How to avoid these 5 bad things from happening to Kalen DeBoer in year one at Alabama

Doing any one of these five things in year one at Alabama could be problematic for Kalen DeBoer.

Kalen DeBoer, Alabama Crimson Tide
Kalen DeBoer, Alabama Crimson Tide / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages
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2. Problem: Missing the College Football Playoff during your first season

At this juncture, missing the College Football Playoff in its first year of expansion would not play well with the Crimson Tide faithful. Even though it has been a long three years since their last national title, Alabama should still be good enough to be a top-8-to-10 team in the country this season. The Crimson Tide lost a lot of talent in the wake of DeBoer taking over, but there is still so much to be had.

Although Nick Saban went 7-5 in his first year at Alabama, that was back in 2007 and in the wake of a down decade for the entire program. Lincoln Riley took Bob Stoops' players to the playoff during his first year on the job in 2017. This is a similar level of transition, even though the playoff only included four teams at the time. Even Sonny Dykes took TCU to the national championship during his first year.

The best way to prevent that is to be a top-10-caliber team heading into the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn.

Solution: Go to 10-2 or be at least 9-2 heading into the Iron Bowl at home

If Alabama is 9-2 or better heading into the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn at home, a win is probably enough to get the Crimson Tide one of three or four at-large bids potentially available out of the SEC next season. A 10-1 Alabama team probably gets in anyway, regardless of what happens at Bryant-Denny vs. the Tigers. Should the Crimson Tide go 11-1, that may be good enough to get to Atlanta this year.

Ultimately, DeBoer can't really enter the Iron Bowl with more than two losses on the season. If his team is something like 8-3 heading into Rivalry Weekend, a home win over maybe a halfway decent Auburn isn't going to move the needle. It is all about putting your team in the best position possible in a transitional year in the eyes of the Selection Committee to give your team the benefit of the doubt.

A win over Auburn should be the cherry on top of a good season, not what defines a season as such.