Alabama favorite to win third straight title, but don't count on it

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Nick Saban and Alabama seek to raise their third straight crystal ball, but odds are stacked against them

Nick Saban and Alabama seek to raise their third straight crystal ball, but odds are stacked against them

And then, as autumn settles in, Alabama will fight the same battle that has defined the sport forever. It's a battle that will inevitably include magic and good fortune and unexplainable events in an era when we try to quantify everything. When the playoff arrives, college football will lose a little more of its innocence -- and as we know, the sport only has a few teaspoons of innocence left. Saban and his all-business model may win another national championship. But a century of college football says not to count on it.