Commentary

Top 25 Intel: No. 8 Alabama

A great defense and a friendly schedule might save a growing offense in Tuscaloosa

Originally Published: June 24, 2009
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Rolando McClain (25) is part of the nation's best corps of linebackers.

When these two got together just over two years ago, Nick Saban and Alabama football, perhaps it truly was the perfect marriage, but mostly because, in retrospect, a merging of their recent imperfections made sense. There was Saban, coming off a failed stint in the NFL, and there was Alabama, leaving behind failed flirtations with the next great coach.

The results of this combination were brilliant because both parties, we always knew, were brooding giants. And in short order, the swagger is back, and Saban is basking in Bama mystique. He's even recently mentioned scheduling a round-robin tournament with other elites like USC, Texas and Penn State. Call it the Mystique Club.

Saban knows the Tide belong once more.

But in 2009, the returning Bama swagger and mystique is nearly all on defense. As good as the Tide were last year -- remember the only two losses on their schedule were to the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the final AP and BCS polls -- those players left behind that are able to score the ball can't compare with the guys left to stop it.

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