On this day in sports history

BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE

The Greenville Standard

 

This is the sixth article of a series ranking University of Alabama football teams coached by Nick Saban by Paul Myerburg of USA Today Network.

The 2017 team was picked last. Losing to Clemson in the previous National Championship game was a motivation for Alabama. QB Jalen Hurts carried in his wallet, National Championship 2017.

They were consensus National Champions, Sugar Bowl champs and beat Clemson 24-6.

In the CFP National Championship Game, Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 OT. Their record was 13-1. OC Brian Daboll ran a multiple scheme offense and DC Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive scheme was a base 3-4.

They were ranked #1 in preseason. They lost 14 players, 10 which were starters.

From defense, they lost DE Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Tim Williams, LB Rueben Foster, DB Eddie Jackson, and DB Marlon Humphrey.

On offense, they lost TE O.J. Howard, OT Cam Robinson, WR ArDarius Stewart, and OG Alphonse Taylor.

Returning starters on offense were QB Jalen Hurts, RB Damien Harris, WR-Calvin Ridley, G Ross Pierschbacher, C Bradley Bozeman, and T Jonah Williams.

Returning starters on defense were CB Tony Brown, CB Anthony Averett, S Minah Fitzpatrick, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, S Ronnie Harrison, NT Daron Payne, and P J.K. Scott.

They opened the season in Atlanta vs Florida State. It was called the greatest opener of all time (GOAT).

Alabama was #1 and Florida State #3. The game didn’t live up to the hype.

Alabama won 24-7 in the first game played in The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Florida State dropped out of the top 25 and finished with a 7-6 record.

Alabama played five teams that were ranked in the final AP Poll, going 4-1. They beat #2 Georgia 26-23 in OT for the SEC Championship, # 4 Clemson 24-6 for the National Championship. #18 LSU 24-10, and #19 Mississippi State 31-24.

Minkah Fitzpatrick was the Chuck Bednarik and Jim Thorpe Winner and a unanimous All-America.

Nick Saban was the George Munger Coach of The Year winner. Rashaan Evans was a AFCA First Team All-America.

Players AP All-SEC were WR Calvin Ridley, OT Jonah Williams, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, NT Daron Payne, C Bradley Bozeman, S Ronnie Harrison, and LB Rashaan Evans.

Coaches All-SEC were DL Raekwon Davis, P J.K. Scott, and G Ross Preshbacher. Players drafted off this team so far 27.

The seniors on the 2020 team were freshman that season.

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