When you've won the last two national championships and three in four years, what's next? Well, for Nick Saban and Alabama, the only acceptable answer is "go out and win another one." The 2013 schedule is pretty favorable for the Crimson Tide. Then again, when you're the biggest juggernaut in the game and the best team on the field every Saturday, any schedule is favorable.
2013 Alabama schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
Honestly, if Alabama opens the season 2-0, the Crimson Tide will probably run the table. With the defense undergoing some renovations, the season opener against Virginia Tech should provide a good test and the Week 3 matchup at Texas A&M will likely be the toughest game of the season. After that, it's hard to see any opponent, barring a major surprise, taking down 'Bama.
Following the Sept. 14 contest in College Station, the Crimson Tide play three more road games at Kentucky, Mississippi State and Auburn. The matchup against the Tigers is the fiercest blood feud in college football, and anything can happen in rivalry games. But Alabama has won the last two by a combined score of 91-14, and even if Gus Malzahn has Auburn's recovery ahead of schedule in 2013, it's doubtful the Tigers will be ready to best their cross-state nemesis this year. The Tide aren't losing to Kentucky, and unless a stray cowbell flies out of the stands and simultaneously takes out Saban, A.J. McCarron and T.J. Yeldon, they aren't losing to the Bulldogs, either.
The home slate features another rivalry game against Tennessee, but like Auburn, the Vols are rebuilding and probably won't be ready to play on 'Bama's level. The Crimson Tide host Ole Miss on Sept. 28, and the Rebels could be a sneaky good team this year. If the game was in Oxford, Hugh Freeze's squad could be a trendy upset pick, but the Rebs shouldn't be expected to get it done at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Once again, the attitude in Tuscaloosa is national title or bust.