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Previews 2015: Arkansas Razorbacks

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Previews 2015: Arkansas Razorbacks

Bret Bielema’s second-year success was as important for his future as it was Arkansas’. Bielema led Arkansas to a 6-6 record and then a dominating bowl win over old Southwest Conference rival Texas, giving some credence to the idea that old-school football might still have a place in the SEC. Arkansas will be boring, but probably effective. The offense is one of the most experienced in the SEC, but the defense, which overachieved in 2014, was gutted by the graduation cycle.

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Previews 2015: Alabama Crimson Tide

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Previews 2015: Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide is hoping to ride a defense that might have 11 upperclassman starters to a title in 2015, but doing so will require a fast rebuild on the offensive side of the ball, not to mention navigating a schedule that many deem to be the most difficult in the nation. Other challenges include a spotty situation at placekicker and the shuffling of coaching personnel, primarily on defense.

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2015 Previews: Rating the Units

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2015 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.

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2015 Previews: SEC Standings and Top 25

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2015 Previews: SEC Standings and Top 25

SEC & Top 25 Rankings for 2015

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2015 Previews: TideFans.com/NARCAS Preseason All-SEC Team

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2015 Previews: TideFans.com/NARCAS Preseason All-SEC Team

Preseason 2015 All-SEC team for each position on Offense and Defense

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

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

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 things right in our 2014 report, there were still some areas of the landscape that were obscured by clouds as we looked down upon them. Perhaps in 2015, the view is getting clearer. Here’s a look at the emerging trends for SEC teams in 2015.

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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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