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Entries posted by Jess Nicholas
Ole Miss preview: Bama will find out whether Rebels are for real

Ole Miss preview: Bama will find out whether Rebels are for real

A quick glance at defensive statistics this season would seem to suggest that no, Ole Miss’ 2013 defensive improvement was not a mirage. The Rebels have put up impressive numbers through the first third of the 2014 season, and the confidence gained from their performance have given Ole Miss’ players a great deal of confidence heading into this game.

For Alabama, though, it’s just another verse to a familiar song, one sung by Ole Miss players and fans insistent that the current season will be different from those of the last 50 years. And while Ole Miss has a stout defense in 2014, to be sure, the Rebels’ offensive capabilities – particularly in the running game – simply haven’t been good enough to merit discussion of the Rebels-as-contenders subject.

Projected Depth Chart for Alabama vs. Ole Miss

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The depth chart is taken from individual practice and game observations, and is color-coded. Bama vs Ole Miss 2014 depth chart

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 6

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 6

The Predictions Dept. would like to petition the SEC to remove Missouri from the conference for the remainder of the season. Three of our eight losses this year have come as a result of trying to accurately peg the Tigers one way or another. Missouri now finds itself atop of the SEC East heap as a result of its win over South Carolina, a win that, for all practical purposes, eliminates South Carolina from the divisional race – unless Missouri itself decides to let the Gamecocks back in it, of course, which would be fitting. This week’s top game involves Alabama, so in this space we’ll look at some of the SEC’s other offerings, topped by Florida-Tennessee in the East and Auburn-LSU in the West.

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 5

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 5

So maybe Missouri really isn’t all that. There seems to be one SEC team each year that befuddles the Predictions Dept., and the Tigers seem destined to be that team in 2014. A loss to Indiana at home undid just about every good thing Missouri has done to this point in 2014, and now the slate of SEC games starts with a road trip to South Carolina, one of the biggest games of the week. In other action, Texas A&M is in the trap game of the week against Arkansas, while Tennessee tries to prove it’s for real in a matchup with old rival Georgia.

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Florida wrap-up: Tide’s growth, gameplan reason for success

The last time Alabama fans witnessed something so dumbfounding inside the confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium, Josh Reed was involved and Nick Saban was wearing LSU colors.

That day – Nov. 3, 2001 to be exact – saw Reed catch 19 passes for 293 yards, and LSU quarterback Rohan Davey throw for 528 yards on 35 completions. After a time, the game itself almost became secondary to the Davey-to-Reed show, with fans of both teams essentially waiting to see what would happen next.

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Florida preview: Struggles with Kentucky belie Gators’ true talents

As the final few plays in Florida’s overtime win over Kentucky went by the boards, there were two schools of thought concerning the Gators. The first was that Will Muschamp needed to visit the nearest Laser Copy and start getting resumes ready; the second was that this Gators team, despite its struggles against Kentucky, still has enough talent to win any game on its schedule.

And, now that Florida refused to fold against Kentucky, you can add the adjective “resilient” to the mix.

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Projected Depth Chart for Alabama vs. Florida

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Projected Depth Chart for Alabama vs. Florida

The depth chart is taken from individual practice and game observations, and is color-coded.

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 4

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 4

Week 3 was a decidedly mediocre effort for the Predictions Dept., which grudgingly admits now that Missouri might be for real. This week’s headline game is Alabama-Florida, which will be covered in its own article, but LSU and Mississippi State will do their best to be a decent second option, while Auburn and Kansas State meet in a key intra-conference matchup.

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USM wrap-up: Is Tide’s defense going back to the future?

The ever-lovable Joe Kines brought to Alabama a defensive strategy based around a concept of bending, but not breaking. And depending on the Alabama fan one interviews today, that description either encourages praise, or the gritting of teeth.

Kines’ strategy played out much differently than Nick Saban’s ever has, and had a different attitude. Kines believed in pushing plays toward the sidelines and using superior speed to make the play. Offenses, Kines reasoned, would eventually make a mistake and kill their own drives so long as Alabama didn’t give up a big play along the way. He was playing the percentages.

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USM preview: Woeful Golden Eagles can’t recapture past magic

There was a time when Southern Miss was a better yearly opponent for Alabama than some SEC teams.

A couple of Alabama-Southern Miss games are noteworthy, for all the wrong reasons. There was the Reggie Collier-led upset of one of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s last Alabama teams. And then there was the 21-0 loss to USM in 2000 that should have been the impetus for firing Mike DuBose.

This Southern Miss team, though, is nothing like those teams.

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