Alabama finished last season as SEC champion by beating Georgia, but then lost to that same Georgia team in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
What does the 2022 football season hold in store for the Crimson Tide?
Recently, the Football Power Index prediction machine went to work calculating the odds of Alabama winning each game on its schedule.
Week 1: vs. Utah State
Not much of a danger here for the tide, who shouldn’t have much trouble against the visiting Aggies, but this opponent is a team on the rise.
Utah State went 11-3 in Blake Anderson’s first outing, finishing at No. 24 in the AP Top 25 rankings, and beat Oregon State in a bowl game.
ESPN FPI win probability: 99.2%
Week 2: at Texas
According to the FPI computers, this should be Alabama’s toughest game of the season. It comes on the road, on campus, against a major college football power, albeit one that hasn’t been a national threat for some time.
Not since Alabama and Texas met at the Rose Bowl in the BCS national title game, Nick Saban’s first championship with the Tide. Since then, Alabama has gone nowhere but up, and Texas nowhere but down.
Texas has a solid 1-2 punch at receiver and running back, but is putting out an untested product at quarterback in Quinn Ewers, and have a defensive unit that struggled in all phases a year ago.
ESPN FPI win probability: 75.3%
Week 3: vs Louisiana Monroe
Don’t lose any sleep over the Week 3 date with the Warhawks either, who are coming off a four-win season in 2021, a slight improvement from its 0-10 outing the year before.
Monroe infamously beat the tide at Bryant-Denny in Nick Saban’s first year on the Bama sideline, but he got his revenge in a 34-0 win in 2015. Expect more of that second meeting as a template for this one.
ESPN FPI win probability: 99.8%
Week 4: vs Vanderbilt
First-year head coach Clark Lea inherited a mess last year, and as strange as it sounds, the Commodores’ 0-8 SEC mark in 2021 was actually an improvement (Vandy went 0-9 in conference in 2020).
Vanderbilt accounted for just under 16 points per game a year ago and this defense allowed almost 40 points each time out against SEC opposition.
ESPN FPI win probability: 99.3%
Week 5: at Arkansas
The surprise of the SEC West last season, Arkansas beat three ranked teams and knocked off Penn State by two TDs in the bowl game.
And played the tide pretty close, too, walking out of Bryant-Denny on the wrong end of a seven-point game a year ago.
KJ Jefferson returns at quarterback, but loses star receiver Treylon Burks, and the Hogs defense brings back just four expected returning starters.
ESPN FPI win probability: 88%
Week 6: vs Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher has recruited this program into College Football Playoff contention, but it can still get beat on any given Saturday.
Last season was proof of that, as the Aggies both beat No. 1 Alabama but still lost four other SEC West games, including at Ole Miss by 10 last November.
A&M comes to T-Town to try its luck again in a major matchup that could find both these teams undefeated and looking to get a vital leg-up in the division standings.
ESPN FPI win probability: 90.9%
Week 7: at Tennessee
You can set your watch to Alabama beating Tennessee on the third Saturday in October and light up those cigars in the locker room afterwards.
Josh Heupel did outpace expectations in Year 1, especially with quarterback Hendon Hooker driving an offense that ranked No. 9 in college football a year ago.
But the Vols’ defensive back seven is very much a work in progress after allowing 34 points per game against SEC opposition last fall.
ESPN FPI win probability: 88.1%
Week 8: vs. Mississippi State
Bama’s defense had no trouble grounding the so-called Air Raid in last year’s meeting, a 49-9 beatdown amid the cowbell chorus.
MSU lost its leading receiver from that unit, but the Bulldogs also bring back eight starters on a defense that placed No. 4 in the SEC and allowed under 6 yards per play in conference games.
Will Rogers returns at quarterback after piling up almost 5,000 yards with 36 touchdowns last season.
ESPN FPI win probability: 92.8%
Week 9: at LSU
Arguably the biggest question mark in the SEC, if not college football, this season. Brian Kelly steps into a program long on potential but short on results.
LSU has solid perimeter speed, but major questions at defensive back, offensive line, and quarterback, and yes, at head coach.
Kelly left Notre Dame as its winningest coach if not also one who struggled against Southern teams (including Alabama, which thrashed the Irish in a BCS title match).
ESPN FPI win probability: 81.5%
Week 10: at Ole Miss
Last time the tide went to Oxford, it needed 63 points to come out with a win. Alabama won’t need that many this time, not with what figures to be a very new look Rebels offense.
Matt Corral is gone, in addition to running backs Henry Parrish Jr., Jerrion Ealy, and Snoop Conner and receivers Braylon Sanders and Dontario Drummond.
Ole Miss looked better on defense in ’21 and brings back six starters, while it scored quarterback Jaxson Dart and running back Zach Evans in the transfer portal.
ESPN FPI win probability: 82.5%
Week 11: vs Austin Peay
The traditional late-season gimme brings the Governors to Tuscaloosa, wedged between a trip to Ole Miss and the home finale against Auburn.
Austin Peay was a 6-5 team a year ago, 6-0 in games when it scored at least 30 points. Don’t expect Bama’s starters to play a lot in this one or for the Govs to get anywhere near 30 points.
ESPN FPI win probability: 99.8%
Week 12: vs Auburn
Auburn’s defense will lose the likes of Roger McCreary, Smoke Monday, and Zakoby McClain, and will have to fill some gaps and find depth under first-year coordinator Jeff Schmedding. Last season’s unit was solid, allowing about three TDs per game.
Auburn can run the ball with Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter, but needs to plug in a new quarterback with Bo Nix gone and holes at receiver.
Quite the laundry list for an already embattled head coach in Bryan Harsin, who will have some trouble winning more than the six games he did last season.
ESPN FPI win probability: 89.9%
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