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2014 Previews: Rating the Units

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).

Arkansas preview: Razorbacks in transition, Alabama looking for domination

For Alabama fans who appreciate nostalgia, they’ll get plenty of it when Arkansas comes to town this week.

Why? Because they’ll swear Danny Ford was back in Fayetteville.

Bret Bielema took over the Arkansas program this spring after John L. Smith was mercifully let go after a season that could justifiably be called the most disappointing – relative to expectations – in the history of Arkansas football. The Razorbacks were coming off a string of high-scoring seasons under Bob Petrino, and the program was threatening to punch into the elite of the SEC West.

And then Bob Petrino got in a motorcycle accident, got caught lying about an affair and was relieved of his duties as the Razorback head coach. The coach of the Hogs had been thrown off his Hog and was found to have been acting like a pig.

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Ole Miss wrap-up: Bama’s win was no surprise, but defensive dominance was

If Ole Miss players were correct in the assertion that the Rebel wide receivers were better than the receivers of Texas A&M, then Eddie Jackson is the greatest defensive back in the history of college football.

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 4

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 4

The Predictions Dept. started to shake off the rust in Week 3, missing only the Ole Miss-Texas game. While national pundits on ESPN ponder the future of Texas head coach Mack Brown, TideFans.com turns its attention back to the SEC. This week, while Alabama gets a breather of sorts, SEC fans will largely get a breather as well, as the top games are Auburn-LSU and Tennessee-Florida, simply due to the history of the two series.

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 2

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SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 2

The Predictions Dept. got off to a solid, if unspectacular start to the 2013 season with an 11-2 record thanks to overconfidence in Georgia and Kentucky. This week, Alabama is idle, but there are several SEC games worth watching, including Georgia and South Carolina battling for the SEC East and Florida facing old in-state foe Miami.

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2013 Fall Previews: Florida Gators

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2013 Fall Previews: Florida Gators

The Gators did a good job of sneaking up on the rest of the SEC in 2012. They’ll sneak up on no one this season. Florida successfully made the transition back to a pro-style team from the spread-option attack of Urban Meyer’s staff, in part by getting back to tough, fundamental football. The 2013 Florida team will have to rebuild its defense and find playmakers on offense now that several important, long-time veterans have moved on to the NFL. Florida will need to lean on its defense, especially early in the year.

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2013 Fall Previews: Mississippi State Bulldogs

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2013 Fall Previews: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Despite being a part of Southern football for decades and winning a SEC championship in the 1940s, Mississippi State’s program arguably reached its zenith over the past few seasons of Dan Mullen’s tenure. The Bulldogs went from being cannon fodder to a respectable program that could beat teams of better talent, if those opponents lacked discipline. But is it time for a correction? Mississippi State is largely rebuilding its defense in 2013, and SEC defensive coordinators seem to have caught up to the Bulldogs’ offensive schemes. A couple of ho-hum recruiting classes adds to the concern.

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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: Arkansas Razorbacks

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2013 Fall Previews: Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas fans would no doubt like to surgically excise any memory of the 2012 debacle from their brains. The season started with high hopes, then saw Bob Petrino fired as head coach after lying about an affair, and finished with John L. Smith’s complete self-destruction as (what turned out to be interim) head coach. Arkansas looked poorly prepared, completely unmotivated and athletically out-classed. Now it’s up to former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema to return some semblance of competency to Fayetteville.

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Rating the Units

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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.

Continue reading …
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