Originally written on The Belly of the Beast  |  Last updated 11/16/14
The East preview took place yesterday and can be found here in its natural state, and today we journey through the West, addressing the issues facing each team heading into spring practice. ALABAMA 2012 record:  13-1 Bowl result:  National Champions, PAAAWWWLLL Biggest issues going into the spring:  According to Nick Saban, EVERYTHING.  "No one on this year's team has done anything in 2013, so to start heaping praise on a team that has won ZERO games this season is absurd.  It offends all the fibers of my being to hear fans and you writers talk like that. "I mean, the offensive line is gone.  Got one running back.  Defense lost some key guys on a defense that, to be frank, had issues last year.  And the quarterback, well, he played well, but I remember that thing called Texas A&M.  We got some guys who'd rather be stealing money for snacks than doing what we ask. "And to top it all off, my salad at lunch today had 10 pieces of turkey instead of 12.  So, you know, I don't know what the hell is going on around here.  Every time I turn around I see another problem, and yet we've got people talking about repeating as a national champion.  Unbelievable.  All of this is just disgustingly unbelievable." Reasons for 14-0 hope coming out of the spring:  Best candidates for offensive line replacements are identified, one or two of the 25 five-star running backs on campus make the leap to T.J. Yeldon's assistant, and defensive talent does not catch the bubonic plague. Reasons for PAAAWWWLLL coming out of the spring:  Saban refers to the offensive line as a "********* of softness", T.J. Yeldon accepts the responsibility of rushing for 2500 yards next season, and defensive talent catches bubonic plague.   ARKANSAS 2012 record:  4-8 Bowl result:  HAHAHAHAHA. Biggest issues going into the spring:  Bert Bielema in unfamiliar territory, a new quarterback, new style of play, and a defense with the hot mess status of the sweat swamp behind Bert's knee after he's been sitting for at least an hour. Reasons for Independence Bowl hope coming out of the spring:  The quarterback competition is settled, the eye test suggests that chaos has less of a stronghold on the sideline, and the defense gains praise for really frustrating the 2nd team offense. Reasons for a season of FOIA requests coming out of spring:  Co-starting quarterbacks for August practice, offense is described as "oh man, WAY behind the defense", and a 37-man rotation on defense.   AUBURN 2012 record:  3-9 Bowl result:  NOPE. Biggest issues going into the spring:  An offense that looked like something out of the laboratory of Houston Nutt (note: Houston Nutt's laboratory is two pieces of plywood leaning against one another), potentially no quarterback on campus, and a defense still battling TRD (Ted Roof Disorder). Actually, Nick Saban's "EVERYTHING" would have worked here. Reasons for Independence Bowl hope coming out of the spring:  Gus Malzahn gets Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace to a level where they sometimes believe in themselves, the new offense is picked up quickly, and the defense is awarded a participation ribbon. Reasons for PAAAWWWLLL coming out of the spring:  Frazier and Wallace are the same quarterbacks when Malzahn first got his hands on them, lots of quotes from offensive coaches like "they're still learning and can we have like 400 more practices by August?", and the defense has a nasty relapse of TRD.   LSU 2012 record:  10-3 Bowl result:  Lost to Clemson 25-24 LOLOLOLOLOLOL Biggest issues coming into the spring:  Cam Cameron, yes, THE CAM CAMERON OF EVERY NFL TEAM EVER FAME, now calling the plays, Zach Mettenberger remains the favorite to start at quarterback, and like almost every year, defensive talent escapes to the NFL. Reasons for Atlanta hope coming out of the spring:  Cam Cameron (note: must be referred to as "Cam Cameron" and never "Cam" or "Coach Cameron" as per universal announcer rules) adjusts well to college coordinating and Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill is promised 20-25 carries a game, and defense avoids bubonic plague. Reasons for Les Miles hot seat talk coming out of the spring:  Words like "simplify", "tailor", and "adjust" are repeatedly used when describing the offense as it relates to Mettenberger's role, "a stable" and/or "committee" of running backs are used when referring to which running back will see the most playing time, and the defense catches bubonic plague.   MISSISSIPPI STATE 2012 record:  8-5 Bowl result:  THRASHED by Northwestern, 34-20 Biggest issues going into the spring:  Replacing two early-round NFL corners, new defensive coordinator, defense in general, finding new wide receivers, and Tyler Russell against equal or superior competition. Reasons for #WeBelieve hope coming out of the spring:  Defense goes from hemorrhaging points and yards to merely lightly bleeding points and yards, wide receivers are unearthed, and Dan Mullen shifts his offense closer to the strength of Russell's abilities. Reasons for has Mullen peaked talk coming out of the spring:  Dak Prescott (if he recovers from toe surgery) throws well against the 1st team defense, every corner on the roster gets a shot with the 1st team defense, and Mullen flatly describes the defense "coming along."   OLE MISS 2012 record:  7-6 Bowl result:  DOMINATED AND DESTROYED Pittsburgh, 38-17 in historic, tetanus and pools of water-riddled Legion Field Biggest issues heading into the spring:  WHERE ARE ALL THOSE FIVE-STAR RECRUITS GONNA PLAY?  Only kidding, as they won't be on campus until the summer, but the answer anyway is WHEREVER THEY WANT PER THE RULES OF THEIR PAY-FOR-PLAY CONTRACTS. Other issues include Bo Wallace most likely missing spring practice as he recovers from shoulder surgery, a defensive line (particularly defensive tackle) that is dangerously thin on experience and possibly talent, and an offensive line that is in a similar situation. Reasons for Chick-fil-A Bowl hope coming out of the spring:  Wallace is at least throwing by the end of spring practice, a serviceable rotation develops at defensive tackle, and the offensive line finds seven to eight guys for its rotation. Reasons for just missing out on the Compass Bowl talk coming out of the spring:  Wallace isn't able to start throwing until June or July, lots of talk about needing to see if the new players can work their way into the rotation in August, and a revolving door virus infects the cornerback depth chart.   TEXAS A&M 2012 record:  11-2 Bowl result:  Handing Bob Stoops YET ANOTHER bowl loss, 41-13 in the Cotton Bowl Biggest issues coming into the spring:  Replacing one all-world offensive tackle, ditto a defensive tackle that will make millions in the NFL, and finding a second wide receiver to replace (insert all the words to describe Wes Welker because I'm POSITIVE they're the same exact player since they're both white and all) Ryan Swope. Reasons for Atlanta hopes coming out of the spring:  Many of the Air Raid coaches talk about year two being the year when the offense really blows up, so if there are plenty of quotes like "it's all clicking", "this may be too easy", or "he's caught eight touchdowns and I only have six", I would consider that a good sign.  Additionally, Johnny Manziel improving his downfield accuracy, especially on the run, and a defense that finds a pass rusher or one guy that requires a double team. Reasons for Independence Bowl talk coming out of the spring:  Manziel wears the Scooby Doo costume to all the practices (though my calculations say this would only affect his performance by about 50%), the defense becomes more like an Auburn or Tennessee defense, and the ladies of College Station surround the practice fields and chant "Bring back Kliff" for hours at a time.
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