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SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 14 (and a look at the CFP)

SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 14 (and a look at the CFP)

The Predictions Dept. got out of Rivalry Week with a 6-3 record, which is not a terrible mark overall. Unfortunately, one of those three losses was the pick of the Alabama-Auburn game, which has now forced Alabama to enlist the help of TCU or Ohio State to reach the College Football Playoff. Otherwise, it appears Alabama will be headed for an Orange Bowl matchup in a game few Bama fans will likely choose to attend.

Auburn preview: Alabama gets its toughest test where it least wants to see it

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Auburn preview: Alabama gets its toughest test where it least wants to see it

If there has been one thing regarding SEC football that seems out of place in this era of Nick Saban’s domination at Alabama, it’s been that Auburn has not only survived in Alabama’s shadow, but thrived.

Auburn has won a national title (2010), played for it a second time (2013), and if Auburn beats Alabama this week and Georgia a second time in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers seem all but assured of representing the SEC as a two-loss hopeful in this year’s final four.

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Previews 2017: Arkansas, Auburn and LSU

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Previews 2017: Arkansas, Auburn and LSU

Arkansas coach Brett Bielema’s job is in some degree of peril at the moment, and this is not the time to be undergoing another rebuilding effort… Auburn will ride one of the best defenses in the nation as far as the ride will go…LSU’s Ed Orgeron can recruit better than any SEC coach not named Nick Saban, so if he can hang on a couple of years until he gets some key pieces, this might actually work out.

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Is the SEC’s future too tied to a single ship?

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Is the SEC’s future too tied to a single ship?

Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s already undisputed place atop the SEC landscape has only grown in altitude. Saban, who had won a national title at LSU prior to taking the Alabama job, has won four more national titles since 2007. Had Alabama knocked off Clemson in January, Saban would have tied Paul “Bear” Bryant for total number of titles, but would have done it at a substantially quicker pace. Many already believe Saban has supplanted Bryant as the best college coach that ever was; a win over Clemson would have galvanized those opinions.

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Auburn wrap-up: 2016 becomes “Kick Five” game as AU is locked out of the end zone

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Auburn wrap-up: 2016 becomes “Kick Five” game as AU is locked out of the end zone

Alabama made a barely competitive game close for a half thanks to its own mistakes, which included two interceptions and a rare horrid punt from J.K. Scott that put Auburn in business just outside the red zone. The halftime score of 13-9 served as an effective wake-up call for an Alabama team that mishandled the ball on six other first-half plays – in addition to the two interceptions – and Alabama didn’t wait long to put its foot down on the gas pedal in the second half.

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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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Auburn wrap-up: Bama starts with Kick Five, ends with ‘Tractor’ pull

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Auburn wrap-up: Bama starts with Kick Five, ends with ‘Tractor’ pull

By the time Derrick Henry strolled into the end zone to keep his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown alive, the 80th meeting of Alabama and Auburn was already decided.

Auburn knew it, Alabama knew it, the fans knew it, the rest of the college football world knew it. But Henry was going to leave one final image in the minds of those who will vote on the Heisman Trophy next month.

Henry broke several school and Alabama-Auburn game records Saturday evening, the most impressive being a record of endurance: Henry carried 46 times for 271 yards and a touchdown. Some teams don’t get 46 snaps in a game.

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Auburn preview: Tide tries to avoid trap at Jordan-Hare

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Auburn preview: Tide tries to avoid trap at Jordan-Hare

Alabama’s path to college football’s Final Four is clear. But even the clearest of paths can encounter an obstruction during a trip to Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

For all the talk about throwing out record books, the better team usually wins this game. Notable exceptions have been in 2013 (Kick Six) and 1984 (Wrong Way Bo). That’s the thing about this rivalry: Games are named after their defining plays, and are replayed for decades to come as if they just happened last week.

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Previews 2015: Auburn Tigers

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Previews 2015: Auburn Tigers

Auburn is probably the most puzzling team in the SEC heading into 2015. The Tigers return only 11 starters as a whole and are rebuilding the defense, but at the same time, several pundits have Auburn as a darkhorse national championship contender. What one thinks of Auburn basically breaks down to what one thinks of Gus Malzahn and his ability to continue to innovate on offense. Purely from an analytical standpoint, Auburn has very good overall talent, but there are pockets of weakness here and there. Auburn’s schedule could swing wildly, from as low as 7-5 to as many as 10 or 11 wins.

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Previews 2014: Auburn Tigers

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Previews 2014: Auburn Tigers

Auburn exceeded expectations like no other team in 2013, and now the question is whether the Tigers can be effective when they’re not playing the underdog role. Despite recent injuries on the offensive line, this is a dangerous offensive team that has the potential to show more balance in 2014. But a defense that is still struggling to attain effectiveness could be Auburn’s undoing.

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