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The year in review in the SEC

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.

SECCG wrap-up: Tigers can’t play spoiler to Bama’s storybook run

This may not be the most dominating Alabama team in the school’s long, multi-championship history. But it is one of the most likable.

Every time Nick Saban talks about the 2014 edition of the Crimson Tide, his genuine affection for the team comes flooding out. Unlike the 2013 team, which suffered from leadership-related short circuits on both sides of the ball, the 2014 Alabama team is a strange combination of lunchpail mentality with the quick-strike ability of a coiled rattlesnake. The offense is led by the country’s unlikeliest elite quarterback, who is built like a sawed-off fireplug, runs like a whippet and has an uncanny knack for rising to the occasion.

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MSU wrap-up: Tide coming together at the right time

Given that top-ranked Mississippi State was an underdog in Saturday’s game, it would be incorrect to call this Alabama win an upset.

It would, however, be appropriate for college football’s new Playoff Committee to finally acknowledge what the oddsmakers were trying to tell them beforehand: Alabama is probably the best, most complete team in college football right now.

Oregon will probably claim its high-flying offense makes it the most dangerous; Florida State can point to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and its undefeated record and claim it’s the best team in the land. But Alabama is beginning to win games with defense, sort of an anachronism in today’s college football world, and as de rigueur as high-powered offenses are at the moment, a strong defense beats a strong offense most of time, as much as that might chafe those in an around the sport that have become addicted to points.

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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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Tennessee wrap-up: Sims’ statement drive ices game for Crimson Tide

While Ole Miss was blinking in the spotlight – a function of not having been in the spotlight in 40-plus years – Alabama proved against Tennessee that the bigger the moment gets, the bigger the Crimson Tide usually plays.

It won’t go down as the signature win of the season – Alabama will have to work hard to top the 59-0 pasting of Texas A&M last week, although LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn remain on the schedule – but Blake Sims probably had the signature drive. Up 27-17 in the third quarter and badly needing a score to put Alabama three scores ahead again, Sims led Alabama to four third-down conversions before Derrick Henry polished off the Volunteers with a long touchdown run.

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Texas A&M wrap-up: Seriously, where did this come from?

Saturday’s win over Texas A&M didn’t just set an Alabama record for most points scored in a quarter (35, in the second frame). It also set a TideFans.com record for most incorrect game preview of all time.

That second record was set both in the objective realm and the subjective realm. Objectively, the pregame pick of Texas A&M 27-24 was off by a total of 62 points (Alabama was underscored by 35; A&M was overscored by 27). Subjectively, the game played out almost precisely the opposite of the way it was foreseen.

And that’s the reason that suddenly, Alabama can get excited about its season once again – provided it can harness whatever fount of emotion it tapped into against the Aggies.

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

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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.

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Arkansas Wrap-Up: Nice to get a win, but Bama has issues

It is the height of irony that the principal reason for Alabama scoring more points than Arkansas Saturday came as a result of a special teams play on the part of the Crimson Tide.

A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen have been crushing opponents’ field goal and extra-point formations all season long. And, for the second consecutive week, one of those plays gave Alabama the opportunity to win.

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Ole Miss wrapup: If Alabama wants to be the best, it must play that way

There is little mystery as to why Alabama finds itself tonight a one-loss football team: It’s not playing well enough to be better than that.

Even if there was no controversy over the Tide’s second-quarter strip-and-score touchdown by Cyrus Jones, Alabama was having problems in this game and the future schedule will present many similar problems unless Alabama figures out how to play like their National Signing Day pedigrees suggest it can be done.

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Ole Miss preview: Bama will find out whether Rebels are for real

A quick glance at defensive statistics this season would seem to suggest that no, Ole Miss’ 2013 defensive improvement was not a mirage. The Rebels have put up impressive numbers through the first third of the 2014 season, and the confidence gained from their performance have given Ole Miss’ players a great deal of confidence heading into this game.

For Alabama, though, it’s just another verse to a familiar song, one sung by Ole Miss players and fans insistent that the current season will be different from those of the last 50 years. And while Ole Miss has a stout defense in 2014, to be sure, the Rebels’ offensive capabilities – particularly in the running game – simply haven’t been good enough to merit discussion of the Rebels-as-contenders subject.

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