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Alabama, Georgia and Texas to shape the 2024 college football season?

The 2024 national title race is up for grabs heading into the spring. Five teams seem most likely to reach the playoff in Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas and Ole Miss. But another team could shape the college football season.

The focus in 2024 could center around three teams: Georgia, Texas and Alabama. They command attention for different reasons.

Over the last three years, Georgia has won two national titles and appeared in three SEC championships. In that span, the Bulldogs have lost two games. Both losses came against Alabama.

The Alabama Crimson Tide might have bragging rights for now, but will have to navigate a season without legendary head coach Nick Saban following his retirement. The culture and scheme may change, but the target has not left the Tide’s back.

We warned of a deteriorating Alabama last offseason. The offensive line and receiving corps appeared to our eyes as deficient, while the secondary looked beatable. It’s why we predicted with good confidence that Texas would defeat Alabama all offseason.

Alabama’s slight fall comes at the same time as Texas’ rise. The Longhorns hired the Crimson Tide’s top offensive mind in Steve Sarkisian and pulled away the team’s elite assistants in offensive line coach Kyle Flood and tight ends coach Jeff Banks. The recruiting and development that ensued led Texas to 12 wins last season.

The above trio of teams is perhaps most likely to shape the 2024 season. In particular, the matchups the teams play will have as much national title implications as any other team’s games.

Texas faces Michigan (15-0) in Ann Arbor before facing Oklahoma (10-3) and Georgia (13-1) in back-to-back games. Alabama faces Tennessee (9-4), LSU (10-3) and Oklahoma on the road with games against Missouri (11-2) and Georgia at home.

The Georgia Bulldogs’ streak of reaching the SEC title could be in jeopardy as the team faces all of its top competition, Texas (12-2), Alabama (12-2) and Ole Miss (11-2), on the road.

The above three teams face multiple playoff caliber matchups. It’s difficult to envision all three making it through the season unscathed.

Out of the above teams, Alabama seems most vulnerable. More than 66% of the team’s starters depart with a new coaching staff in place. Each of its top road games, Tennessee, LSU and Oklahoma, could easily result in losses. The home battles with double digit win mainstay Georgia and rising Missouri raise the level of difficulty for the Tide.

If Alabama can navigate that schedule with two losses or less, it could flip the college football landscape in its favor. While they should return to consistent success in the future with head coach Kalen DeBoer, the first season could be a difficult test regardless of past first-year success.

The SEC trio is in a game of musical chairs for a conference title bid. With Ole Miss on the rise and facing an easier schedule, the team who finishes last among Alabama, Georgia and Texas could be the odd man out in the College Football Playoff race barring all three overcoming difficult schedules with two losses or less.

Alabama, Georgia and Texas could shape the college football season. Perhaps they should command the most focus in 2024.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire