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From Polls to Playoff, Part 2: The System Breaks

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.

Previews 2014: LSU Tigers

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Previews 2014: LSU Tigers

For LSU to remain at or near the top of the SEC heap, some things will have to improve from where the Tigers left off in 2013. LSU has issues at quarterback, linebacker and along the defensive line. But the Tigers seem to do some of their best work when people underestimate them and their too-weird-for-words coach Les Miles.

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2014 Previews: Who’s up, who’s down heading into 2014

For the past 16 years, TideFans.com has broken out its crystal ball to select who we thought would be likely to win such awards as SEC Coach of the Year, or which coach would find themselves on the hotseat.

Change is needed from time to time, and this article – we’ll call it our 2014 Emerging Trends analysis – will serve to replace the venerable crystal ball, which has been dropped, cracked and cloudied too many times to be useful anymore.

Instead, each SEC team will get its time under the microscope, and we’ll attempt to offer some insight behind the numbers that will come in future articles as we head towards the start of the regular season.

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LSU wrap-up: Tide makes the most of halftime adjustments to shut down LSU

Whether coaches like to admit it or not, some games are “circled” games.

Given that it’s next to impossible to be at an emotional high 12 or 13 times a season, the typical college football team will go through ebbs and peaks of emotion. But for some games, coaches make sure the emotional preparation reaches a zenith.

For Alabama in 2013, those games have included the opener over Virginia Tech, a road trip to Texas A&M and will include the season finisher against Auburn. But the biggest of the big to this point, without a doubt, was the annual showdown against LSU.

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LSU preview: Tigers looking to play the spoiler role in T-Town

For the entirety of Nick Saban’s tenure as Alabama head coach, the Alabama-LSU game has held special meaning, and not just because Saban used to coach in Baton Rouge.

Almost every year the two teams have met, something important has been on the line for both teams, usually involving the SEC West lead or even a top-5 ranking. But this year is a bit different. While Alabama comes into the game ranked No. 1 in the country and with much still to play for, LSU is all but out of both the national title race and the race for an SEC championship.

And it wasn’t completely unexpected. LSU suffered substantial losses on the defensive side of the ball after the 2012 season concluded, and this is not the throat-choking juggernaut of a team that is has been in previous seasons. LSU is a rather average 50th in rushing defense, and the secondary, while still very good, isn’t filled with the same lockdown-style athletes as opponents are accustomed to facing. But offensively, this team has gone from being strong to very dangerous, thanks to an upgrade at the offensive coordinator position.

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 7

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 7

Hugh Freeze, in addition to trying to rewrite the way offense is played in the SEC, is apparently trying to rewrite the punt. Freeze’s brain-lock – and a healthy dose of plain, old overrated-ness – conspired to give the Predictions Dept. its first loss in three weeks. This week’s slate of games is headlined by Florida visiting LSU, which will end one team’s hopes of reaching Atlanta, while Ole Miss’ season looks ready to go from mediocre to much worse as the Rebels host Texas A&M.

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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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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 1

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 1

Welcome back to our weekly SEC previews, our chance to take a humorous (but usually thoughtful) look at what’s going on around the SEC. Last year was a decent showing for the Predictions Dept., not the best we’ve ever done but certainly not the worst, either. We look forward to bringing you our insights and lighthearted humor again in 2013.

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Rating the Units

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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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TideFans.com/NARCAS SEC predictions and national top 25

Picks for the SEC and the top 25 nationally.

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