The Alabama Crimson Tide came up short of adding another national championship to Nick Saban’s trophy gallery, losing to the conference-rival Georgia Bulldogs 33-18 in the CFP title game. Despite that heartbreaking defeat, Alabama fans have plenty of reasons to believe their team can it win it all in 2022.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young returns to Tuscaloosa this season after completing 67% of his passes for 47 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as a freshman. On defense, the team has linebacker Will Anderson Jr. returning, who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American and led the nation in sacks (17.5) and tackles for loss (34.5) a year ago.

With such key pieces in store, the Crimson Tide have eyes for another championship run in 2022, but the schedule won’t be easy for them. Rivalry games and matchups against ranked opponents abound for Alabama, roadblocks that could keep Nick Saban’s team from getting back on college football’s mountaintop.

Here are three must-watch games for Alabama in2022.

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Must-gatch games for the 2022 Alabama Crimson Tide

Week 6: vs. Texas A&M Aggies

The matchup versus the Texas A&M on October 8th will certainly be marked on the Crimson Tide’s calendar. Last season, the Aggies upset Alabama for its only loss of the season, with Texas A&M winning 41-38 on a walk-off field goal.

It is very likely the Crimson Tide have a chip on their shoulder as a result, having circled Texas A&M on the 2022 calendar long ago. But there is more than just what happened on the field last year that makes this matchup even more of a must-see TV event.

In May, Saban suggested that the Texas A&M program and head coach Jimbo Fisher were “buying” players under the new NIL rules. During a subsequent press conference, Fisher responded by saying there are reasons why he does not want to work with Saban or be associated with him.

“Some people think they’re God. Go dig in to how ‘God’ did his deal and you may find out about a guy, a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody who’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out about what he does and how he does it. It’s despicable, it really is.”

Even though Fisher later said he has no problem with Saban, their burning offseason beef just gives fans more reasons to tune in during the fall to see which coach gets the final word on the field.

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Week 10: at LSU Tigers 

This can be considered a highly anticipated matchup because it will be the first time the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers will face each other following Brian Kelly’s hire by LSU.

Last season, the Tigers started ranked No. 16, but ended up finishing the year only 6-7 and 3-5 in the SEC, placing last in the West Division. However, in the matchup versus the Crimson Tide, LSU was able to keep it close, only losing 20-14 on the road. Also, the team almost upset other ranked teams last year, such as No. 22 Auburn (losing 24-19) and No. 20 Florida (49-42).

Even if their record is not a flashy as it once was, the Tigers are still a potential team to be reckoned with—especially in Baton Rouge. LSU will welcome Saban, Young and the Crimson Tide to Tiger Stadium on November 5th.

Despite still having questions at the quarterback position, LSU has some players with the potential to shine in this season. Junior wide receiver Kayshon Boutte had 509 receiving yards and six touchdowns in just six games last season, and they retained multiple key pieces of their defensive line such as All-SEC Freshman honoree Maason Smith.

Although the Tigers might not be competing for a spot in the College Football Playoff right away, a matchup against the Crimson Tide should be an interesting one.

Week 13: vs. Auburn Tigers

The 2021 season for the Auburn Tigers was the first one they finished below .500 since 2012. This was also their first year under head coach Bryan Harsin.

The offseason was very eventful in Auburn with starting quarterback Bo Nix transferring to Oregon. With Nix, the Tigers had a 6-3 record, but after he got injured, the team went 0-3.

Despite those struggles, Auburn still had its moments in 2021. They defeated rival LSU in the Tiger Bowl on the road and beat No. 10 Ole Miss 31-20, the last game before the team had Nix fully healthy. One of the highlights for Auburn last year came against Alabama. In a four-overtime thriller, the Tide ended up winning the Iron Bowl 24-22.

The Tigers are still in a rebuilding phase after the December 2020 firing of Guz Malzahn, and the team was selected to finish last in the West division this season. But with potential First Team All-SEC  running back Tank Bigsby coming back, plus the historical rivalry between Auburn and Alabama, the 2022 Iron Bowl is a must-see.