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Arkansas wrap-up: Composure in short supply as Bama piles up the points

Arkansas wrap-up: Composure in short supply as Bama piles up the points

Alabama’s offense did a solid job against Arkansas, but not a superlative one. Any turnover total greater than zero is too many, and Alabama recorded three of them. But true freshman QB Jalen Hurts continued his ascension to stardom, and the Crimson Tide put together a solid running game even without Joshua Jacobs, who suffered some kind of hand or elbow injury early in the first quarter.

But defensively, Alabama lost its composure, and as a result, Arkansas QB Austin Allen played pitch-and-catch with his receivers despite spending as much time picking himself off the ground as he did actually throwing the football.

Previews 2016: Arkansas, Auburn and LSU

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Previews 2016: Arkansas, Auburn and LSU

Arkansas has become a more dangerous team under Bret Bielema’s watch…Auburn may be winding down the Gus Malzahn era…This could be Miles’ swan song…

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Rating the 2016 SEC recruiting classes

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Rating the 2016 SEC recruiting classes

The addition of Jamar King at the last moment brought Alabama up to a rating of “Excellent” in the “Needs Filled” category; otherwise, it would have been hard to rank the Crimson Tide No. 1 in the country overall over Florida State. Alabama, over the past few years, has finished with at least one position group’s worth of signees somewhere to be called best-in-class; in 2016, Alabama did it for at least one position group and maybe as many as three. Alabama got the nation’s best linebacker haul, picking up three 10.0-rated prospects on Signing Day: Ben Davis, Lyndell Wilson and Terrell Hall. But Alabama also was in the running for best OL class, headed by Jonah Williams

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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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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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Arkansas recap: Hogs too limited to capitalize on Bama mistakes

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Arkansas recap: Hogs too limited to capitalize on Bama mistakes

Alabama football games are rarely defined by one quarter, but the Crimson Tide’s 27-14 win over Arkansas was almost entirely about the fourth quarter plus 1:39 of the third.

And it never should have come to that.

The Crimson Tide spun wheels for most of Saturday’s game against Arkansas, victimized by spotty offensive line play, inconsistent quarterback play and playcalling that often veered into the realm of the obtuse. But the best defensive line in college football – perhaps the best defensive front seven – and a secondary that continues to improve every week kept Arkansas from really doing anything about it.

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Wisconsin recap: Typical Bama opener offers promise, shows need for improvement

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Wisconsin recap: Typical Bama opener offers promise, shows need for improvement

Alabama’s offense, retooled in the wake of Blake Sims’ departure, showed enough effectiveness to allay fears about the quarterback position. The defense stuffed the run, and the defensive line, as expected, dominated the line of scrimmage.

But Alabama didn’t show itself to be a flawless team. The pass defense was sketchy all night, particularly across the middle, and Alabama’s kicking game once again disappointed.

In other words, Nick Saban has his team right where he wants them.

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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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MSU wrap-up: Tide coming together at the right time

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MSU wrap-up: Tide coming together at the right time

Given that top-ranked Mississippi State was an underdog in Saturday’s game, it would be incorrect to call this Alabama win an upset.

It would, however, be appropriate for college football’s new Playoff Committee to finally acknowledge what the oddsmakers were trying to tell them beforehand: Alabama is probably the best, most complete team in college football right now.

Oregon will probably claim its high-flying offense makes it the most dangerous; Florida State can point to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and its undefeated record and claim it’s the best team in the land. But Alabama is beginning to win games with defense, sort of an anachronism in today’s college football world, and as de rigueur as high-powered offenses are at the moment, a strong defense beats a strong offense most of time, as much as that might chafe those in an around the sport that have become addicted to points.

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Previews 2014: Alabama Crimson Tide

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Previews 2014: Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama is one of the most interesting teams in college football in 2014, if for no other reason that a team one play away from a possible shot at a national championship, returning a nucleus of top talent and poised for yet another title run, is actually a team in transition. A new offensive coordinator is in town, the quarterback position is completely up in the air and changes are expected on the defensive side of the ball to correct a downward trend, particularly in front seven performance.

OFFENSE

Alabama is now the employer of one Lane Kiffin, former Tennessee head coach, NCAA scofflaw and general spoiled brat. At least that’s what he’s been in the eyes of Alabama fans until now. These days, he’s the hopeful savior of Alabama’s balanced, but ground-oriented offensive attack built around the idea that beating an opponent into a bloody coma is the pinnacle of college football strategy. But the ultimate determiner of style may be decided by which quarterback wins the starting job.

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