ESPN Insider's "20 teams that can win it all" series is previewing each of the top 20 teams in Brian Fremeau's five-year program metric, with the help of ESPN's Stats & Information group (for a full explanation and links to all of the previews as they are published, click here). This is the entry for Alabama.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It's safe to say the Alabama Crimson Tide aren't sneaking up on anyone anymore. The days of reasonable expectations are over. It's BCS or bust, win big or don't win at all.
Those long dormant crimson and white jerseys -- the ones that slogged through the mud for more than a decade while programs like USC, Texas and Florida returned to prominence -- waited for a deliverer, and in Nick Saban they got it.
On Jan. 7, 2010, Saban brought the Tide their first championship in 17 years. He brought in the player who would win the school its first Heisman Trophy. He brought Alabama back to the White House and back to the national conversation.
A week later at the championship celebration in Tuscaloosa, Saban told a crowd of some 38,000 fans that it was just the beginning. In a determined voice, he made a promise. Two seasons later, that promise was fulfilled. Alabama brought home title No. 14, and still the hope for more lingers.
With a veteran quarterback, an up-and-coming offense and a talented, deep defense, the chances for a BCS repeat in Tuscaloosa appear promising. But the prospect of adding yet another crystal football to the mantle hinges on a few important areas.
Here's a look at an argument for and against Saban further delivering on a promise made three years ago.