I know you’ve all come on the blog looking for a pick for this game. It wouldn’t quite be a rivalry Saturday without getting in my two words on the Iron Bowl. In what could be argued is one of the biggest rivalries in sports, along with Michigan and Ohio State, the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide take the field in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is in firm control of this rivalry, just like they have a firm hold over the rest of the country. The Crimson Tide have gone 4-1 over Auburn in their last five meetings, with their latest win coming at a score of 29-13. Alabama are the clear number 1 contenders for the National Championship.
It seems like it’s Alabama and then everyone else. People are already writing them in as National Champions, before the SEC Championship has even played out. Writing Alabama in as the SEC Champion at this point looks like a pretty solid bet, though. They easily made it past Florida last year, and are in line to do it again in 2016.
The Crimson Tide can do no wrong this season, with a record of 11-0 heading into the rivalry game with Auburn. Perhaps their biggest slipup came last week in a win against Chattanooga. Chattanooga brought it all to the party, but ended up getting blown out, albeit not the kind of blow out many expected. Alabama played bored all game, taking a 31-3 win into the Iron Bowl. I wouldn’t read too far into it, Alabama tends to sleepwalk through games like that against the creampuffs. The Crimson Tide closed as -47.5 point favorites, but Chattanooga were able to keep it within 28 points.
Especially before big games like this, Alabama has no interest in blowing teams like Chattanooga out. Saban likes to keep his cards close to him by not getting too exotic with the play calling. If they wanted to win by more, they certainly could have done so. If Auburn is lying dead on the ground, though, Alabama would not let up against their rival. LSU had their chances, but Bama’s defense allowed zero resistance a few weeks back. If the Tigers had some kind offense, they would have won that one. Instead, it was a 10-0 win in favor of Alabama. Auburn are coming off a 55-0 win to Alabama A&M. Now Auburn gets the other Alabama. We’ll see how they measure up the test in this year’s edition of the 2016 Iron Bowl.
Auburn Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Alabama -18(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Auburn vs. Alabama Pick:
Alabama are clearly the better team this season, but anything could happen in these rivalry games. Even with a loss to Alabama, in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t matter much. Yes, they would lose a rivalry game, but they would still be in the playoff, and maybe even still as the number 1 seed. However, there would be no room for error in the SEC Championship. Could you imagine that, Bama goes on to lose two straight to close out the year? Yeah, not going to happen, but what a storyline it’d be.
The Crimson Tide have gotten tremendous play from their freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Hurts can do it all and is in a good position to win the Heisman Trophy. Do I really think he’s the most valuable player in college football, though? I feel that Alabama would probably be undefeated without him, but he’s been a great asset for them. The sky is the limit for him, who should continue to thrive in the coming years at Alabama. His name is going to be one to remember. Hurts has passed for 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 803 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. In a conference where it is difficult to find elite quarterbacks, Hurts seems to play the part well.
Auburn will have to shut Hurts down, shut the running game down, and then somehow figure out a way to slice through the defense. All of those are extremely difficult to do against this Crimson Tide team. Note that Alabama are allowing just 253 yards per game and 11.4 points per game. I don’t think Auburn quarterback Sean White is going to be in for a pleasant game this afternoon. All of those points look really attractive with the underdog here, but I fail to see how Auburn is going to break the Alabama defense. The Crimson Tide win here, and should win by around three touchdowns.
PICK: ALABAMA -18 (-110)