ESPN college football Insider Travis Haney likes the University of Alabama's chances in 2012, but it does come with a caveat. In breaking down the weaknesses of the SEC's contenders, Haney singled out the Crimson Tide's kicking game as a point of emphasis.
Alabama made 23 of 36 field goal attempts in 2011-12 and missed several key attempts against LSU in their regular season matchup, losing a heartbreaker in Tuscaloosa. Jeremy Shelley got a dose of revenge two months later, connecting on five field goals to lead the Crimson Tide to a 21-point win over LSU and give UA its second championship in three seasons. But that wasn't enough to dispel concerns heading into this season.
Writes Haney: "If you type 'Alabama missed field goals' into a search engine, 'vs. LSU' automatically fills in. It was the theme of the most important regular season game of 2011, and it seemed at the time as if it had cost the Tide a shot at the national title.
"It didn't, but you know Nick Saban would sure like to have that shored up in the event of additional close games in 2012. (That's almost guaranteed, given how the Tide plays and a schedule that includes road trips to Fayetteville and Baton Rouge.)"
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