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Previews 2015: Auburn Tigers

Previews 2015: Auburn Tigers

Auburn is probably the most puzzling team in the SEC heading into 2015. The Tigers return only 11 starters as a whole and are rebuilding the defense, but at the same time, several pundits have Auburn as a darkhorse national championship contender. What one thinks of Auburn basically breaks down to what one thinks of Gus Malzahn and his ability to continue to innovate on offense. Purely from an analytical standpoint, Auburn has very good overall talent, but there are pockets of weakness here and there. Auburn’s schedule could swing wildly, from as low as 7-5 to as many as 10 or 11 wins.

Previews 2015: Alabama Crimson Tide

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Previews 2015: Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide is hoping to ride a defense that might have 11 upperclassman starters to a title in 2015, but doing so will require a fast rebuild on the offensive side of the ball, not to mention navigating a schedule that many deem to be the most difficult in the nation. Other challenges include a spotty situation at placekicker and the shuffling of coaching personnel, primarily on defense.

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2015 Previews: Rating the Units

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2015 Previews: Rating the Units

While college football might be a numbers game to some, putting objective numbers down to predict a team’s chances in the upcoming season can be a challenge – some say impossible.

The system we present to you tries to do the impossible. What follows is a ranking of every position group of every team in the SEC, and we try to make the results as objective as we can.

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2015 Previews: Who’s up, who’s down heading into 2015

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2015 Previews: Who’s up, who’s down heading into 2015

Last year, TideFans.com rolled out its first truly new preseason feature in years, the Emerging Trends analysis. It was an attempt to take a view from 30,000 feet of the SEC landscape and open a discussion on both the short- and long-term futures of each team.

While we got most things right in our 2014 report, there were still some areas of the landscape that were obscured by clouds as we looked down upon them. Perhaps in 2015, the view is getting clearer. Here’s a look at the emerging trends for SEC teams in 2015.

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The year in review in the SEC

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The year in review in the SEC

Listed here are all 14 SEC teams, split into divisions, with their current records in bold type and our preseason predictions in italic type. And for those who have forgotten TideFans.com’s preseason picks for college football’s inaugural final four playoff, our picks included Florida State in second, Alabama in third and Ohio State in fourth. The team we missed? Read on to find out.

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Previews 2014: Alabama Crimson Tide

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Previews 2014: Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama is one of the most interesting teams in college football in 2014, if for no other reason that a team one play away from a possible shot at a national championship, returning a nucleus of top talent and poised for yet another title run, is actually a team in transition. A new offensive coordinator is in town, the quarterback position is completely up in the air and changes are expected on the defensive side of the ball to correct a downward trend, particularly in front seven performance.

OFFENSE

Alabama is now the employer of one Lane Kiffin, former Tennessee head coach, NCAA scofflaw and general spoiled brat. At least that’s what he’s been in the eyes of Alabama fans until now. These days, he’s the hopeful savior of Alabama’s balanced, but ground-oriented offensive attack built around the idea that beating an opponent into a bloody coma is the pinnacle of college football strategy. But the ultimate determiner of style may be decided by which quarterback wins the starting job.

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

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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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Tennessee preview: Vols improving, but they’ll need help to beat Alabama

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Tennessee preview: Vols improving, but they’ll need help to beat Alabama

If you allow yourself to think of the Alabama-Texas A&M game as an anomaly – whether tied to the late fumble that caused a 14-point swing, or to a defense that began changing personnel afterward and finally found the right mix – then the rest of this season begins to make sense. Tennessee, coming off a late upset of South Carolina, becomes just another middle-of-the-road SEC team that upset a slightly-more-than-middle-of-the-road opponent. The LSU game isn’t such a shocker – TideFans.com saw the Tigers as a 9-3 team in the preseason – and Alabama starts to look like the juggernaut people were expecting back in August. But the small margin of victory in College Station clouds the view.

As 4-3 Tennessee comes to town, given that the Volunteers are no less than Alabama’s second-biggest rival, there will always be the tendency to see the Vols for more than they might be at that particular point in time. But if you consider Alabama’s resume to this point and take a 5-minute span of the Texas A&M game for what it could have been, it gets easier to see another solid Bama victory.

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Projected Depth Chart for Alabama vs. Tennessee

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Disclaimer: This is not an official University of Alabama document. The depth chart is taken from individual practice and game observations, and is color-coded. Seniors are in black, juniors previously on the team are in green, junior college transfers in their junior year are in purple, junior college transfers in their sophomore year are in […]

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 9

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 9

Well, that was ugly.

It’s been awhile since the Predictions Dept. had such a sorry week – 11 years, to be exact – as every SEC team other than Alabama suffered an upset loss (even though Missouri was ranked above Florida, most SEC observers thought the Gators were the better team).

Fortunately for Alabama fans, the Dept. hit the one game that truly mattered to them, as the Crimson Tide crushed Arkansas. As its reward, Alabama will get a Tennessee team that upset South Carolina last week. South Carolina, meanwhile, finds itself in the conference’s headline game this week, as a loss to Missouri would effectively end the chase for the SEC East.

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