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

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.

Florida preview: Struggles with Kentucky belie Gators’ true talents

As the final few plays in Florida’s overtime win over Kentucky went by the boards, there were two schools of thought concerning the Gators. The first was that Will Muschamp needed to visit the nearest Laser Copy and start getting resumes ready; the second was that this Gators team, despite its struggles against Kentucky, still has enough talent to win any game on its schedule.

And, now that Florida refused to fold against Kentucky, you can add the adjective “resilient” to the mix.

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Previews 2014: Mississippi State Bulldogs

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Previews 2014: Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have been mentioned as potential darkhorse contenders seemingly every year since Dan Mullen took over the team five years ago – but this time, the hype might be for real. The Bulldogs have the SEC’s most dynamic young quarterback, a veteran roster and a stout defense. Those factors are usually a good combination for teams looking to break into the upper echelon of an SEC division.

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Previews 2014: Ole Miss Rebels

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Previews 2014: Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss has become the media darling team of the SEC West, as some media members searched for any reason they could find not to pick either Alabama, LSU or Auburn to win the division. The Rebels make some sense as a potential party-crasher, thanks to a veteran starting quarterback, some star power scattered here and there on the roster, improving depth and a defense that got a lot saltier in Hugh Freeze’s second season. But the lack of overall depth and concern over the offensive line could doom Ole Miss’ chances out of the gate.

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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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Previews 2014: Arkansas Razorbacks

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Previews 2014: Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas runs a smash-mouth, I-formation attack that puts a premium on running the football. It’s old-school, and definitely against the grain as far as trends go, but a pro-style attack only really works when a team has the talent to execute. Arkansas doesn’t. The Razorbacks are bereft of a competent passing game, and Bielema’s staff looked more than a little overwhelmed during its first season in the SEC.

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2014 Previews: Rating the Units

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2014 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.

Via a process that first went to press nine years ago, TideFans/NARCAS expanded its rating system beyond the simple six-class system employed in the past. In all 14 SEC previews, you’ll notice eight unit divisions – quarterbacks (QB), running backs (RB), wide receivers and tight ends (WR), offensive line (OL), defensive line (DL), linebackers (LB), defensive backs (DB) and kickers, punters, return men and coverage units (ST, for special teams).

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Texas, Auburn find they’re still living in an Alabama world

Florida State closed out the BCS era Monday night with a 34-31 victory over Auburn, claiming the last crystal trophy that will be handed out under the current postseason rules.

But even though the Seminoles have 365 days to enjoy their place on the college football throne, one of the first questions raised on ESPN’s postgame show was whether Alabama had passed the mantle of most-targeted program over to FSU permanently.

ESPN contributor Paul Finebaum – who has never met a football topic he wouldn’t use to troll Alabama fans – answered with a firm “yes,” surprising exactly no one. If only that were true.

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2013 Fall Previews: Ole Miss Rebels

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2013 Fall Previews: Ole Miss Rebels

Predicted to struggle in Hugh Freeze’s first season, Ole Miss instead surprised many by going 6-6 in the regular season and then knocking off Pitt decisively in the BBVA Compass Bowl to finish with a winning record. Ole Miss will sneak up on no one this year, particularly in light of a recruiting class that drew a mixture of disbelief and scrutiny from anyone who wasn’t a diehard Rebel fan. Ole Miss gets most of its offense back, but there are questions on defense and possibly in the kicking game.

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2013 Fall Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

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2013 Fall Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama finds itself in the unique and enviable position of two-time defending national champion as the 2013 season starts. While almost every team must replace departed players from one year to the next, the 2013 edition of the Alabama Crimson Tide retains a veteran presence throughout its roster, as well as returning its star quarterback and most of its playmakers on both sides of the ball.

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