Game-by-game predictions for Alabama football schedule in 2021: Back-to-back undefeated seasons?

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

The SEC-only slate was fun, and Alabama football did quite well in that gauntlet. But now the normal schedule is back.

Included in that are the cupcake games as well as the neutral-site opener (for what might be the last time). Of course, plenty of signature SEC matchups will be there as well, eager to define the season. Alabama could go undefeated again, but even for the Crimson Tide, that's not easy to do in back-to-back years. 

Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2021 Crimson Tide football season:

Sept. 4: vs. Miami

Last season: Did not play. Miami went 8-3.

The buzz: Season openers can be some of the toughest to predict because what you think you might know about a team gets put to the test for the first time. There will likely be some growing pains for the new offense, but the Crimson Tide will get everything smoothed out and start the year off with a win over the No. 16 Hurricanes.

The pick: Alabama wins 42-21

MIAMI:'Not afraid of the big, bad wolf': How Alabama football's last game against Miami returned the Crimson Tide to national championship glory

DEPTH CHART:Projecting the Alabama football depth chart: Who starts on the offensive line? Who plays at defensive back?

Sept. 11: vs. Mercer

Last season: Did not play. Mercer went 5-6.

The buzz: In the first game back in what is set to be a full Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama will give fans plenty to cheer about. This might be the first chance to see some of the younger players as the Crimson Tide jumps out to a quick lead that only grows.

The pick: Alabama wins 62-7

Sept. 18: at Florida

Last season: Alabama won 52-46 (SEC Championship).  

The buzz: This game might be one of the toughest on the schedule for the Crimson Tide with a trip to Gainesville. Quarterback Emory Jones could present some problems for the Alabama defense, but in the end, the Crimson Tide comes out on top.  

The pick: Alabama wins 45-24

Sept. 25: vs. Southern Miss

Last season: Did not play. Southern Miss went 3-7.

The buzz: Alabama will have a chance to improve to 4-0 to start the season. Quarterback Trey Lowe, the grandson of former Crimson Tide great Woodrow Lowe, will be in town. His grandfather's former team will have a big day.   

The pick: Alabama wins 51-13

Oct. 2: vs. Ole Miss

Last season: Alabama won 63-48

The buzz: Hang on to your hats folks. Expect another high-flying offensive game as Lane Kiffin returns to Tuscaloosa. Matt Corral and Bryce Young will each have big days, but in the end, a former Saban assistant still won't have a victory against him.

The pick: Alabama wins 43-35

Oct. 9: at Texas A&M

Last season: Alabama won 52-24

The buzz: This game might be the toughest on the Crimson Tide’s schedule and the most prime for an upset. This could very well fall Alabama’s way, but running back Isaiah Spiller and tight end Jalen Wydermyer each have strong performances to help the Aggies edge the Crimson Tide late in the game.

The pick: Texas A&M wins 38-34

Oct. 16: at Mississippi State

Last season: Alabama won 41-0

The buzz: It won’t be a shutout this time, but Alabama manages to rebound from the loss with an impressive victory over the Bulldogs. The cowbells become fainter and fainter as Alabama scores more and more.

The pick: Alabama wins 45-14

Oct. 23: vs. Tennessee

Last season: Alabama won 48-17

The buzz: Josh Heupel might succeed in Tennessee, but even if that happens in the next year or so, he’s got a long ways to go before Tennessee is competitive again with Alabama. That’s not happening this year at least. Not at Alabama’s homecoming.

The pick: Alabama wins 45-13

Nov. 6: vs. LSU

Last season: Alabama won 55-17

The buzz: LSU should make improvements from a year ago. But the chances of this being an LSU team at the level of the 2019 team is not great. Sophomore quarterback Max Johnson will make some plays and help the Tigers be competitive, but Alabama still comes out on top.

The pick: Alabama wins 42-20

Nov. 13: vs. New Mexico State

Last season: Did not play. New Mexico State went 1-1 (in COVID-19 affected season)

The buzz: This game will serve as a tune-up for an Alabama team looking at another College Football Playoff run. Alabama backups get more experience and starters put up some solid numbers, too.

The pick: Alabama wins 60-3

Nov. 20: vs. Arkansas

Last season: Alabama won 52-3

The buzz: Arkansas coach Sam Pittman will continue to grow the Razorbacks program, and it will make a few strides in the ultra-competitive SEC West. But they’re still not able to compete on Alabama’s level. 

The pick: Alabama wins 43-18

Nov. 27: at Auburn

Last season: Alabama won 42-13

The buzz: Crazy things can happen at the Iron Bowl, and maybe they do again this year. But Bryan Harsin has a ways to go to get his program in the neighborhood of Alabama. This isn’t that year. Quarterback Bo Nix will put up OK numbers, but the Crimson Tide will be too much for the Tigers.

The pick: Alabama wins 38-20