McCarron fuels Alabama's quest for 3-peat

Marvin Gentry/US Presswire

Alabama is looking to become the first team to three-peat in the Poll era (since 1936).With the college basketball season in the books, College Football Live embarks on its Spring Bus Tour, visiting eight schools over the next two weeks. Wednesday we take a trip to Tuscaloosa to see the Alabama Crimson Tide.

In 2012, Alabama won its second straight BCS title and third in four years, jumping out to a 35-0 lead over Notre Dame and cruising to a 42-14 win.

Alabama was the first team to win back-to-back BCS National Championships and the first team in the Poll era (since 1936) to win 10 national championships – AP or Coaches’ poll.

The Crimson Tide also joined Nebraska (1994-95, 1997) and Notre Dame (1946-47, 1949) as the only teams in the Poll era to win three national championships in a four-year span.

Looking ahead to 2013

Alabama is chasing even more history this year, as the school is seeking to become the first team in the Poll era to win three straight national championships. It would also be the first team to win four titles in five years.

Most National Championships By Coach
Since 1936

Alabama returns the core of its offensive skill players in 2013 – QB AJ McCarron, RB T.J. Yeldon and WR Amari Cooper.

McCarron is an early Heisman candidate and is glad to have one of his favorite deep threats – Cooper - back on the field. Last year McCarron was 13-for-18 with six touchdowns when targeting Cooper on throws of at least 20 yards.

One of the keys to the Tide’s offense last year was a ground game that averaged 6.1 yards per carry on designed running plays, the highest average in the SEC.

On these runs, the Tide averaged an SEC-best 4.1 yards before contact and made it at least five yards past the line of scrimmage without being touched on 35 percent of their designed runs.

Alabama will be challenged to repeat that success on the ground in 2013, needing to replace three offensive line starters (Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones, and D.J. Fluker).

Despite the losses of several key players on both offense and defense, expectations are still high in Tuscaloosa.

For the sixth straight year, Alabama pulled in a top-3 recruiting class according to ESPN’s rankings. This is the second straight year in which Nick Saban has pulled in the top class in the country, with 14 commits in the ESPN 150.