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Recruiting: Alabama planning for 2015 with 2014 class choices

Recruiting: Alabama planning for 2015 with 2014 class choices

While every team suffers losses from one year to the next, the hit to the roster Alabama took following the 2013 season – not just from graduation, but underclassmen opting for early entry into the NFL Draft – looks manageable for 2014.

The real question will be replacing upcoming losses following the 2014 season.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Alabama could have eight senior starters on its 2014 offense, with another two players virtual locks to leave early for the NFL Draft in April 2015. Running back T.J. Yeldon and wideout Amari Cooper will be juniors in 2014, and if either returns for his senior season, it would be an upset somewhere on par with Louisiana-Monroe winning a rematch of its 2007 game against the Crimson Tide.

Kiffin hired as Alabama offensive coordinator

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Kiffin hired as Alabama offensive coordinator

Alabama hired former Southern Cal and Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin as its new offensive coordinator Friday, quickly filling the vacancy left when Doug Nussmeier left Alabama for the same job at Michigan.

“We are excited to have Lane join our staff,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban in a statement released by the university. “He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level. He has a very good understanding of the game and I have always been impressed with what I saw in the games he called. He coaches with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and also does an excellent job as a teacher. Lane will be an outstanding addition to our coaching staff and we look forward to him and his family joining us at the University of Alabama.”

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Replacement for Nussmeier could be Saban’s biggest hire ever

Many were surprised that Nussmeier left Alabama, especially given that the move was lateral. No one would have been shocked had Nussmeier left to take over his own program, the way Jim McElwain did two years ago when he assumed control of the Colorado State program. But the fact Nussmeier’s departure came abruptly after the Sugar Bowl, without a great deal of talk about his future, seems to suggest that his decision to leave was more mutual in nature than the mainstream sports media has yet to theorize.

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Texas, Auburn find they’re still living in an Alabama world

Florida State closed out the BCS era Monday night with a 34-31 victory over Auburn, claiming the last crystal trophy that will be handed out under the current postseason rules.

But even though the Seminoles have 365 days to enjoy their place on the college football throne, one of the first questions raised on ESPN’s postgame show was whether Alabama had passed the mantle of most-targeted program over to FSU permanently.

ESPN contributor Paul Finebaum – who has never met a football topic he wouldn’t use to troll Alabama fans – answered with a firm “yes,” surprising exactly no one. If only that were true.

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Sugar Bowl wrap-up: What will this game mean for Alabama’s future?

By the time Oklahoma recovered the final kickoff – a so-bad-it-was-funny moment that served as the perfect capper to the 2014 Sugar Bowl – the time for mulling over what might have been was long gone.

For the second time in six years, Alabama laid an egg in the Sugar Bowl to an inferior team. But in that regard, the 2014 game was at least an improvement over the 2009 Sugar Bowl, since Oklahoma, unlike Utah, was a worthy opponent.

Twice now under Nick Saban, Alabama has lost a title shot after Thanksgiving and ended up in New Orleans playing for pride. Both times, the results left Alabama fans wondering whether anyone on the team seemed to care.

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Sugar Bowl preview: Tide must ignore waves of disappointment to beat Sooners

The 2008 Crimson Tide team opened the season with 12 straight victories, only to lose a potential national title shot at the hands of Florida and quarterback Tim Tebow in the SEC Championship Game. While Alabama was admittedly ahead of schedule in even getting to the game in the first place, the loss was still a bitter pill and served as motivation for the entire 2009 year. Highlights of the 2009 SEC Championship Game, for instance, make their appearance in Alabama’s pregame video under the headline “Redemption.”

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Saban, UA announce extension; Saban says will end career at Alabama

Alabama and head coach Nick Saban formally announced a contract extension Friday that will keep Saban in Tuscaloosa until the end of his career, the coach announced.

“This agreement allows us to continue to build on the tremendous success that we have enjoyed to this point, successes that have transcended the football field,” said Saban in a statement released by the school. “We are excited about the future and the University of Alabama is where I plan to end my coaching career.”

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Auburn wrap-up: Another miracle finish, because Alabama couldn’t finish

There will be no such breakdown today, because aside from a scattered few individual players, Alabama didn’t play like it wanted to win the game, and didn’t coach like it, either.

Placekicker Cade Foster, who had enjoyed a brilliant senior season after three iffy ones, crumbled in this game. There is no other way to say it. But Alabama coaches took him out either one kick too soon or a kick or two too late – and given how Alabama was playing, it might not have mattered anyway. Had this game hit overtime, would anyone have seriously expected Alabama to have won it then?

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