The SEC East has been in the news a lot this season, with some teams looking to improve while others are hoping to regress.
One of those teams is Alabama, who is on a tear and looking to make some waves in the SEC West.
Here are five things to know about the Crimson Tide.
Alabama’s Heisman Trophy contender is going to need to be the biggest star in the world to make a dent in SEC West expectations.
The Tide is one of the most talented teams in college football and have one of college football’s most productive offenses.
The defense is also among the best in the country and has one of those top-notch safeties in Jalen Ramsey, one of this year’s best receivers in Jameis Winston, and a talented running game.
All that makes a big difference in the recruiting cycle, and the Tide will need to make big strides in 2017.
Alabama is going into a game with a lot of confidence.
The Crimson Tide are 5-1 and coming off an impressive win over Clemson, which helped propel the Tide to the top of the polls.
After that win, the Tide has been playing well the past few weeks and is one game away from tying its best record in program history.
The SEC West is also on the rise and will likely have a much more difficult challenge to overcome.
Will Alabama’s defense be a factor?
Alabama has been one of several teams that has struggled with defensive line play in the past.
This year, the Crimson D is led by the top three rated interior defensive linemen in the nation in Derek Barnett and David Njoku.
They combined for seven sacks, 21 quarterback hurries, and 31 QB hits last year.
They will need all the help they can get to get that unit back to the heights it had last season.
The defensive line has been good all season, but the secondary has been inconsistent and has allowed more than 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.
Alabama has a tough task ahead of it, but if they can take advantage of it they should be a tough out for the SEC East.
Alabama will have to win on the road, but that should be no problem for the Crimson Holes.
The Alabama defense has had some problems against elite offenses and was one of only three teams to give up 300 yards to an FCS opponent last season (Ohio State).
The Tide will have some tough matchups in the coming weeks, including at Alabama-Birmingham on November 15 and at Auburn on November 19.
The Tigers’ offense will have a tough test this season.
After averaging nearly 200 points per game last season, the team has averaged less than 80 points per contest in each game so far this season (2.6 per game).
The offensive line and running back corps has been the problem this year, with offensive tackle Jordan Matthews not being 100 percent after missing the first five games with a fractured orbital bone in his right foot.
The backfield is also a problem, with the loss of Heisman Trophy candidate and future first-round pick Jalen Hurts.
Hurts is Alabama’s leading rusher (3,957 yards), but his presence and the lack of a true true running game has left the Crimson Bison looking like a running team that is in transition.
This season is going be different, but it will still be an uphill battle for the Tide.
The team’s struggles have been a big reason why Alabama has not made a bowl game in five years.