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Texas A&M preview: Vegas may have this one wrong

Texas A&M preview: Vegas may have this one wrong

TideFans.com doesn’t often make reference to betting lines, as that’s not our thing. But when Alabama opened up as roughly a two-touchdown favorite over Texas A&M, it got everyone’s attention in the sports media world.

Alabama, a team that had just scraped to a 14-13 victory over Arkansas, the SEC West’s presumptive worst team, was being made a two-touchdown favorite over a team that beat Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2012, carried the Crimson Tide to the wire in College Station in 2013, and has many of the same pieces returning from those teams in 2014. On the face, it doesn’t make sense.

USM preview: Woeful Golden Eagles can’t recapture past magic

There was a time when Southern Miss was a better yearly opponent for Alabama than some SEC teams.

A couple of Alabama-Southern Miss games are noteworthy, for all the wrong reasons. There was the Reggie Collier-led upset of one of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s last Alabama teams. And then there was the 21-0 loss to USM in 2000 that should have been the impetus for firing Mike DuBose.

This Southern Miss team, though, is nothing like those teams.

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2014 Previews: Missouri Tigers

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2014 Previews: Missouri Tigers

Missouri was by far the biggest overachiever in the SEC in 2013, when good quarterback play, a solid running game and the emergence of three receivers helped the Tigers win the SEC East and likely save Gary Pinkel’s job in the process. But 2014 will bring change – the quarterback, running back and all three of the team’s top wide receivers are gone, and Missouri is beginning to deal with talent deficiencies on defense.

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Previews 2014: Texas A&M Aggies

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Previews 2014: Texas A&M Aggies

Now than Johnny Manziel has left for the NFL, the rest of the SEC will finally get a look at how well A&M performs without a freak on the team. The Aggies ran up impressive offensive numbers with Manziel triggering the attack, but didn’t stop anyone on defense – a situation that must change, or Texas A&M won’t ever be a consistent contender in the SEC, which prioritizes stopping the ball over doing something dynamic with it. Losing six starters and virtually every key playmaker from the 2013 team won’t help.

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Ole Miss wrap-up: Bama’s win was no surprise, but defensive dominance was

If Ole Miss players were correct in the assertion that the Rebel wide receivers were better than the receivers of Texas A&M, then Eddie Jackson is the greatest defensive back in the history of college football.

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Ole Miss preview: Rebels hoping to catch Alabama in a down cycle

Reports out of Oxford this week tell the tale of Ole Miss players taking to Twitter to brag about a coming upset, and being a bit loose-lipped in media interviews about their opinions of the 2013 Alabama team, particularly the Crimson Tide’s pass defense.

It doesn’t seem to matter than Alabama’s pass defense has given up natch to any quarterback not nicknamed Johnny Football, or that this is a team coming off consecutive national titles and neither one were by accident. Whatever Ole Miss saw in the Texas A&M tape has certainly gotten the Rebels into a lather, and it will be up to Alabama to do something about it Saturday night. Ole Miss is probably the second-toughest game left on the Tide schedule outside of LSU.

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 4

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 4

The Predictions Dept. started to shake off the rust in Week 3, missing only the Ole Miss-Texas game. While national pundits on ESPN ponder the future of Texas head coach Mack Brown, TideFans.com turns its attention back to the SEC. This week, while Alabama gets a breather of sorts, SEC fans will largely get a breather as well, as the top games are Auburn-LSU and Tennessee-Florida, simply due to the history of the two series.

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Texas A&M wrap-up: Alabama’s win makes no sense, from any angle

Alabama brought the country’s best pass efficiency defense into College Station. Although Alabama’s ranking was based on just one game, Alabama has continuously put out top-10 efficiency defenses under Nick Saban. A strong Alabama pass defense is about as much of a surprise as is the revelation that the ocean is damp.

Manziel absolutely carved it up. Senior cornerback John Fulton, who almost singlehandedly shut down the Aggies’ outside passing game in the second half of the 2012 contest, was made to look like a freshman walk-on. Cyrus Jones gave it a valiant effort, but in the end found himself the victim of a 95-yard touchdown pass, among others. Manziel didn’t have quite the success he had in 2012 scrambling with the ball, but he had more than enough to break almost every meaningful defensive record contained in the Alabama media guide. Fortunately for Alabama, Texas A&M’s defense was as bad as its offense was good. Alabama gave up more yards than it ever had in the past, and still won. The Crimson Tide has never given up 42 points and won a game, ever. You have to go back to the Archie Manning days at Ole Miss to find numbers like these in a game Alabama still won. It makes no sense whatsoever that Alabama could hold on to win this game — much less be driving for a 21-point lead before T.J. Yeldon’s costly fumble — no matter how good Manziel is.

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Texas A&M preview: Alabama must solve the Johnny Football riddle

For once, Alabama seemed to have been graced with a manageable schedule. After years of the Crimson Tide suffering through Roy Kramer-era schedules rife with curious off-week placement, unbalanced off-week rotations with opponents and frequent stacking of contender-quality opposition, the 2013 Tide schedule must have looked like a vacation at first glance.

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As kickoff nears, we’re still looking for a few things

For a college football fan, each week can bring with it incredible excitement, or anxiety. But there are two weeks more important than the rest – the last, and the first. The last week determines the national champion, which is what all 120-some-odd schools are (or at least, should be) gunning for. The first week is when everyone can finally put away the distractions of the off season, which are typically replete with arrests, suspensions and rumors, and start actually focusing on the games themselves.With kickoff just a day away, let’s get a final list together of the things we’re looking forward to seeing, or at least seeing the last of, as the off season winds down.

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