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Clemson preview: Quick start a must as Bama tries to tame emotional Tigers

Clemson preview: Quick start a must as Bama tries to tame emotional Tigers

The Alabama Crimson Tide is set to play for a national title for the fourth time in the last seven years.

Although that has little to do with the current matchup, such a feat demands to be paid attention. It has been 30 years almost since the Miami Hurricanes appeared ready to run off a similar streak of domination. Nebraska had a brief spike of similar play in the 1990s. But surely, all thought, the days of a handful of teams laying waste to the rest of the competition had come and gone.

Instead, Nick Saban returned to college football after a brief stint in the NFL, and everything old is new again – namely, an Alabama program that once dominated college football in the 1960s and 1970s is again making everyone else hate the program passionately – out of envy.

MSU preview: Bama, Spartans both looking to bury old demons

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MSU preview: Bama, Spartans both looking to bury old demons

For this year’s playoff opener, Alabama has drawn Michigan State, coached by former Nick Saban cohort Mark Dantonio. The last time Alabama saw Michigan State, the Crimson Tide put a shellacking on the Spartans, 49-7, in what was essentially a meaningless Citrus Bowl. The game came at the end of the 2010 season, arguably the most frustrating season in Alabama history, thanks to the Cam Newton-led Auburn Tigers winning that school’s second national championship over Oregon.

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SECCG Preview: Gators have the defense, but offense is offensive

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SECCG Preview: Gators have the defense, but offense is offensive

When Will Grier failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs after Florida’s sixth game of the season, the Gators were forced to turn to former starter Treon Harris.

Few people could have expected the results.

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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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MSU Preview: Bulldogs again make Bama’s post-LSU life uncomfortable

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MSU Preview: Bulldogs again make Bama’s post-LSU life uncomfortable

Alabama has made an art form lately out of losing a regular-season game, then finding some way to get back into the national title discussion. But the one thing Alabama has failed to do on several occasions over the past few years is shut down a hot quarterback – particularly one that is mobile and who can improvise on the fly.

Mississippi State’s Prescott is perhaps at the top of the list of quarterbacks who can do such. He has amassed 2,351 yards passing and has thrown 18 touchdowns to only 1 interception. He is the team’s leading rusher, gaining almost twice as many yards as the guy in second place, who happens to start at tailback. He has leadership skills that are simply overflowing. And he led a furious near-comeback against Alabama last year in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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LSU Preview: Battle of the beasts could decide Bama’s playoff fate

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By Jess Nicholas TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief Nov. 3, 2015 There are two steps to the strategy to get Alabama back into the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Step one: Ole Miss must lose. Step two: Alabama must stop Leonard Fournette. The first is out of Alabama’s hands altogether. Arkansas gets a chance to save Alabama’s bacon […]

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Tennessee wrap-up: Bama squeezes Big Orange hearts with late win

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Tennessee wrap-up: Bama squeezes Big Orange hearts with late win

A game like this was almost expected, the result of Alabama being faced, week after week, with a gauntlet of rested teams, thanks to the SEC office’s inability (or lack of desire) to address unfair scheduling practices.

And in this case, the Crimson Tide nearly paid the price for the circumstances outside its control.

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Tennessee preview: Vols could be a tougher foe than Bama expects

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Tennessee preview: Vols could be a tougher foe than Bama expects

Every season, one or two teams seem to rise above their typical watermarks and give Alabama a tougher game than it would otherwise appear on paper.

Alabama is hoping Ole Miss filled the role in Week 3, but in 2009, that team was Tennessee, then led by a young head coach named Lane Kiffin. It took two blocked field goals by DT Terrence Cody, the second coming as time ran out, for Alabama to hold onto the win and eventually play for a national championship.

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Texas A&M wrap-up: Bama’s defense lowers the boom on Aggies

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Texas A&M wrap-up: Bama’s defense lowers the boom on Aggies

If Alabama is going to make a run at a national championship, one of the things that must happen for the Crimson Tide has undeniably begun to happen the last two or three weeks: The defense is getting incrementally better every game.

Alabama traded the I-formation offenses of Georgia and Arkansas for Texas A&M’s high-flying spread attack Saturday, and held it to 16 points of production. The Aggie rushing attack – which wasn’t spectacular by any means coming in but was nonetheless respectable – was completely shut down. Alabama’s defensive line lived in the Aggie backfield, quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray were mercilessly harassed, and Alabama’s secondary put on a performance for the ages.

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Texas A&M preview: Improving defense, explosive offense gives Aggies a chance

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Texas A&M preview: Improving defense, explosive offense gives Aggies a chance

Over its first few seasons after joining the SEC, Texas A&M felt like a jigsaw puzzle missing a couple of pieces.

The Aggies found those missing pieces after they hired John Chavis, the former Tennessee and LSU defensive coordinator, to coach them at the same position. Chavis immediately brought a toughness to the job that the Aggies had been lacking. Although Texas A&M is far from a defensive powerhouse in 2015, the improvement is noticeable, and more is expected in the future.

Alabama enters this game coming off its second physical test in a row. Alabama has beaten Georgia and Arkansas in successive weeks, and now must face the high-powered spread attack brought by Texas A&M. With rival Tennessee coming to Tuscaloosa the week after this game, many Alabama fans are worried that this contest has all the makings of a textbook trap game and upset.

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