The strongest record of Eric Church's career has provided his first major award nominations and his first No. 1 hit. Calling 'Chief' a mainstream country record would be misleading, however. It's still full of the bad boy love and attitude that built one of the most loyal fan bases in country music.

This album will win if: Enough voters agree that Church is a terribly underrated and under-appreciated talent. He's yet to get the respect of country radio that other artists in the category have earned, and he wears a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. It could be argued that he wouldn't be the same artist without it, but it will also cost him a few votes.