Auburn Tigers (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS) vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1 SU, 5-6 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date/Time: Saturday November 24th, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuscaloosa, A.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Aub +31.5/Ala -31.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The 77th edition of the Iron Bowl takes place this Saturday in Tuscaloosa when the Auburn Tigers meet the no. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. After last week's upsets over no. 1 Kansas State and no. 2 Oregon, Alabama finds their selves back in the middle of the National Championship hunt. Alabama is currently ranked no. 2 in the BCS Standings and likely controls their destiny if they can win out. This week the Crimson Tide hopes to continue their march towards a repeat National Championship with the Auburn Tigers standing in the way.
I know there will always be an argument over the best rivalry in college football. However, no other rivalry has carried as much significance over the last few years as the Iron Bowl. In fact this year's meeting between Alabama and Auburn, will be the 5th straight meeting with BCS National Championship implications on the line. This year Alabama may be the team once again in the championship hunt, but Auburn is literally the team with nothing to lose.
The 3-8 Tigers are not in the fight for any postseason bowl berth or any other type of season goals. Not only has Auburn underachieved vastly but Coach Gene Chizik may be on the hot seat despite winning a national title just 2 years ago. Therefore I think we can expect an 'all-in' type effort from the Tigers this week as huge underdogs in Tuscaloosa. Still even if Auburn gives their best shot, I just do not believe they have the offense to keep this game close. The Tigers have statistically been one of the worse offenses in college football averaging just 317 total yards per game (112th in FBS).
The major problems have been behind center where Auburn has started 3 different quarterbacks this year. Between all 3 starters, Auburn quarterbacks have thrown 13 interceptions and just 7 touchdowns while completing a lousing 58% passing. This week freshman Jonathan Wallace will get the start against the Crimson Tide. While Wallace may have the most upside out of any other Auburn quarterback, he has not faced a defense as talented as Alabama yet this season.
Auburn's only consistent success on offense has been running the football with tailback Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb. Mason leads the team with 920 yards and has the chance to reach the 1,000 yard plateau with a strong outing against Alabama. However, the Crimson Tide defense may be one of the best groups in the country against the run giving up just 75 yards per game (3rd in FBS) and 240 yards overall (2nd in FBS). Therefore, Auburn's inability to move the football may become a full blown issue this Saturday if the Tigers fail to find answers.
For Alabama, the Crimson Tide offense bounced back expectantly last week in a 49-0 shutout against Western Carolina. Still, the Crimson Tide offense appeared rather vanilla against both LSU and Texas A&M in their last two outings. Perhaps one common theme in both of those games is that Alabama fell behind early. As a result, the Crimson Tide got away from their ground game to an extent. Now Alabama still ran the football, but QB A.J McCarron attempted two of his 3 most passing attempts on the season in those two games.
McCarron has a big time arm from his stats on the year: 66% passing, 2,291 yards, 21 touchdowns, and just 2 interceptions. However, Alabama is still best when they are running the football with power and authority behind that big offensive line. If Alabama is going to win another National Championship, they are going to have to get those dominating type performances from the offensive line. If Alabama's offensive line gets going this Saturday, expect tailbacks Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon to run wild all day.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Alabama is clearly the better team but 31.5 points is an extremely large number to cover in a rivalry game. I really think Auburn hangs around in the 1st half before Alabama pulls away late. Consider Auburn +31.5 as the play here. Good luck!
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