Alabama football preview: Crimson Tide 2017 schedule, roster and three things to watch

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The Amway Coaches Poll was released on Thursday, and it's the usual suspects still at the top.

College football rankings: Alabama ranked No. 1 in preseason Coaches Poll

The Amway Coaches Poll was released on Thursday, and it's the usual suspects still at the top.

Alabama coach Nick Saban enters his 11th season as head coach of the Crimson Tide looking to reclaim the national championship.

Alabama fell just short of its fifth national title under Saban in a 35-31 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. The Crimson Tide havesent another loaded class to the NFL Draft, so there are some changes to be made in 2017.

MORE: Alabama's recruiting streak isn't stopping anytime soon

Alabama, however, is still ranked No. 1 in our Way-Too-Early Top 25 heading into spring practice, and will be favored to claim a fourth consecutive SEC championship.

Will the Crimson Tide get back to the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive season? Here is a spring primer for the 2017 season:

2017 Alabama football schedule

Sept. 2: vs. Florida State (Atlanta)

Sept. 9: vs. Fresno State

Sept. 16: vs. Colorado State

Sept. 23: at Vanderbilt

Sept. 30: vs. Ole Miss

Oct. 7: at Texas A&M

Oct. 14: vs. Arkansas

Oct. 21: vs. Tennessee

Oct. 28: BYE

Nov. 4: vs. LSU

Nov. 11: at Mississippi State

Nov. 18: vs. Mercer

Nov. 25: at Auburn

Dec. 2: SEC championship game (Atlanta)

When is Alabama's spring game?

Alabama's spring game is April 22 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as part of "A-Day."

When will Alabama's spring game be televised?

Alabama's spring game will be televised at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

2017 Alabama recruiting class

Alabama finished No. 1 on 247Sports' Composite team rankings for 2017.That included the five-star tandem of dual-threat quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Najee Harris. Five-stars in tackle Alex Leatherwood, linebacker Dylan Moses, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and defensive end LaBryan Ray also highlighted the class.

2017 Alabama roster

Alabama's official roster will be updated throughout the spring and fall here.

Three things to watchthis spring:

1. Will the OC drama continue?

Lane Kiffin leftAlabamaafter the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl victory against Washington. Steve Sarkisian left after the Super Bowl to take the offensive coordinator job with the Atlanta Falcons. The Crimson Tide hired Brian Daboll, an assistant with the New England Patriots.That means Alabama will have its sixth different offensive coordinator since Saban took over in 2007. How will Daboll mesh with Saban? That's the No. 1 storyline heading into the spring.

2. What's next for Jalen Hurts?

Same goes for sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, who evolved into a borderline Heisman Trophy candidate as a true freshman while leading the Crimson Tide to a national championship game appearance. Hurts was unflappable for most of the season and did his part with a late touchdowndrive against Clemson, but finished 20 of 45 passing for 188 passing yards over the two playoff games. Hurts needs to take the step in the passing game. He might win the Heisman if he does that in 2017.

3. Who steps up on defense?

Alabama led the nation in scoring defense at 13.0points per game in 2016 with a nasty front seven, but Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams are part of the talent wave that exited to the next level. Minkah Fitzpatrick is an excellent piece for second-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to work with, but the spring should hint at what kind of depth the Crimson Tide has on that side of the ball.

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