Fall Football Forecast: Changes are Coming

Alabama Living Magazine

In 1849, French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr made a profound statement: “The more that things change, the more they stay the same.” Old Jean-Baptiste must have been watching the SEC Network.
There have been three major changes in Southern college football in the last 55 years. In the late 60s, the recruitment and signing of African American athletes improved and changed the direction of college football forever. The other two changes happened in the last couple of years: the open transfer portal and the advent of N.I.L. (Name, Image and Likeness).
This fall, Alabama will have four new offensive transfer starters who started last year at Georgia Tech, Vandy, Louisville and Georgia. Their best corner started last fall at LSU. The rich get richer when you mix these players with top-ranked recruiting classes. In a touch of irony, Auburn may start a transfer quarterback from Texas A&M who beat Bama after they lost Bo Nix to the transfer portal and Oregon.
Game program sales are expected to be high just to keep up with the roster changes.
N.I.L. has allowed the athletes to “cash in” on their social media popularity. Basically, the NCAA has taken the NASCAR approach: “Have at it boys!” Some players are legally earning hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, in some corners, a bidding war has ensued for players.
2021 ALABAMA Recap: Nick Saban has brought the Tide program to the point that anything EXCEPT winning the National Championship is a disappointing season. Last year, for the first time in 25 tries, one of his former assistant coaches beat the former boss when Jimbo Fisher’s A&M Aggies won in College Station. Bama went on to beat Georgia for the SEC championship only to lose the Natty to former assistant Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs. Quarterback Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore. His Heisman moment was the final drive against Auburn in the Iron Bowl for the win.
2021 AUBURN Recap: First year coach Bryan Harsin led the Tigers to a 6-7 record that could very easily have been a 10-win season. There were only two noncompetitive games: Georgia and Texas A&M. Failure to “finish” cost the Tigers in four of the losses. A questionable failed fade pass from the 2-yard line against Penn State. Lost 28-20. Against South Carolina, going for 4th and 1 in the 2nd quarter, leading by 7. Incomplete pass. Lost 21-17. Against Alabama, sacked Bryce Young 7 times but allowed him to drive the length of the field and convert 4th downs. If Auburn makes a first down on 3rd and 1 from the 37-yard line, they are rolling Toomer’s Corner. Bama wins in 4 overtimes, 24-22. Against Houston in the Birmingham Bowl, the Tigers needed just one stop for a winning season. Lost 17-13.
SEC Prediction: In the last 15 years, the gap between the favorites in each division has never been wider. Alabama in the West and Georgia in the East have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. In the past, you could predict that one of the divisions was going to be a tossup. Not this year.
SEC East Prediction: 1. Georgia 2. Kentucky 3. Tennessee 4. Florida 5. South Carolina 6. Missouri 7. Vandy. The battle is for the runner-up position. Kentucky is solid. The Vols are on the rise but have to play Bama. How long will it take Billy Napier to get the Gators on the right path?
SEC West Prediction: 1. Alabama 2. Texas A&M 3. Ole Miss 4. Arkansas 5. LSU 6. Auburn 7. Mississippi State. Bama has October 8 circled, when A&M comes to town. The Aggies have recruited great but must get more consistent. Ole Miss will be the surprise team due to all the transfers.
Alabama Outlook: The Tide will enter the fall as the number 1 team in every poll. Why? They have the reigning Heisman Trophy quarterback; the most dominating defensive player in Will Anderson; the Greatest Coach of All Time in Nick Saban. The schedule is favorable with A&M in Tuscaloosa. The defense has a chance to get back to the dominating days of the past. 12-0. SEC champion.
Auburn Outlook: In an unusual schedule, the Tigers play their first 5 games at home. They have to be at least 4-1 when they travel the next week to Georgia. Running back Tank Bigsby is one of the best in the SEC when he stays healthy. Owen Pappoe has to step up as the defensive leader. Auburn fans are going to get more restless if programs like A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU pass them by. 7-5 record.
CFP Playoffs: Pencil in Alabama and Ohio State. The other 2 slots will be between Georgia, Clemson, Utah, and Notre Dame. Prediction: Bama beats Clemson in Peach Bowl. Ohio State beats Utah in the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama beats Ohio State for the National Championship 37-24. Rammer Jammer once again!

Brad Bradford is a former football staff member at Alabama and Louisville. His wife Susan Moseley Bradford is a former Auburn cheerleader. His blogs can be found at Brad is also an author and motivational speaker. Contact him at

Brad Bradford is a former football staff member at Alabama and Louisville. His wife Susan Moseley Bradford is a former Auburn cheerleader. His blogs can be found at Brad is also an author and motivational speaker. Contact him at


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