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Previews 2016: Arkansas, Auburn and LSU

Auburn wrap-up: Bama starts with Kick Five, ends with ‘Tractor’ pull

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Auburn wrap-up: Bama starts with Kick Five, ends with ‘Tractor’ pull

By the time Derrick Henry strolled into the end zone to keep his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown alive, the 80th meeting of Alabama and Auburn was already decided.

Auburn knew it, Alabama knew it, the fans knew it, the rest of the college football world knew it. But Henry was going to leave one final image in the minds of those who will vote on the Heisman Trophy next month.

Henry broke several school and Alabama-Auburn game records Saturday evening, the most impressive being a record of endurance: Henry carried 46 times for 271 yards and a touchdown. Some teams don’t get 46 snaps in a game.

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Auburn preview: Tide tries to avoid trap at Jordan-Hare

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Auburn preview: Tide tries to avoid trap at Jordan-Hare

Alabama’s path to college football’s Final Four is clear. But even the clearest of paths can encounter an obstruction during a trip to Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

For all the talk about throwing out record books, the better team usually wins this game. Notable exceptions have been in 2013 (Kick Six) and 1984 (Wrong Way Bo). That’s the thing about this rivalry: Games are named after their defining plays, and are replayed for decades to come as if they just happened last week.

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Previews 2015: Auburn Tigers

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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.

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Previews 2014: Auburn Tigers

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Previews 2014: Auburn Tigers

Auburn exceeded expectations like no other team in 2013, and now the question is whether the Tigers can be effective when they’re not playing the underdog role. Despite recent injuries on the offensive line, this is a dangerous offensive team that has the potential to show more balance in 2014. But a defense that is still struggling to attain effectiveness could be Auburn’s undoing.

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Replacement for Nussmeier could be Saban’s biggest hire ever

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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

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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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Auburn preview: Alabama finds unexpected roadblock on way to another title

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Auburn preview: Alabama finds unexpected roadblock on way to another title

There’s really no other way to say it – Alabama didn’t see this coming.

Few people thought Auburn would be as bad as it was in 2012, but the number of people who expected the Tigers to be 10-1 and just on the outside of a BCS Championship Game matchup probably wouldn’t be enough to fill a taxicab. And that’s including Lee County residents.

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2013 Fall Previews: Auburn Tigers

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2013 Fall Previews: Auburn Tigers

After a one-year experiment with a pro-style attack that ultimately cost Gene Chizik his job, Auburn is back to the land of the no-huddle spread offense under Gus Malzahn, who returns to Auburn after a year at Arkansas State. The Tigers hope to return to the glory days of 2010, but to do so, they’ll have to do it without a quarterback anywhere near the level of Cam Newton, not to mention a defense that has been in a rut for years and a general lack of playmakers on offense.

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Auburn, Arkansas taking divergent paths in new SEC

Sources tell TideFans.com that Auburn first offered the job to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who gave it strong consideration before eventually turning the job down. Auburn is also believed to have gauged interest from Jimbo Fisher, Gary Patterson and at least one other major college coach, but could not find a willing dance partner. Bob Petrino was never seriously considered by the people charged with actually making the decision. Enter Gus Malzahn.

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