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SECCG wrap-up: Bama plays to its strengths, takes advantage of Gator errors

SECCG wrap-up: Bama plays to its strengths, takes advantage of Gator errors

As gameplans go, the one Alabama used to defeat Florida for the 25th SEC championship in school history was stunningly simple: Alabama would use its defense to choke the life out of an anemic offense forced to work behind a thin, under-talented offensive line. Then the Crimson Tide would feed Florida a steady dose of Derrick Henry until the Gators wilted under the constant pressure.

Sometimes, gameplans don’t play out the way they’re put together on chalkboards. But this one did.

SECCG Preview: Gators have the defense, but offense is offensive

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SECCG Preview: Gators have the defense, but offense is offensive

When Will Grier failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs after Florida’s sixth game of the season, the Gators were forced to turn to former starter Treon Harris.

Few people could have expected the results.

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CSU preview: Tide needs to get fast start, then sit starters

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CSU preview: Tide needs to get fast start, then sit starters

It’s no mystery why Alabama scheduled Charleston Southern here. The Buccaneers’ offense makes a good analog for the Auburn offense Alabama will see a week from now. The Bucs are a quality opponent without being a real threat. If Alabama does mope around too much in this game, it could be a repeat of 2011, when the Crimson Tide let then-FCS Georgia Southern hang around almost too long, in a game that could have cost Bama a repeat shot at LSU had voters been turned off by the Tide’s performance. Ultimately, the goal is to get to the Auburn game with no further injuries, and with a convincing win in Alabama’s back pocket.

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MSU wrap-up: Bama defense may be in ‘best-ever’ territory

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MSU wrap-up: Bama defense may be in ‘best-ever’ territory

If you want to start a spirited discussion on any Alabama fan board, trot out the modifier “best-ever” and ask people for opinions.

Alabama’s long, storied football history has produced many “best-evers,” from wide receiver Don Hutson in the 1930s to linebacker Lee Roy Jordan in the the 1960s (and later Derrick Thomas in the 1980s) to Dwight Stephenson to John Hannah to Mark Ingram and on and on and on.

Beyond individuals, Alabama can lay serious claim to having the best-ever college defense at several points in its history.

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LSU wrap-up: Bama not challenged in romp over Tigers

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LSU wrap-up: Bama not challenged in romp over Tigers

That Alabama defeated LSU in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night to retake the reins of its own playoff destiny wasn’t really a surprise to those who are familiar with Alabama’s recent seasons.

What’s surprising is that the Crimson Tide wasn’t really challenged at all by an LSU team that came into the game ranked second in the nation behind the running of RB Leonard Fournette and a quarterback who had yet to throw an interception.

Alabama didn’t just beat LSU Saturday night. Alabama made it look … easy.

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LSU Preview: Battle of the beasts could decide Bama’s playoff fate

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By Jess Nicholas TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief Nov. 3, 2015 There are two steps to the strategy to get Alabama back into the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Step one: Ole Miss must lose. Step two: Alabama must stop Leonard Fournette. The first is out of Alabama’s hands altogether. Arkansas gets a chance to save Alabama’s bacon […]

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Tennessee wrap-up: Bama squeezes Big Orange hearts with late win

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Tennessee wrap-up: Bama squeezes Big Orange hearts with late win

A game like this was almost expected, the result of Alabama being faced, week after week, with a gauntlet of rested teams, thanks to the SEC office’s inability (or lack of desire) to address unfair scheduling practices.

And in this case, the Crimson Tide nearly paid the price for the circumstances outside its control.

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Tennessee preview: Vols could be a tougher foe than Bama expects

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Tennessee preview: Vols could be a tougher foe than Bama expects

Every season, one or two teams seem to rise above their typical watermarks and give Alabama a tougher game than it would otherwise appear on paper.

Alabama is hoping Ole Miss filled the role in Week 3, but in 2009, that team was Tennessee, then led by a young head coach named Lane Kiffin. It took two blocked field goals by DT Terrence Cody, the second coming as time ran out, for Alabama to hold onto the win and eventually play for a national championship.

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Texas A&M wrap-up: Bama’s defense lowers the boom on Aggies

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Texas A&M wrap-up: Bama’s defense lowers the boom on Aggies

If Alabama is going to make a run at a national championship, one of the things that must happen for the Crimson Tide has undeniably begun to happen the last two or three weeks: The defense is getting incrementally better every game.

Alabama traded the I-formation offenses of Georgia and Arkansas for Texas A&M’s high-flying spread attack Saturday, and held it to 16 points of production. The Aggie rushing attack – which wasn’t spectacular by any means coming in but was nonetheless respectable – was completely shut down. Alabama’s defensive line lived in the Aggie backfield, quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray were mercilessly harassed, and Alabama’s secondary put on a performance for the ages.

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Texas A&M preview: Improving defense, explosive offense gives Aggies a chance

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Texas A&M preview: Improving defense, explosive offense gives Aggies a chance

Over its first few seasons after joining the SEC, Texas A&M felt like a jigsaw puzzle missing a couple of pieces.

The Aggies found those missing pieces after they hired John Chavis, the former Tennessee and LSU defensive coordinator, to coach them at the same position. Chavis immediately brought a toughness to the job that the Aggies had been lacking. Although Texas A&M is far from a defensive powerhouse in 2015, the improvement is noticeable, and more is expected in the future.

Alabama enters this game coming off its second physical test in a row. Alabama has beaten Georgia and Arkansas in successive weeks, and now must face the high-powered spread attack brought by Texas A&M. With rival Tennessee coming to Tuscaloosa the week after this game, many Alabama fans are worried that this contest has all the makings of a textbook trap game and upset.

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