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April 26, 2009
Teams that could surprise, good and bad
Alabama fans probably drew a few chuckles last summer if they said the Crimson Tide would finish the 2008 season as a top-10 team.
Who's laughing now? Alabama improved from 7-6 to 12-2. While critics pointed at the Tide's embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Monroe in 2007, Alabama fans believed that a bounce here and there would have made all the difference in the season.
Each of Alabama's six losses in 2007 was by a touchdown or less. In 2008, the Tide turned those heartbreaking losses into wins on the way to a 12-0 start.
The opposite was true for Virginia. The 2007 Cavaliers won five games by three points or less – and that was with star defensive end Chris Long. But the 2008 Cavs couldn't always find ways to win and stumbled from 9-4 to 5-7.
Which team will be this year's Alabama – or Virginia? We'll give you a look at whose luck may turn and whose luck may run out in 2009.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.