With one month of college football behind us, has the Alabama team met or failed expectations thus far?
From the respect that Alabama is undefeated and ranked first in the nation, almost unanimously, one would say that the team has measured up by most standards. Coach Nick Saban says the Crimson Tide can do better and is not playing up to the standard, which is probably true. Nevertheless, by almost any other standard, 'Bama has been very, very good.
What one player has been the key factor in the first 3-4 games?
It's never a surprise when good team is getting good quarterback play, and that's the case at Alabama. Second-year starter A.J. McCarron, a junior, has picked up where he left off last year - the Most Valuable Player in the BCS National Championship Game victory. He ranks first in the SEC in pass efficiency and has not had a turnover.
What are the key improvements that need to be made in order to ensure a successful season?
This was supposed to be the year that the offense had to carry the defense, but Alabama's defense has more than held its own, allowing three meaningless touchdowns in four easy victories and two shutouts. It is almost certainly a surprise that Alabama has allowed ten sacks, most on the offensive line, which was supposed to be the strongest part of a strong team. The offensive line has done well, but can be much better and will have to be better against upcoming defensive opponents.
How would your team define "success" this season?
Alabama has won two of the last three national championships and is ranked first in the nation a third of the way through 2012 regular season play, so there can only be one outcome that defines success: winning another national championship.
What is the most dominant headline the remainder of the season?
Although both teams face some challenges, if the participants in last year's BCS National Championship Game can make it to November 3rd undefeated, that will be considered by many to be the game for the Southeastern Conference and even national championship.
Thanks to 'Bama Mag's Kirk McNair for his in-depth contribution to this report.