1. Last year was a rare ‘off’ year for Alabama, as they not only lost to LSU, but also to Auburn and didn’t make a New Year’s Six bowl game. Amid all the muck that 2020 has brought us, do you see Alabama returning back to “normalcy” this year?
Julian Mitchell: I do expect a return to normalcy. Not only has Bama not won a title since the 2017 season, they didn’t even MAKE THE PLAYOFF last season (gasp). Saban will be in Sicko Mode this season. Count on it.
Josh Rothenberg: I do, as in I think they will win the SEC. I think the rest of the conference loses just a little bit of talent and despite the up-and-down performance in the Iron Bowl I have more confidence in Mac Jones than most of the other QBs in the conference. I’m not 100% confident in it, but when it doubt, picking Nick Saban is never a bad option.
2. Quarterback wound up being spotty last season with Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries and Mac Jones’ inexperience. Several months have passed and Jones is QB1. What do you expect we see from him this year?
Julian Mitchell: He’s not Tua, but Jones was actually pretty good last season when you look at the numbers. He finished with a 186.8 passer rating after tossing 14 TDs and three interceptions. Of course two of those INTs were pick sixes in the Iron Bowl, but when you take those out of the equation Jones was honestly nothing but efficient. No reason for him to regress this season.
Josh Rothenberg: I expect Jones to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country to be honest. He looked excellent outside of his poorly-timed turnovers last year and one would think that his added experience would lead to those being toned down a bit. He still has one of the best sets of weapons in the country and there’s no reason he shouldn’t continue to excel.
3. Even after losing Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy, Alabama is still loaded at WR. Between Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, who do you see having the better season?
Julian Mitchell: I think it will be Devonta Smith. He’ll be the main guy now that Jeudy is gone. Smith was downright unplayable at times last season. Maybe we’ll see a slight dip in the numbers since he’ll be the main focus of defenses now, but you can have a great year if your dip is from a season with 1256 yards and 14 TD receptions.
Josh Rothenberg: I have to agree with Julian. Smith will have to step up his game now that he will be facing the best of the best from every team but it’s impossible to watch his tape without thinking he is up to the challenge.
4. We can’t, of course, forget about the Alabama defense. With a host of talented players, who do you see emerging as the star of the defense in 2020?
Julian Mitchell: Middle linebacker, Dylan Moses has become somewhat of an SEC meme over the years since his commitment to LSU in 8th grade, but I believe he’ll be the star and unquestioned leader of this defense in 2020.
Josh Rothenberg: The star is Dylan Moses, but I have my eye on Patrick Surtain and Josh Jobe this year. The last memory of the Tide for many is watching them get torched by Auburn, and LSU before that. The cornerback pairing winning their individual matchups, which will be easier with no J’Mar Chase to terrorize them, should allow the Tide defense to perform much better in it’s biggest moments.
5. Predict Alabama’s record in 2020.
Julian Mitchell: 10-0
Josh Rothenberg: 9-1