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SECCG preview: Hobbled Gators are living on a prayer offensively

SECCG preview: Hobbled Gators are living on a prayer offensively

There is a lot of familiarity between these two teams, thanks mostly to Florida hiring former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain as head coach, who subsequently attracted former Bama staffers Doug Nussmeier, Geoff Collins and Chris Rumph. The end result is that Alabama will have a hard time surprising Florida, and with the Gators’ defense a tough customer, expect this one to be close at least until the final quarter. Alabama will need to force Florida to make mistakes in order to avoid a low-scoring stalemate.

Texas A&M preview: Bama will see a familiar face in battle for SEC West

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Texas A&M preview: Bama will see a familiar face in battle for SEC West

If this turns out to be yet another national championship year for Alabama, fans and sportswriters alike have a game they like to play: Find the one or two teams Alabama will struggle with on its way to the playoffs. Texas A&M is playing better than anyone left on Alabama’s schedule, and while LSU is more talented (and perhaps Auburn is as well), the Aggies seem to have jelled behind new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, and the leadership of Knight.

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USC Wrap-up: Tide makes a very good team look out of its league

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USC Wrap-up: Tide makes a very good team look out of its league

Alabama trailed 3-0 thanks to a rough first quarter that, hopefully, consolidated all of Alabama’s freshman mistakes into a single, 15-minute block of time. The Crimson Tide then opened up both barrels and blasted the Trojans right out of the discussion of national title contenders.

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Five players who need a strong A-Day showing

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Five players who need a strong A-Day showing

With Alabama’s second scrimmage in the books, positions that are up for grabs this spring are slowly coming into focus.

Five players in particular need to post a solid A-Day performance Saturday in order to mark themselves as the starter heading into fall camp. As QB David Cornwell showed last spring, leading (or even being in the mix) at the end of spring isn’t a guarantee of holding onto a job throughout fall camp, but it certainly makes it tougher for other competitors to get a foothold.

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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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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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Arkansas preview: Razorbacks may not have the horses to win this one

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Arkansas preview: Razorbacks may not have the horses to win this one

It is easy to dismiss Arkansas as “Georgia Lite” given the Razorbacks’ offensive tendencies, but Arkansas has frequently been a tough out for Alabama. So much so, in fact, that Alabama needs to avoid falling into the trap posed by this direct-from-central-casting “trap game.”

In 2014, Arkansas took Alabama to the wire before the Crimson Tide eventually won, 14-13. It was the game that the Alabama coaches used to eventually define the 2014 squad, and it also marked the last game QB Blake Sims really struggled to get through. In 2015, Alabama gets the Hogs a week after rolling around like a bunch of hogs in the Georgia mud. Fortunately for Alabama, the fourth quarter of its win over Georgia was little more than a mutual slap-fest, as prescribed by the stunningly poor weather conditions.

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Georgia wrap-up: Dawgs had the bark, Alabama had the bite

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Georgia wrap-up: Dawgs had the bark, Alabama had the bite

When you’re a Dawg, you spend a lot of time woofing. That’s what you do.

When you’re the Alabama Crimson Tide, playing in Athens, Ga., you take care of business and rip the heart of the Georgia fan base in the process. That’s what you do.

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MSU wrap-up: Tide coming together at the right time

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MSU wrap-up: Tide coming together at the right time

Given that top-ranked Mississippi State was an underdog in Saturday’s game, it would be incorrect to call this Alabama win an upset.

It would, however, be appropriate for college football’s new Playoff Committee to finally acknowledge what the oddsmakers were trying to tell them beforehand: Alabama is probably the best, most complete team in college football right now.

Oregon will probably claim its high-flying offense makes it the most dangerous; Florida State can point to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and its undefeated record and claim it’s the best team in the land. But Alabama is beginning to win games with defense, sort of an anachronism in today’s college football world, and as de rigueur as high-powered offenses are at the moment, a strong defense beats a strong offense most of time, as much as that might chafe those in an around the sport that have become addicted to points.

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MSU preview: For perhaps the first time ever, Bama is the hunter, not the hunted

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MSU preview: For perhaps the first time ever, Bama is the hunter, not the hunted

Alabama is coming off its annual exposure to trench warfare, otherwise known as the LSU game, and the results were almost too terrible to imagine. Alabama needed a last-minute, game-tying drive and an overtime period to defeat the Bayou Bengals, and the Tide’s reward is a date with a Bulldog team that is more dynamic offensively, has better speed at the quarterback position and who spent last week toying with UT-Martin.

If this game was being played in Starkville, it would be even more of a circus than it figures to be in Tuscaloosa. But with Alabama’s home-field performances being so strong in 2014, the top concern might not be Mississippi State, but the annual post-LSU hangover from which the Crimson Tide always seems to suffer.

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