per carry last season. If Henry ever wears down, Kiffin can lean on 6-1, 250-pound Jalston Fowler, who averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 2012 and scored five receiving touchdowns on only seven total receptions last year.

2. Superb group of receiving targets

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES