No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. No. 4 Auburn Tigers (10-1 SU, 9-2 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date and Time: Saturday November 30th, 2013. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ala -10.5/Aub +10.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The 78th edition of the Iron Bowl takes place this Saturday on college
football’s grandest stage when the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide
meet with the no. 4 Auburn Tigers for a date with destiny inside Jordan-Hare
Stadium. The stakes this year are higher than ever making this year’s meeting
the most anticipated Iron Bowl in history. The reasons are simple. The winner
captures the SEC West and will go to Atlanta as favorites in the SEC Championship
Game with the opportunity to advance to the BCS National Championship Game.
Obviously the stakes are extremely high but if you add in the fact that Alabama and Auburn are responsible for the last 4 National Championships, many feel like this year’s National Title could be decided on the plains of Auburn this weekend. The Crimson Tide has had the upper hand in this rivalry winning 4 of the last 5 meetings with the exception being Auburn’s 2010 National Championship season. The Crimson Tide will be rather large favorites to extend that mark as they will enter the plains as 10.5 point favorites.
So why is the 4th ranked team in college football getting 10.5 points at home in a rivalry game nevertheless? Well the main reason that Alabama is heavily favored is because of their defense and ability to stop the run. The Crimson Tide has been incredible at stopping the run under Nick Saban and this season has not been any different. Alabama owns the 4th best rush defense in the country holding opponents to just 91 points per game. Additionally the Crimson Tide defense owns the nation’s best scoring defense holding opponents to just 9.3 points per game.
Nick Saban’s five star talented defense appears to match-up very well against Auburn’s offense. The Tigers have a very dynamic offense that has averaged 39 points per game (17th in FBS). Quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason have combined for just less than 2,000 yards rushing along with 26 touchdowns. Those two standouts have helped Auburn establish the 2nd best rushing unit in the FBS this season averaging 320 yards per game.
While the numbers are impressive, Auburn’s style of play will attack the biggest strength of Alabama surrounding their run defense. Therefore the spread may be justifiable if Auburn is unable to run the ball. Auburn’s offense is not made for relying on the passing game so Coach Gus Malzahn may need to be creative in his play calling duties to shake up the Alabama defense. The Auburn offense vs. the Alabama defense will be the battle that decides this game and it will definitely be the most entertaining as well.
On the other side of the ball, there will be plenty of talent as well. The Tigers defense has been solid all year holding opponents to just 22 points per game (30th in FBS). Alabama’s offense has been very strong averaging 39.7 points per game (14th in FBS). Quarterback A.J McCarron has been rock solid with 23 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. Also as always, Alabama has one of the best power rushing attacks in the country with tailbacks T.J Yeldon and Kenyan Drake. Both backs have combined for nearly 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. Rest assured coach Saban will give both tailbacks plenty of touches again this Saturday as Alabama tries to wear down the Auburn defense and keep control of the football. Just like Auburn, Alabama’s key to victory will be running the football effectively.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Despite being rather large favorites, early betting action shows the public is favoring Alabama at a 2 to 1 ratio. For once, I think the public has it right. I think this is a bad match-up for Auburn and they will not be able to run the football nearly as well as they have all season. Take Alabama -10.5!
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