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2015 Previews: Rating the Units

  By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief 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 […]

2015 Previews: Who’s up, who’s down heading into 2015

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By Jess Nicholas TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief 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 […]

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The year in review in the SEC

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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.

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Florida preview: Struggles with Kentucky belie Gators’ true talents

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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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USM wrap-up: Is Tide’s defense going back to the future?

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USM wrap-up: Is Tide’s defense going back to the future?

The ever-lovable Joe Kines brought to Alabama a defensive strategy based around a concept of bending, but not breaking. And depending on the Alabama fan one interviews today, that description either encourages praise, or the gritting of teeth.

Kines’ strategy played out much differently than Nick Saban’s ever has, and had a different attitude. Kines believed in pushing plays toward the sidelines and using superior speed to make the play. Offenses, Kines reasoned, would eventually make a mistake and kill their own drives so long as Alabama didn’t give up a big play along the way. He was playing the percentages.

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WVU wrap-up: Holes are easy to find in 2014 Tide

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WVU wrap-up: Holes are easy to find in 2014 Tide

Nick Saban is known for making very salient, wise and perceptive statements, which is why many observers claim he would be just as at home running a multi-billion-dollar company as he would a football team.

Saban may have made his most apt comment yet in the postgame interview after the Crimson Tide defeated West Virginia 33-23: “It is what it is, and we are what we are.”

Perfectly stated.

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2014 Previews: South Carolina Gamecocks

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2014 Previews: South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina has been knocking on the door of national relevance for years, but Steve Spurrier hasn’t been quite able to get over the last couple of hurdles. Despite a growing talent base in the state, there has been too much competition for the Gamecocks to effectively lock down their backyard and challenge the SEC’s best teams. Time is running out for Spurrier, and this team, despite having plenty of talent, looks again to be just a bit short of matching up to Alabama or LSU.

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2014 Previews: Kentucky Wildcats

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2014 Previews: Kentucky Wildcats

Mark Stoops’ first year in Lexington did not go smoothly. The decision to force the Wildcats into a no-huddle offense proved to be a bad move, and the defense couldn’t dig Stoops out of his miscalculation. Fortunately, Stoops has put the Wildcats on a better track recruiting-wise, but he’s still having to populate several positions that went unattended under Joker Phillips’ regime.

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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

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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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