Auburn vs. Alabama football is one of the biggest rivalries in the country, yet it feels like there will be little drama to the outcome of this one.
In the rivalry that is known as the Iron Bowl, there is always an extra storyline. As this is one of the most heated rivalries in the country, both on the field and between both fanbases of each school. This year’s extra storyline is that Alabama head coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be able to be on the sidelines for the first time since taking over in 2007.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will resume the head coaching duties and he is an experienced head coach before, being the head man at Washington and USC previously.
On the field, there is little to suggest that this matchup is going to be close. Alabama looks like they are starting to separate from the rest of the pack with how complete they are on both sides of the ball. Auburn is surviving week by week and just getting by some of the more average teams in the SEC. To add to the pain of Auburn, star freshman running back Tank Bigsby might not be able to go after getting banged up in Auburn’s win over Tennessee last week.
Auburn has been an inconsistent team for most of the year and that is due to quarterback Bo Nix not taking the leap that many Auburn fans thought that he would. The offense is usually hit or miss with Nix and they have been far too reliant on guys like Bigsby and wide receiver Seth Williams to bail them out of tough situations. Auburn’s offensive line has not been very good either and that does not bode well against a very talented Alabama front-seven.
Alabama, on the other hand, is playing the best football in the country.
Mac Jones is playing like a Heisman contender and they Crimson Tide offensive line is the best in the country. The defense has rebounded and performed nicely after getting picked apart by Ole Miss last month. They are not perfect, but Alabama seems to be rising above the rest of pack at this point in the season.
Here is how you can watch Alabama vs. Auburn on Saturday:
Keys to Victory
For the Alabama offense, running the football will be the key to rolling on Saturday. Auburn has one of the worst run defenses in the SEC and got gashed by Tennessee a week ago. Alabama has a much better running game and offensive line than the Volunteers do and if they can run the ball effectively, Auburn does not stand much of a chance.
For the Alabama defense, getting pressure on Bo Nix and controlling the line of scrimmage has been the way to beat the Tigers this season. Georgia dominated Auburn’s offensive line earlier this season and gave a blueprint on how to beat the Tigers and Alabama should follow that gameplan.
For the Auburn offense, Nix is going to have to have the game of his life on Saturday. He made a lot of big throws in last year’s upset win and he will have to do the same this year. If Bigsby is unable to play on Saturday, the burden of this game will fall on the shoulders of the quarterback and the offensive line.
For the Auburn defense, they have to find a way to get some pressure on Mac Jones. Nobody has been able to do so far this season and that has resulted in Alabama having a historic offense. The run defense and pass rush will have to be on point on Saturday for the Tigers to even have a prayer to keep this game close.
Odds provided courtesy of The Action Network
Spread: Alabama -24.5
After going through and thinking about this game, I just do not see a path for Auburn to keep this game close. The offense could be shorthanded with Bigsby out and Nix is not dependable enough to trust in a shootout, despite having some talented receivers on the outside.
Auburn has a below average run defense and they are about to face the best offensive line in the country and running back Najee Harris. It will take Alabama being reckless and making mistakes and Nix having the performance of a lifetime and I just do not think that is a recipe for success against the number one team in the country.
The Tide roll big in the Iron bowl on Saturday.
Final Score: Alabama 49, Auburn 20