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

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.

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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Replacement for Nussmeier could be Saban’s biggest hire ever

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Replacement for Nussmeier could be Saban’s biggest hire ever

Many were surprised that Nussmeier left Alabama, especially given that the move was lateral. No one would have been shocked had Nussmeier left to take over his own program, the way Jim McElwain did two years ago when he assumed control of the Colorado State program. But the fact Nussmeier’s departure came abruptly after the Sugar Bowl, without a great deal of talk about his future, seems to suggest that his decision to leave was more mutual in nature than the mainstream sports media has yet to theorize.

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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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Auburn preview: Alabama finds unexpected roadblock on way to another title

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Auburn preview: Alabama finds unexpected roadblock on way to another title

There’s really no other way to say it – Alabama didn’t see this coming.

Few people thought Auburn would be as bad as it was in 2012, but the number of people who expected the Tigers to be 10-1 and just on the outside of a BCS Championship Game matchup probably wouldn’t be enough to fill a taxicab. And that’s including Lee County residents.

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