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Iron Bowl Preview: #2 Auburn at #11 Alabama

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Black Friday pits #2 Auburn head to head with #11 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Cam Newton has dominated the headlines in college football this year, for a litany of reasons. He has been the most dominating and exciting football player in the nation this year. He also has been surrounded in controversy and allegations regarding how he ended up at Auburn.

If Auburn can take care of business against the Crimson Tide, and then again next week against South Carolina, they will punch their ticket to Glendale for the National Championship Game. Alabama with two losses still has a chance to sneak into a BCS game, and beating Auburn would go a long way towards enhancing their resume. I can see this game getting lopsided with Auburn’s dreams of a national title will come to a screeching halt. Alabama is simply the better team. Seemingly Auburn’s only chance is if the Alabama team that can’t limit mistakes and inexplicably struggles in the red zone shows up.

Auburn’s offense is high-powered and can strike with rattlesnake speed, but I think Alabama has both the personnel and scheme to control the spread veer-option and make life miserable for Tigers. The reason that offenses like Auburn’s aren’t used in the NFL is because they do not work when facing a team full of elite athletes. Also expect Newton to be confused by the scheme, at least early, with blitzers coming from all angles. Alabama should simply out-muscle and out-athlete Auburn and their secondary will make life difficult for Auburn’s talented wideouts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were in a nickel with press coverage much of the game.

Alabama’s offense is led by the two-headed monster at running back of Heisman Trophy winning Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. Richardson should be close to full strength and will play a big role in loosening up the iffy Auburn pass defense. But you can’t sleep on QB Greg McElroy; he will play a major part in the victory. Auburn is near the bottom of the SEC in passing defense and it will surely show. WR Julio Jones will play a major role in this game with McElroy finding him early and often.

Auburn has had a dream run this season, but will now be tasked with a challenge that they will not be able to overcome. Alabama also has a tremendous coaching advantage.  If I had one college game to win, Nick Saban would be the guy that I want to coach it. He may be abrasive and rub some people the wrong way, but he has as much coaching talent as any current college coach today. In the end, Alabama is simply better on both sides of the ball and that will show on what will truly be a black Friday for War Eagle.

Alabama 31 – Auburn 21


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