College football preview: SEC
Last season: 14-0, 8-0 in SEC; defeated Florida 32-13 in SEC Championship game; defeated Texas 37-21 in BCS National Championship game
Returning starters: 8 on offense, 2 on defense, 0 on special teams
Rising star: Trent Richardson made the most of his opportunities backing up Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Richardson rushed for 751 yards and eight TDs as a freshman in 2009.
They’ll win the division if: Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart can piece together another outstanding defense despite the fact that only two starters return from last year’s outstanding unit.
They’ll come up short if: QB Greg McElroy somehow can’t provide the exemplary leadership and ball security that he did in 2009. He threw just four interceptions last year.
Chatter: “I just hope that our fans are always realistic in what we can accomplish with the teams that we have, and that they keep a positive attitude about how we go about developing a first-class program.” — coach Nick Saban
Must-see game: vs. Penn State, 7 p.m. Sept. 11 (ESPN)
Top moment: There’s so many to choose from, but long before Bear Bryant arrived, Alabama wasn’t given a chance to defeat Washington in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1926. But Johnny Mack Brown led the Crimson Tide to a 20-19 victory over the Huskies in what has been called the most important game ever played by a Southern team.
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