Alabama's best games of 2017


Ben Boynton

5. Alabama vs. Tennessee, Bryant-Denny Stadium

Tennessee’s magical roller-coaster to start the 2016 season officially ended in double-overtime loss at Texas A&M a week before Alabama went to Knoxville. Then, a 49-10 loss for the then-No. 9 Volunteers pretty much knocked Tennessee out of the playoff picture. Coach Butch Jones is in the hot seat after high expectations for 2016 ended in a 9-4 year, and the Volunteers will be scrambling to find answers at quarterback, running back and defensive end. It’s a rivalry game that always seems to mean a little more to fans on both sides, but Alabama should be able to take care of business at home against a team it blasted in 2016.

4. Alabama vs. Arkansas, Bryant-Denny Stadium

Sandwiched in between the game against the Volunteers and a road trip to Texas A&M is a home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Quarterback Austin Allen led the SEC in passing yards with 3,430 yards last year, and will likely test an Alabama secondary replacing cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Eddie Jackson. Coach Bret Bielema has brought in a lot of defensive talent to pair with a dangerous offense that scored 30 points on the Crimson Tide last season. If the defense clicks, this could be a trap game that proves to be much tougher than anticipated 
for Alabama.

3. Alabama vs. LSU, Bryant-
Denny Stadium

Former coach Les Miles is out and running back Leonard Fournette is headed to the NFL, but the LSU Tigers always seem to reload with more NFL-caliber talent every season. Derrius Guice looks as capable as anyone is of filling Fournette’s role as the super-talented physical marvel at running back, and Ed Orgeron will have had a whole offseason to incorporate new pieces like new offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Coming off of a bye and always a tough game for the Crimson Tide, the Tigers will look to win in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2011.

2. Alabama at Auburn, Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama

The 2017 Iron Bowl should be another great one, as the Tigers host Alabama in the 82nd meeting between the two teams. Transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham has wowed observers since arriving on campus, and he could very well be the most talented passer in orange and blue since Cam Newton. The team also returns Kamryn Pettway, who rushed for 1224 yards and seven touchdowns before suffering injuries. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele’s unit ranked seventh in the FBS in points allowed last season at 17.1 points per game, and could be even stronger in his second season. Auburn looks to be a talented team, and in a rivalry as storied as this one, the game could come down to one or two plays.

1. Alabama vs. Florida State, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 
Atlanta, Georgia

This is the most interesting game on this schedule, and arguably the most interesting game of the college football regular season. With both teams likely to enter the season ranked in the top five, this season-opening game could even conceivably be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 clash. Both teams return their starting quarterbacks from last year in Jalen Hurts and Deondre Francois, respectively. Florida State lost all-time leading rusher Dalvin Cook but brings in former Alabama-commit Cam Akers to fill his shoes. Akers was ranked as the No. 1 running back according to the 247Composite rankings and is bound to have a big impact from the beginning. This game could have huge ramifications on the College Football Playoff – and it’s a Week One game in a brand-new stadium. You’ve got to love 
college football.