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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 1

SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 1

The 2015 SEC season kicks off this week, and the TideFans.com Predictions Dept. is looking for a better effort this year. The 2014 season was mediocre by past standards, but the road doesn’t get any easier, given the depth the SEC has managed to build, particularly in its West division. The highlights of the first week, outside of Alabama’s opening tilt against Wisconsin, is probably either Auburn’s opener against Louisville, or Arizona State’s visit to College Station to face Texas A&M.

Previews 2015: LSU Tigers

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Previews 2015: LSU Tigers

Despite being a tough out against most any opponent, LSU also finds itself carrying the banner of the SEC’s most underachieving team in recent years. No team holds a significant talent advantage over the Tigers, but LSU has found itself unable to crack the upper echelon of the SEC West ever since Alabama defeated the Tigers in the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans. This year, LSU finds itself in familiar territory – a lot of talented pieces, but with questions at quarterback and about its offensive philosophy. And now, LSU is minus John Chavis, its longtime defensive guru.

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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: SEC Standings and Top 25

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2015 Previews: SEC Standings and Top 25

SEC & Top 25 Rankings for 2015

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2015 Previews: TideFans.com/NARCAS Preseason All-SEC Team

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2015 Previews: TideFans.com/NARCAS Preseason All-SEC Team

Preseason 2015 All-SEC team for each position on Offense and Defense

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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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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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LSU wrapup: Tide wasn’t great, but it was relentless

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LSU wrapup: Tide wasn’t great, but it was relentless

For a time during Alabama’s last-minute drive to tie the game and its lone series in overtime to win it, it seemed like every player who had ever been a part of a negative play in Alabama history was taking turns coming onto the field and redeeming himself.

Adam Griffith, who had missed a 27-yard kick early in the game, made another 27-yard kick to tie the game. Christion Jones, whose senior season has been one missed opportunity after another, made the catch of his life to set up Griffin’s game-tying kick. O.J. Howard set up Jones’ catch with several short catches of his own. And then Nick Perry, whose greatest sin as a safety in Alabama’s defense is that he’s not as good as Landon Collins, broke up a pass on the game’s penultimate play.

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LSU preview: Suddenly, Tigers are a major roadblock for Tide

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LSU preview: Suddenly, Tigers are a major roadblock for Tide

About a month ago, LSU was 4-2, coming off a 41-7 pasting at the hands of Auburn, and a lot of college football fans and pundits alike were writing the Bayou Bengals’ obituary.

But things change in an instant in this game. LSU’s alleged slide into mediocrity continued the following week with a 30-27 near-loss at Florida, a game many people believe the Gators would have won had Florida not suspended QB Treon Harris over off-the-field allegations that eventually proved false.

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From Polls to Playoff, Part 2: The System Breaks

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From Polls to Playoff, Part 2: The System Breaks

Beginning in 1936, the Associated Press ranked the nation’s top twenty football teams and awarded a national championship at the end of the regular season. Although bowl games (usually somewhere between five and seven) existed in these early days, the bowls were not taken into account when determining the national champion. There were several reasons the bowls were not included, including maintaining the amateur emphasis of college football, the fact the bowls were exhibitions, and the fact that most schools or conferences attempted to share the wealth by forbidding teams from attending the same bowl game in consecutive years.

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