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February 4, 2014

Alabama primed to win another recruiting national title

Recruiting national championships have morphed into annual tradition for Alabama during the Nick Saban regime.

By the looks of things, Wednesday won't offer much change.

As National Signing Day looms, the Crimson Tide firmly hold a significant lead in the Rivals.com 2014 team rankings. Sporting 24 commitments entering Wednesday, Alabama has 3,317 total points in the rankings and a gaudy 403-point lead on No. 2 Ohio State.

To illustrate the size of Alabama's edge, the same 403-point margin behind Ohio State would land a team between No. 6 LSU and No. 7 Florida.

So is there anything that could keep the Crimson Tide from its fourth straight recruiting national title and sixth in the past seven seasons?

"If Alabama signs everyone that they have on their current commit list, there is only one scenario out there I see where a team could possibly pass them," said Rivals.com's Greg Ladky, who created the new team rankings formula. "That would be Florida State, and we're talking about a pie-in-the-sky scenario."

Assuming Alabama doesn't add anyone to its current list of 24 commitments, FSU would have to land almost every major uncommitted target that is even considering the Seminoles to threaten Alabama's spot atop the rankings.

"They'd have to land Ermon Lane, Malachi Dupre, Derrick Nnadi, Javon Harrison, Roderick Johnson, Lorenzo Carter, Malik McDowell and Chad Thomas to get to 3160 points, which is 23 points ahead of above Alabama's current point total," Ladky said. "Our Florida State people are definitely not expecting a finish anywhere close to that scenario. It may be a great day for FSU tomorrow, but nothing really threatening the No. 1 spot."

By the end of signing day, Rivals.com only counts the players that signed a letter of intent and are expected to be scholarship players in the fall - no greyshirts - towards the team rankings.

That leaves history as Alabama's lone competition.

Ladky said that if Alabama holds its current 24 commitments and can add a five-star prospect like Rashaan Evans or Chad Thomas, Alabama "will have the best class Rivals.com has seen in the Rivals250 era."

Being able to compare Rivals.com's new team rankings formula - implemented in 2013 - and apply it to previous classes can reach back to 2008.

As of now, Florida's 2010 recruiting class tallied the most points (3,212) in that span. For example, if Evans inks with Alabama on Wednesday, that would give the Crimson Tide 3,263 points.

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