Moments after winning back-to-back national championships on Monday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and A.J. McCarron were vowing to celebrate for just two days before getting back to work on Thursday to win a third consecutive national title next year.
After last season's championship, Alabama had four players selected in the first round of the NFL draft. And the team still managed to reload and successfully defend its title this year.
Alabama will not see a drop off in talent next season. In fact, they may be even stronger even though they will most likely lose running back Eddie Lacy to the draft. The bruising junior running back's draft stock will not likely be higher after his dominant performance against Notre Dame in the title game. Lacy was the game's offensive MVP, scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 140 yards against a vaunted Notre Dame defensive front.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron will return. True freshman T.J. Yeldon will be the primary back next year. Fullback Jalston Fowler and running back Dee Hart, both of whom suffered season-ending injuries this year, will return. So will Kenyon Drake, who showed flashes of dominance this season.
Derrick Henry, who broke the national high school rushing record that had stood for 59 years, will also be on the team.
Standout true freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper, who had two touchdowns in the title game, will return. As will linebacker C.J. Mosley, who was the the game's defensive MVP. So will defensive backs like freshman Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Alabama will most likely start at the top of next year's rankings, above teams like Texas A&M, Ohio State, Oregon, and Stanford.
The BCS championship next year will be at the Rose Bowl, where the Alabama dynasty began when the Crimson Tide defeated Texas in 2009 to claim the first of its three championships in four years.